An enterprising approach
Minutes after they commandeered giant scissors to cut the ribbon on the new home of Rowan University’s College of Graduate & Continuing Education (CGCE) on Rowan Boulevard, both University President Ali Houshmand and Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe casually slipped portions of the tattered ribbon—mementos of the occasion—in their suit coats.
Clearly, the Oct. 15 grand opening of the Enterprise Center, the $35 million academic home of CGCE on Rowan Boulevard, truly was a special day for the University and the borough.
“Of all of the projects we’ve done on Rowan Boulevard, this is my baby,” a smiling Houshmand said of the Enterprise Center, which is part of the $300 million Rowan Boulevard Project, a public-private partnership between Rowan, the borough and private developers. The boulevard connects Rowan with Glassboro’s downtown.
Private developer Nexus Properties built the five-floor, 53,000-square-foot Enterprise Center, located between the Barnes & Noble Collegiate Superstore and the Courtyard by Marriott hotel. The new mixed-use building, which includes 9,600 square feet of space for ground-floor retail, is owned by Nexus, keeping it a vital ratable in the Borough of Glassboro.
The structure includes a new, seven-story 1,194-space parking garage, the first parking facility for shoppers in downtown Glassboro.
The Enterprise Center will enable Rowan to expand its graduate and professional development programming and also will help propel the region’s economy, Houshmand said. The unique Rowan Boulevard partnership is a model for other institutions nationwide, as is the Enterprise Center, an academic building constructed by a private developer, the president said.
“Everything that takes place in here does not involve a penny of taxpayer money,” Houshmand said. “We want to build a center of excellence that will be a model for the country.
“We intend to grow Rowan University into a magnificent, world-class university.”
Goals for the future
In the next decade, Houshmand’s goal is to increase Rowan’s enrollment to 25,000 students, quadruple research funding to $100 million annually and expand academic offerings in in-demand areas such as science, technology, business, engineering and medicine. CGCE plays an important role in that expansion.
The college, a self-funded entity at Rowan founded in 2007, has gross revenues of approximately $24 million annually. Revenue from the college, which serves about 2,000 students each year seeking graduate degrees and professional development courses, covers salaries of the staff, the lease of the building, and supports other academic programs University wide. CGCE, which offers 80 programs, is the largest provide of online education in the State of New Jersey.
The Enterprise Center includes four floors of classrooms, lecture halls, a nursing experimental room and administrative offices. As light streamed into the ceremony from the Enterprise Center’s fifth floor, a perch that provided a terrific view of the present and future on Rowan Boulevard, CGCE Dean Horacio Sosa said his staff already is making good use of the new space and is enjoying its location on the boulevard.
“Maybe we can save some money for electricity because of al the natural light,” he said with a chuckle.
McCabe said the late Glassboro Mayor Alvin Shpeen first talked about having the borough partner with the University more than 15 years ago. In the past decade, the borough-Rowan relationship has solidified—and Rowan Boulevard is the result, he said.
New construction, jobs
Gloucester County Freeholder Heather Simmons noted that more than $165 million of the $300 million Rowan Boulevard project has already been constructed. The Enterprise Center and the Courtyard by Marriott, both recently opened, account for $65 million in new construction in the borough just this year, she said.
Between the retail spaces and the parking garage, the Enterprise Center has added 90 jobs downtown, Simmons said.
Dante Germano, chief operating officer of Nexus, noted that there’s more to come on Rowan Boulevard. In the spring, ground will be broken for “The Penthouses on Rowan Boulevard,” a mixed-use building directly across from the Enterprise Center. The 300,000-square-foot building will include housing, retail and health-care facilities. It is expected to open before the fall 2015 semester, Germano said.
“Nexus is thrilled to be involved in this exciting public-private partnership with the Borough of Glassboro and Rowan University,” Germano said. “The Rowan Boulevard development gives Nexus Properties the opportunity to showcase our diverse development expertise in parking, office, retail and residential development.”
The Enterprise Center joins the hotel and bookstore, student housing, and retail establishments on Rowan Boulevard.
When complete, the boulevard, which stretches one-third of a mile, is expected to include 60 new retail stores and is expected to boost the local economy by more than $48 million.