Garage developer selection expected May 14

Two firms are seeking to plan and oversee downtown Princeton project.

By: Jennifer Potash
   The Princeton Borough Council could select a developer for the downtown garage project by May 14.
   Mayor Marvin Reed presented a timeline at Tuesday’s Borough Council meeting.
   Keating Development Corp. of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., and Nassau Capital Advisors of Vandeventer Avenue, the two developer finalists for the job, submitted detailed proposals April 19.
   Following considerable public discussion last year, the Borough Council approved a downtown development plan that called for a 483-space parking garage at the site of the Park & Shop lot at Spring and Witherspoon streets and on top of a new building on the Tulane Street lot. The estimated $16.5 million plan also proposed 18 residential units and 10,610 square feet of retail space at the Park & Shop site.
   Borough officials have said the proposals from the two developers include a single garage structure with less underground parking as well as more residential units and a smaller plaza.
   Princeton Future, the nonprofit organization advocating a holistic approach to planning the downtown, recently criticized the Borough Council for permitting any changes to the downtown development plan without public comment.
   Responding to those criticisms, Mayor Reed said the council did not change the plan but did encourage the developers to be creative in the proposals. Nor did the borough seek to deny the public a chance to weigh in on the plans, he said.
   Instead of a regular meeting Tuesday, the council will review the proposals in closed session with representatives of the Atlantic Group, the borough’s consultants on the project.
   "We want to see how the proposals compare with each other and how the proposals compare with our development plan we adopted after considerable public comment under the good auspices of Princeton Future," Mayor Reed said.
   The council will hold a last round of interviews in closed session, meeting with the two developer candidates on May 7.
   By May 14 — barring any unforeseen problems — the council hopes to announce the developer for the project, he said.
   The proposal would be up for public comment at a special meeting May 22, Mayor Reed said.
   About a month later, the council aims to conclude the developer’s agreement, Mayor Reed said.
   Councilman David Goldfarb cautioned the process is one possible scenario, subject to change.