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Construction work begins on $300M New Brunswick project

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Construction is underway at a new campus for the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, kicking off a broader $300 million redevelopment project that's aimed at redefining Rutgers University's footprint in the city.

The project will create new facilities for North America’s first seminary, including a 30,000-square-foot central building with a chapel, classrooms and offices, according to a news release. But it also will give way to an expansion of Rutgers’ College Avenue campus, which it helped make possible in May by selling a five-acre piece of its historic property to New Brunswick Development Corp., or Devco, for $30 million.

The nonprofit development agency is spearheading the work for the seminary and the state university, whose plans were formally unveiled last summer. The project calls for building the first new academic building on the New Brunswick campus in nearly 50 years; an honors college with housing for 500 honors students; a separate, 520-bed student apartment building; and a 30,000-square-foot outdoor plaza

The redevelopment effort, which Devco says will create a contiguous College Avenue campus, is progressing with the help of a $33 million Urban Transit Hub tax credit and $350 million in bond financing from the state. Parts of the project are set for completion in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The seminary project officially started construction Wednesday, and is scheduled for completion before the 2014 fall semester, the news release said. It’s also some two decades in the making, having been crafted by developer Jon Hanson and Norm Kansfield, the former seminary president — and the Hampshire Cos. chairman has helped see the project to its groundbreaking.

Reporter Joshua Burd is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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