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Working on The Weekend: New Building Aims for Nov. Opening

Devco's Wellness Plaza Project will Include a Grocery Store and Fitness Center
Wellness Center Construction
New Brunswick's Wellness Plaza, including a grocery store and gym, is set to open this November if all goes according to plan. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Workers at a downtown construction site were seen working hard until 10pm or later every night last week.  And many of the same workers were back at the site on Saturday and Sunday.

They are putting in the extra hours to ensure that the city's latest large-scale redevelopment project opens on time.  A FreshGrocer supermarket, the first of its brand in New Jersey, is slated to open November 2, according to officials.

And by November 15, the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center is slated to open in the same building, which will also include 1,275 parking spots in the city's first helix parking garage.

New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco) and the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA) teamed up on the project.

The NBPA plans to destroy the Ferren and Wolfson parking decks once the new deck open.

As we reported in May, the $105.1M development project will include the first downtown supermarket to open in decades.

The FreshGrocer store is currently hiring for over 300 positions and says they will give preference to city residents.  A job fair is being held this Thursday, September 27 from 1-5pm at the former site of the Rutgers University bookstore, which has been transformed into the FreshGrocer hiring center.

The Fitness & Wellness Center has been actively selling memberships for over a year out of the former McDonald's location in the Ferren Mall.

They have signed up over 3,000 members thus far, and approximately half are city residents according to those in the know.  While out of towners must pay a large up-front fee for a membership, the fee is waived for city residents who can start and end their membership as they please.

Additionally, city residents get 50% off the regular price of a monthly membership.  The rate for New Brunswick residents is $32.10/month including tax.

Business Administrator Thomas Loughlin said the city is subsidizing the price difference, and though the subsidy did not appear in this year's annual budget, it will next year.