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Statue Adds Validity to Unannounced Glassboro Glassworks Project; New Residential, Retail and Library Home

Statue Adds Validity to Unannounced Glassboro Glassworks Project; New Residential, Retail and Library Home
Reading Time: 8 minutes

A large almost two block redevelopment effort along College Ave in the Glassboro retail district has early stage redevelopment plans. Currently called Glassworks, it is expected to include multiple five-story buildings totaling 175 residential units, new retail, and a new and larger permanent home for the library in a cool historic building!

And it could see the removal of Center Street.

Glassworks development in early stage development for this two-block area of Glassboro

This plan has not been formally submitted to Glassboro, but they have been reviewing the project, and a variety of activities have taken place to facilitate the redevelopment effort.

I’ve had the concept documents in my possession for several months now but have been unable to get anyone in the borough or with the developer Nexus to confirm its status.  That was until very recently when a partial but substantial confirmation was provided by the most unsuspecting of places…

… a statue from the Seward Johnson collection which is on display at the Glassboro Town Square in the Rowan Boulevard complex!

Seward Johnson statue gives us an update on the not yet fully announced Glassworks project

So a quick step back, the area I’m speaking about is the two block area east of the Glassboro town Square which includes the former Glassboro library building, the Heritage Glass Museum, and town parking lots.

In the design the buildings along Main Street will remain, including Angelo’s Glassboro Diner, the Comic Book store and the corner building now home to Penzone Realty.

But immediately behind those Main Street buildings a large, primarily residential development is planned which will continue down to the next block (former library) taking over Center Street.

To be clear the fire department building will also remain, as will the brick Heritage Glass Museum building.

These Main Street buildings will not be impacted by the early stage proposal Glassworks project.

This leaves an approximate 2.5 acre parcel which is expected to see the development of a five-story multiple building complex which will surround most of the perimeter of the space, leaving those iconic Main Street buildings and diner in place, as well as the glass museum building and the fire department building.

The design places the new 5-story buildings around a significant portion of the perimeter of the redevelopment area, leaving an open space in the center which has been allocated for parking.

42Freeway depiction of the concept Glassworks project in Glassboro

I’ve learned that within Glassboro this will be designated “The College Avenue Redevelopment Area” and while it’s clear to me that borough officials are aware of the project and have had early talks with the developer, at this point it seems nothing has been officially submitted to the borough, and I could not find any evidence of the actual redevelopment zone haven been created yet.

Earlier comments from borough officials did confirm though that a redeveloper was looking at the property, particularly where the former library building is located.

42Freeway depiction of the concept Glassworks project in Glassboro

A Statue is Worth a Thousand Words

So as I’ve mentioned I’ve had these plans for several months, provided to me by a loyal 42Freeway reader.   And I have not put on online.

One thing is the designs were created a year prior, which honestly is a blink-of-an-eye in time for a project like this. But as I said no one from Glassboro or the developer was offering any information on the project specifics or it’s status.

But there has been other evidence taking place including property purchases. More on that soon.

42Freeway depiction of the concept Glassworks project in Glassboro

Since I am a person who creates a ton of original content, I am very protective of how I use the works of others… so since this was not formally presented to a government entity (which would make it public domain) I was reluctant to put the images online.  I still am actually!

So I waited for someone associated with the project to speak to me, which happened yesterday. Well not someone… a statue!

Yesterday on a beautiful afternoon I found myself in the Rowan Boulevard complex visiting a new unrelated business (that I will be writing about soon)… which led to me walking around the Boulevard and Town Square checking out the latest installation of the Seward Johnson statues.

Seward Johnson statue at Glassboro’s Rowan Boulevard

If you’re unfamiliar with the Seward Johnson statues, they are amazing lifelike and full sized statues of people typically from many decades ago, and created to fit into the environment…  to the point that it’s likely to confuse you for a few moments thinking they are real people!

Is that man actually sleeping on a bench in the park?   Ohh wow… that’s a statue! Oh nice, she’s having a bake sale, but oh.. she’s a statue also!

Glassboro and Nexus properties have showcased the statues throughout the complex multiple times, and recently they refreshed the art installation with completely different statues.

Seward Johnson statue at Glassboro’s Rowan Boulevard

And as I walked around the complex looking at all of the newly installed art pieces… I saw the statue of an artist with easel and canvas at the edge of the Glassboro Town Square on the Main Street side, painting a streetscape scene.

The subject of the painting is Angelo’s Glassboro Diner. What really grabbed my attention was that there was something else in the painting!

In the background of this painting is a clear depiction of the Glassboro Glassworks multi-use five story complex!

Seward Johnson statue in Glassboro is painting the new “not yet announced” Glassworks project! (Overly image used under “fair use” for news reporting)

While the Glassworks facility will have multiple entrances, the main entrance will be positioned to the right of Angelo’s Diner but set back off the road (leaving parking in front), and there it is clearly seen in the “artist’s” painting…. Glassworks.

In the painting, while only small portion of the project is presented, it is an exact recreation of what I have in the full concept drawings…. except for the change of the large lettering to “Glassboro” from Glassworks.

it’s a very clever gentle teaser of what’s to come the area!   I can imagine people just casually looking at the statues and seeing the same canvas and some wondering “ohh wow, what is that?”

So while I still do not have an official comment from Glassboro or Nexus Properties on their plans, their inclusion of the project in the painting clearly indicates this is still on their immediate radar.

Nexus Acquiring Properties

More evidence of the project comes from the fact that Nexus Properties has been acquiring the private properties it would need to move this project forward.

I previously reported on the sale of Angelo’s Diner to Nexus, which will remain a diner, to the appreciation of the community.

Angelo’s Diner will remain.. even with large development plans coming to the area behind it.

So very recently the Nexus team has been working to acquire several other older buildings in the project scope. On High Street a section of existing older buildings are planned to be removed to make way for a new five-story building, but the first floor in this area will be developed as retail.

To be clear the corner property at Main and High which is now home to Penzone Realty will remain (Sid’s Outlet)

Sid’s Discount Outlet building is to remain (Image: Google Street Maps)

The two High Street buildings that are currently at the final stages of purchasing are the brown/beige building and the smaller white brick building next to it.

Much of the development area is owned by Glassboro (parking lots and the former library property). The previous relocation of the Glassboro Library makes the former property available for redevelopment, and is clearly part of these larger plans.

Developer Nexus is acquiring properties for its Glassworks project, including these two on High Street.

If it’s required that the developer takes ownership of the properties prior to development, then likely the formal redevelopment process would have to take place first so that the Redevelopment Entity could execute the sale contracts.

That being said, much of current Rowan Boulevard project has been developed on land still owned by Glassboro.

Glassboro Library and the Heritage Glass Museum

Both the library and the Heritage Glass Museum will have new homes within the project.

Currently the Glassboro Library is in a smaller location within the Rowan Boulevard complex, which has cleared the prior location (an older and larger freestanding building and property) to be redeveloped as part of the Glassworks project.

Today the Heritage Glass Museum is located in an almost 100 year old brick building on High Street, which was originally developed in 1926 as the Glassboro Title and Trust Company.

In the concept renderings the brick building will become the new home to the Glassboro library…  with an added bonus twist!

This building’s square footage is listed at 2,100 which is still much smaller than the original library.

But the concept plans call for a large addition to be developed to the right side of the building, where currently there is open land (before the fire station). That new building segment is planned to be 3,550 square feet.

So combined that would make the new library a total of 5,650 square feet. Still smaller than the original library location but twice the size of the current location which is on Rowan Blvd.

As part of the Glassworks project in the area, it is proposed that the Library move into the older brick building…with a large addition to the side (depicted by green square)

So what happens to the Heritage Glass Museum?

Remember the main entrance to the complex that I called out earlier, to the right side of Angelo’s Diner?

It has a bump out front large foyer room entrance with rooftop patio, and the concept plans identify this space as the new home to the Heritage Glass Museum.

So keep in mind what I’m sharing with you guys has not been formally submitted and is not 100% confirmed.   These plans could have changed.

But I can tell you that if I have them in my possession, they have been presented and reviewed by members of the Borough (including others likely not associated with the borough)…   and they made it into my hands.

Factor in the property purchases, it lends more to the credibility.

Plus we have the word of the statue. I hear that’s rock solid.