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Wednesday, Oct. 01, 2014

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Plans for Merwick, Stanworth housing unveiled

Princeton University has unveiled plans to redevelop the Merwick and Stanworth sites north of campus as a residential community for University faculty, staff and their families. The project will feature a mix of apartments and townhomes, including affordable units available to local residents with low-to-moderate incomes.

The sites, along Route 206/Bayard Lane, include the former location of the Merwick Care Center rehabilitation facility that is currently being demolished, and the current Stanworth Apartments, which have served as faculty and staff housing for more than 60 years.

Plans call for a close-knit community that modernizes the existing housing units, adds a significant number of new units, incorporates sustainable design features, preserves the existing landscape and enhances the surrounding neighborhood. The development is part of the University's ongoing Housing Master Plan to augment housing programs for faculty, staff and graduate students, as well as the Campus Plan, which guides campus development through 2016.

Stanworth

This architect's rendering shows concept design plans for new faculty and staff housing units at the redeveloped Merwick and Stanworth sites located north of campus. (Image courtesy of Torti Gallas and Partners)

"This project allows us to add a substantial amount of publicly available affordable housing, as well as faculty and staff housing, to a well-established and historic Princeton neighborhood that is adjacent to the Princeton YW and YMCA and within easy walking distance of the campus and the downtown," said University Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee.

"It also allows us to maintain an attractive tree canopy, integrate this area more fully into the broader community, provide amenities to nearby residents, and significantly increase the number and value of taxpaying properties on both the Stanworth and Merwick sites," Durkee added.

The Georgetown Co. of New York City is developing Merwick and Stanworth on behalf of the University, working with design architect Torti Gallas and Partners of Maryland.

The Regional Planning Board of Princeton will review proposed plans during a concept hearing on Jan. 19. The project will later be submitted for site plan review after receiving initial comments from the board.

Following the necessary planning approvals, construction is expected to begin first at Merwick with the development of 128 units contained within two-story townhomes, two-story multifamily stacked flat homes and three-story apartment buildings. The new Merwick complex is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

Work at Stanworth is expected to follow sometime in 2014 with the redevelopment of 198 units contained within two-story townhomes and two-story multifamily stacked flat homes. The current 154 units at Stanworth will be demolished and the new structures are designed to be built within the footprints of the old apartments in order to preserve as many trees as possible.

"The development of Merwick and Stanworth is an exciting milestone for the University's Housing Master Plan," Director of Housing and Real Estate Services Andrew Kane said. "This community will be a place that Princeton faculty and staff will be able to call home for years to come."

Before Stanworth is reconstructed, it will temporarily house graduate students from 2012 to 2014 while the Hibben-Magie graduate student complex is redeveloped. Once the new graduate student buildings open, Stanworth will be vacated for construction. Faculty and staff occupancy of Stanworth is scheduled for fall 2016.

In keeping with Princeton Borough’s 20 percent affordable housing requirement connected with new residential building projects, apartments for low- and moderate-income families will be incorporated throughout Merwick and Stanworth. The units will be available to the general public, with no preference for applicants who may be affiliated with the University.

In addition to employing sustainable construction practices and building materials, the design for the redeveloped site promotes walking, biking and the use of public transportation to the University campus. The University's TigerTransit shuttle and WeCar Car Sharing Program will be available to residents.

Plans for Merwick and Stanworth include open space and playground areas for recreational use, which will be available to neighboring residents as well as residents on the site. The design envisions new pedestrian connections between Merwick and nearby neighborhoods, the improvement of stormwater management on the site that will also benefit adjacent residences, and the reconstruction of some existing roadways within the area.

Kane said the project team pored over years of housing application data and conducted focus groups about preferred floor plans and amenities for Merwick and Stanworth.

"In designing these new homes, our team had the unique opportunity to start from scratch and create a new community that meets the needs of our faculty and staff, as well as local residents," he said.

The project team also includes: landscape architect Arnold Associates of Princeton; arborist Woodwinds Associates of Princeton; civil engineer Van Note-Harvey Associates of Princeton; and sustainability consultant MaGrann Associates of Mount Laurel, N.J.

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