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FAQ: Neighborhood

What will happen in the plaza spaces that are planned for the neighborhood?

The Arts and Transit Project plan envisions that there will be numerous connected public spaces in the neighborhood. There will be a pedestrian "boulevard" that will connect the existing University Place with the proposed new Dinky station. The plaza spaces are designed to serve as lively locations where the campus and community will intersect in many ways.

The arts plaza is envisioned as a potential location for outdoor performances and exhibits, by both campus and community groups. The small-scale retail that is planned for the neighborhood — a full-service restaurant and a café in the existing Dinky station buildings — also will activate the public areas. The arts plaza will be framed by rehearsal and performance venues and gallery spaces that will be attractive destinations for people traveling through the plaza as visitors or regular commuters.

The transit plaza will be an active multimodal hub where people in cars, on bikes and on foot will be able to transfer to mass transit options (campus shuttles, NJ TRANSIT buses or the Dinky train). The transit plaza will feature a new Princeton train station complex with a heated and air-conditioned indoor waiting room, public bathrooms and the Wawa. There will also be bike storage and rental facilities.

What arts facilities and programs will be available to the community?

The Arts and Transit Project will consist of multiple venues of differing sizes and configurations. In the initial creative and performing arts buildings designed by Steven Holl, there will be dance performance and acting studios, music rehearsal rooms, music performance spaces, gallery space and a black box theater. Long-term planning includes an experimental media studio as well as a performance hall. In addition to the indoor venues, there are plans for an outdoor amphitheatre adjacent to the experimental media studio and outdoor plazas that would be suitable for performances and exhibitions.

The goal of the project is to create an arts neighborhood that serves as a porous connection between "town and gown." While much of the space that is planned will be used intensely for teaching and student rehearsals, there will be many performances and exhibitions during the academic year to which the public is invited. Community members are currently invited to attend the unique art exhibits and performances on the campus that are sponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Department of Music, and this new neighborhood will only expand that opportunity further for interested citizens to participate in the creative life of the campus. It is anticipated that there will be an opportunity for community use of the facilities as well, especially during the summer months. 

What will happen in the neighborhood in the summer when the students are away?

This neighborhood will be a place where town and gown intersect frequently, and it is intended to be an area that is active year-round. The full-service restaurant and café are envisioned to have both indoor and outdoor seating and will be open year-round. The presence of McCarter and Berlind theaters in addition to the arts uses that are envisioned in the new creative and performing arts buildings indicates that the neighborhood will be an active destination year-round for entertainment and cultural attractions that are sponsored both by campus and community groups. In addition, the presence of the Dinky station in an enhanced multimodal transit hub will ensure that this is an active area throughout the year.

Will existing historic buildings on Alexander Street be demolished?

In order to allow for the Arts and Transit Project to be developed, 22 buildings along Alexander Street south of University Place will need to be removed. The University currently owns all buildings that would need to be removed. Prior to the start of construction, the University offered to give these structures free of charge to individuals who would be interested in moving them to a new location at their own expense.