Princeton University has received permits to begin demolishing the Butler Tract, officials said.
The school has permits to demolish 17 units. A permit for the entire complex was denied last week because officials require that the school file an individual permit for each unit.
The Butler Tract is a former housing development for graduate students that is located off Harrison Street. Build in 1947, the houses were originally part of the Reconversion Housing Project for Veterans and provided returning veterans with what was to be temporary, barrack-style housing. In 1988, an additional 56 modular units were added to the development.
Lakeside, a new University development along Faculty Road, has replaced Butler. Princeton University is preparing to begin demolishing the 304 single-level, bungalow housing units at Butler, a process school officials said will take several months.
University officials announced this summer that the site will be used for event parking, at least in the short-term. School officials said the University does not have plans for the site yet, but that it will likely become housing. Plans will be developed as part of the school’s campus planning process for 2026, officials said. Previously the school announced that a reconstruction plan for Butler would include about 220 new housing units to be allocated for rental and purchase by faculty and staff. The proposed plans for the Butler Site included more than 110 stacked flat units, about 70 townhouses, and a mix of about 40 single family dwellings.
The Riverside Neighborhood Association has raised concerns about asbestos, lead paint, and other environmental hazards at the site. Many residents who live in the neighborhood say they don’t want to see the tract turned into a parking lot, and worry it could hurt their quality of life and their property values.
School officials told residents at a recent meeting that the school is not required to test for lead in the soil and will not do testing.
It will take about six to eight weeks to remove all the buildings at the site.