Open for business!
Prime burger restaurant, the first new business in the all-new mixed-use Whitney Center, has officially opened on Rowan Boulevard with all the fixings.
Naturally, the brief morning ceremony June 4 included a ribbon-cutting and food samples but its focus was pride in the public-private partnership that is driving the rebirth of downtown Glassboro.
Currently the largest municipal renewal project in New Jersey, Rowan Boulevard is a $300 million investment that, upon completion, will link Rowan's main campus with downtown Glassboro and feature four distinct districts, a hotel/conference center, pedestrian plazas, a town square, and dozens of new retail and dining outlets.
The one-third mile long boulevard already features luxury apartments for more than 800 Rowan students, a Barnes & Noble Collegiate Superstore, and the Whitney Center, a stunning glass-front structure with 22,000 square-feet of retail space on the ground level and housing for nearly 300 Rowan honors students on the floors above. Groundbreakings for a Marriott Courtyard hotel and conference center, new parking garage, and a new home for Rowan's College of Graduate and Continuing Education will be held this summer.
Rowan President Ali Houshmand said the public-private partnership driving construction along the Boulevard is nothing short of historic.
"Rowan Boulevard has the potential to turn Glassboro into a destination, not just for our students and their families but people around the region," Dr. Houshmand said. "The impact of this project will be enormous."
Prime owner Dan Clark, who, along with his partner Ed Hackett run celebrated restaurants in Philadelphia and Avalon, said a burger and fries restaurant along the Boulevard is a natural fit for both the university and surrounding community.
"We're really excited," Clark said. "Rowan Boulevard is taking off and we're looking forward to being a part of it."
Green Zebra, a healthful eatery, is expected to join Prime in the Whitney Center prior to the fall semester followed by Yapple Yogurt, a dessert shop featuring frozen yogurt, smoothie drinks and bubble tea.
Glassboro residents Corey and Jen Gardner-Meeks, proprietors of Green Zebra, said their new shop will feature fresh sandwiches and salads, homemade soups and organic fountain soda.
"We live a healthful lifestyle and wanted to offer a healthful dining option to the community," Jen Gardner-Meeks said.
"This is our hometown," said Corey Gardner-Meeks. "Seeing it grow and develop is really exciting for us."
Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe said the ultimate promise of Rowan Boulevard is a seamless transition from gown to town and back again.
"In some college towns you don't know where the college ends and the town begins," McCabe said. "That's what we're doing in Glassboro."