West Windsor’s Maneely/Toll Brothers Mixed-Use Development In Detail

'Building A' from Toll Brothers's proposed development of the Maneely property in West Windsor. (click to expand.)

‘Building A’ from Toll Brothers’s proposed development of the Maneely property in West Windsor. (click to expand.)

Toll Brothers have proposed a mixed use development at Bear Brook Road and old Bear Brook Road in West Windsor- a site sometimes know as ‘the Maneely property’. The plan, developed in conjunction with West Windsor township, calls for 188 ‘corporate suites’, 4o apartments, 51 town homes and 20,000 sq ft of commercial space. A 10-acre plot on the site is set aside for a 72-unit affordable housing development, which will potentially be constructed by Project Freedom. The plan was presented to the West Windsor Planning Board earlier this month. The details are below.

First- the site. Here is where it is:

The site is currently an undeveloped field at the intersection of Bear Brook and Old Bear Brook Road. Here is what the site looks like now:

Maneely property, seen from Old Bear Brook Rd. (click to expand.)

Maneely property, seen from Old Bear Brook Rd. (click to expand.)

The site plan is below. From Bear Brook Road, the site will be accessed by a new roundabout, leading to an internal road network.

Site plan for Toll Brothers mixed use development at Bear Brook Road in West Windsor. (click to expand.)

Site plan for Toll Brothers mixed use development at Bear Brook Road in West Windsor. (click to expand.)

From Bear Brook Road, nine large mixed-use (retail on bottom, apartments on top) buildings will be visible. There are three types of buildings. Five of them will be 3-level ‘Building A’-type (see photo at top). At the entrance, two ‘Building C’-type structures are envisaged. These have the largest footprint, and are also 3-level structures. Set back further are two ‘Building B’-type structures. These would be 4-level structures. A swimming pool/leisure/clubhouse for residents adjoins Building B-1. Below are front elevations for Buildings Type ‘B’ and ‘C’:

Renderings of Building Types 'B' and 'C' from the Toll Brothers plan. (click to expand.)

Renderings of Building Types ‘B’ (bottom) and ‘C’ (top), from the Toll Brothers plan. (click to expand.)

Next to Old Bear Brook Road, a platoon of 51 townhomes with rear-accessed garages are envisaged, ordered in five rows. Although the townhomes are packed relatively densely, their appearance is varied by having four different models as shown below:

Townhome styles from the proposed Toll Brothers mixed-use development in West Windsor. (click to expand.)

Townhome styles from the proposed Toll Brothers mixed-use development in West Windsor. Yes, there are ornamental vinyl shutters. (click to expand.)

Amazingly, the developer proposes to provide 3.5 car parking spaces per 3-bedroom town home! That means that even in a mixed-use development, the houses will have more parking spaces than they have bedrooms!

At the rear of the site is the proposed independent-living complex. The plan shown for this is provisional, as the arrangements have yet to be finalized with the provider.

In terms of context, it’s worth noting that Bear Brook Road is already the site of considerable residential housing, with existing densities equivalent to or exceeding the close-in neighborhoods of downtown Princeton.

Planning map of West Windsor, showing the Bear Brook Road site and existing developments (click to expand.)

Planning map of West Windsor, showing the Bear Brook Road site and existing developments (click to expand.)

So is the Toll Brothers plan any good? From a walkability standpoint, a mixture of uses is in general much better than single-use, because it provides the possibility of making journeys without using a car. A new grocery store in the Toll Brothers development will allow car-free or reduced-vehicle-miles-travelled trips to shopping for residents of the surrounding residential developments. The development offers useful density close to Princeton Junction rail station, increasing access to transit (a key recommendation of the Route 1 Growth Strategy).

New housing is welcome, because New Jersey is the second-worst state in the USA for housing cost. The Princeton area is particularly bad. West Windsor acts as an important residential area for Princeton employees. According to figures from the year 2000, there are 1,009 people who commute from West Windsor to Princeton daily. Some of the future residents of the Maneely site will be able to walk or cycle to the Dinky station (0.7 miles away) and take the train into central Princeton to work. Others may take the train to New York, Trenton, or even Philadelphia.

On the other hand, this West Windsor neighborhood is not a key activity center, and still won’t be even if this development is built. That means that most of the housing will be car-dependent. Even people who live here and work in Princeton are likely to drive, adding to a projected doubling of peak traffic on Alexander Street in Princeton within the next 5 years. Architecturally, the plan is mediocre, and from a placemaking standpoint, it’s a dud compared to sites such as the nearby mixed-use ‘Plainsboro Village Center‘.

The plan will go before Planning Board again this summer.

What do you think of this plan? Will it help build a more walkable West Windsor? Is it good for the region? Have your say using the comments box below.

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in architecture, Density, Placemaking, planning, Real estate, Smart Growth and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to West Windsor’s Maneely/Toll Brothers Mixed-Use Development In Detail

  1. wow says:

    Seems to be a bit ‘inward facing’ – sounds like you have to drive or walk into the development to access the shops, in that sense it is little better than a strip mall. It does have some housing mixed in, but doesn’t sound like enough to sustain all the planned businesses. To do that it will instead need to attract foot traffic, but because of the proposed design/location that seems unlikely. As an alternative it will need to attract people to drive here as a ‘destination’. That gets it a thumbs down from me.

    As for the architecture – a 3 year old could come up with something more inspiring.

  2. Pingback: First Look: West Windsor’s ‘Ellsworth II’ Site Plan For Cranbury Road Near Princeton Junction Station | walkableprinceton

  3. Ahhh… More Neo-classical architectural schlock! PULEASE!!! Can any NJ developer do anything with a little bit of architectural interest?!!? The architecture out West is so far more advanced and of superb quality than the crap developers keep on forcing upon towns back home. Even the stuff being built in places like Hoboken sucks!

    And JEEZZZ!!! 3.5 parking spaces per townhouse unit? This is a development in a parking lot!

    Pretty crappy location. Its still a haul to the train station. This should be built ON the train station.

  4. Sriram says:

    Eager to find out about this proposal

  5. Kumar says:

    Any recent updates on this ? Appreciate if somebody can post the latest..

  6. varun says:

    Any recent update on this project?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s