Boulevard retailers reach out to Rowan

Boulevard retailers reach out to Rowan

Dr. Houshmand joins in the celebration of new stores opening in Sept. 2013

Storefronts are filling up along Rowan Boulevard and, as they do, merchants have begun offering a variety of discounts to Rowan students, faculty and staff.

Within the last year the privately funded, $300 million boulevard project, has realized rapid growth as both a Marriott Courtyard hotel and the multi-floor, mixed-use Enterprise Center, home to Rowan’s College of Graduate & Continuing Education, have opened.

Merchants say Rowan Boulevard presented a unique opportunity and they’ve begun offering discounts to build momentum and help drive traffic.

The Marriott offers a discounted room rate to students and employees who present Rowan ID.

Forever Young Emporium, Yogo Factory dessert parlor, Pizza Hut and The Boulevard Salon have also begun promotions aimed at forging closer ties with the University.

Gary Reses, owner with his wife Nina of Forever Young Emporium in the Whitney Center, said the store offers a 15 percent discount to Rowan employees every Wednesday on all items except Ugg shoes and already discounted products.

“It’s a special market and we’re learning what categories work here,” Reses said.

The store, which opened in September, specializes in footwear like Ugg and Birkenstock and an assortment of gifts and accessories.

The Whitney Center, on the circle at Route 322 opposite the Marriott, now features a mix of first floor merchants including Ry’s @ Rowan bagels, Green Zebra eatery, Prime hamburgers and fries, Forever Young Emporium, newly opened 7-11 and Pizza Hut franchises, a Sun National Bank branch and Yo Go Factory.

Yo Go Factory owner Seta Pica said her store, which sells 14 flavors of frozen yogurt and toppings, offers specials to the Rowan community including 15 percent off to users of the RoverTown smartphone app and a refillable $4.99 “kids cup.”

“Rowan Boulevard is a great bridge between the university and the community and we have really high hopes for it,” Pica said.

Across the boulevard, an eat-in, take-out Domino’s pizza restaurant opened in the Enterprise Center in March where it joins The Boulevard Salon, which opened Feb. 2.

Salon owner Kim Engel, a former stylist at Scissor Wizards in the Collegetown Shopping Center, said she offers a $5 discount on haircuts for men and women (regular cuts are $20 for men and $35 for women) plus various discounts for professional coloring with Rowan ID.

“The whole area is new and up and coming and it’s great to be a part of it,” Engel said.

The Next Phase

Construction begins this spring on the next major phase of Rowan Boulevard, a roughly 315,000 square-foot building at Victoria Street opposite Barnes & Noble, and a new public park.

The new building will include medical, professional and retail suites on the ground floor and student and market rate housing on the floors above.

Dante Germano, chief operating officer of Nexus Properties in Lawrenceville, said the newest construction project along Rowan Boulevard, which began in 2008, will add to the critical mass that’s been building. Nexus is developing that project.

“What Glassboro and Rowan started here will be a draw for the entire region,” Germano said.

A Glassboro native and 1977 graduate of Glassboro High School, Germano said he has a personal stake in seeing a success of Rowan Boulevard, the greatest active municipal redevelopment project in New Jersey.

His father, aunts and uncles all owned small businesses in town including a bakery, barber shop, pool hall and jewelry store.

“My personal connection goes way beyond growing up there and graduating from Glassboro High,” he said.

To be built on a now-vacant site, the new building will have just over 50,000 square feet of space on each of its six floors, Germano said. The ground floor will have about 25,000 square feet of retail space along Rowan Boulevard and another 25,000 square feet along Victoria Street that will include an urgent care facility, primary care and specialty medical offices, and physical and occupational therapy.

Floors two through six will be a mix of student and market rate housing with floors two, three and four dedicated to students, floor five a mix of students and non-students, and floor six all market rate housing for non-students.

Glassboro business administrator Joseph Brigandi Jr. said the newest building is expected to be completed by late summer 2015 and will draw even more energy to the borough’s downtown.

“It’s an exciting time and will be even more so once all of the pieces along Rowan Boulevard are complete,” Brigandi said.

He said the final sections of Rowan Boulevard, sketched in architectural drawings as parcels A-3 and A-4, could be built within five years, roughly the same time frame in which a light rail line from Camden to Glassboro is expected to be completed.