NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The centerpiece of New Brunswick’s new tallest building, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, opened yesterday on Somerset Street.

The store will serve as the main bookstore for Rutgers University.  Until last week, the University bookstore was located in the Ferren Mall and parking garage, where it first opened in 1982.

In a similar setup to the old location, students can obtain their required textbooks in the basement of the new store.

Dozens of patrons flocked to the store during business hours, riding the escalator to that connects the two floors of “regular” books.  Others enjoyed coffee and food from the built-in Starbuck’s coffee shop.

The New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA), which owns the rest of the building’s retail and office space, also plans to move their headquarters from the Ferren Mall to the sixth floor of the building, referred to as the “Gateway Center.”

Executive Director Mitch Karon said the authority’s move will have to wait until late September so that the NBPA can meet the increased demand for resident parking permits when Rutgers students return for the fall semester.

“It makes sense.  They know we’re here [in the Ferren Mall],” said Kevin McTernan, Chairman of the NBPA’s Board of Commissioners.

Karon also announced at the NBPA’s monthly board meeting that the authority had signed a lease with St. Louis-based National Car Rental to move into the building by the end of October.

The lease also includes 10 exclusive spaces in the 656-space parking garage attached to the building, as well as 20 spaces for preparing the rental cars at the Ferren garage.

National Car Rental is operated by Enterprise Holdings, the same company that runs the Enterprise and Alamo brand car rental services.

The Parking Authority, which operates over a dozen structure parking facilities, and the Rutgers bookstore are not the only former Ferren Mall tenants that might find their way into the new highrise.

Executive Director Mitch Karon said he was in talks with the PNCBank currently located in the Ferren Mall to move into the Gateway building’s retail space at the corner of Easton Avenue and Somerset Street.

As we reported on July 15, Manhattan-based Brother Jimmy’s BBQ will be opening on the Easton Avenue side of the new building in late October.

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.