Planet Princeton

Buyer Selected for Downtown Princeton Hospital Site

A national apartment developer with numerous projects in New Jersey is under contract to buy the University Medical Center at Princeton site in downtown Princeton, hospital officials confirmed today.

AvalonBay Communities, Inc. has been selected by Princeton HealthCare System as the developer for  the University Medical Center at Princeton building on Witherspoon Street. The company will also buy  nine houses that the hospital owns on Harris Road, hospital officials said. The price tag for the deal is not being disclosed.

The hospital, located in the heart of Princeton, will move to its new 171-acre campus in Plainsboro next May and will be called the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.

Avalon Bay, a New York Stock Exchange-listed real estate investment trust that develops, redevelops, acquires and manages apartment complexes throughout the United States, is based in Alexandria, Va. The company owns or has interest in 195 apartment buildings containing more than 56,000 individual units in ten states and the District of Columbia.

In New Jersey the company owns thirteen communities consisting of over 4,800 apartment units, including Avalon Run and Avalon East apartments in Lawrence, and Avalon Princeton Junction. Avalon recently acquired the 776-unit Fox Run apartments in Plainsboro for $86.5 million.

“We are deeply committed to the Princeton community and wanted to find a buyer that has a strong track record of being an excellent community partner,” said PHCS CEO Barry S. Rabner regarding the deal. “We have found that in AvalonBay.”

Ron Ladell, Vice President, AvalonBay Communities, said the company is looking forward to working with stakeholders in the community to design and build a community that “not only enhances the lives of our residents, but also the community at large.”

“As one of the most active developers in New Jersey with three communities currently under construction and additional communities scheduled to start construction later this year, we are eager to expand our presence in the Princeton market, ” Ladell said.

The 9.8-acre hospital property in the heart of Princeton has zoning approvals for up to 280 residential units and 79,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The property includes the main hospital, other medical buildings and a three-story, 741-space parking garage.

A real estate company was formerly under contract to purchase the hospital, but pulled out of the deal last year. Philadelphia developer Lubert-Adler was slated to pay $55 million for the property to convert it into 280 apartments and light retail, but after the deal was made, the market collapsed.

The price tag for the Avalon contract is still private, and hospital officials said it would be released only if Avalon wants it to be, otherwise it would become available through public records after the closing takes place.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

3 comments

  • According to the company that was marketing the site, more than 100 developers showed interest. They did not disclose how many actual bidders there were, though a hospital source said there were about 5 serious contenders as the process evolved (after people visited the site, etc.). We will see if we can get more info. on the number of actual bidders. The hospital has been mum on these kinds of details and things like the winning bid price.

  • I’d be interested to know how many developers submitted bids for the current hospital site. How many bids did the hospital have to choose among?

  • I’d be interested to know how many developers submitted bids for the current hospital site. How many bids did the hospital have to choose among?

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