First Look: West Windsor’s ‘Ellsworth II’ Site Plan For Cranbury Road Near Princeton Junction Station

ellsworth2

Existing conditions at the ‘Ellsworth II site’ in West Winsdor, seen here from Google Maps. The site could be set for redevelopment with a mixture of uses according to a new plan. (click to expand.)

West Windsor seems to be on an apartment surge, with plans for a mixed-use neighborhood off Bear Brook Road, and the recent approval of a mixed-use redevelopment of the ‘Ellsworth Center’ at Cranbury and Route 571 (Princeton-Highstown Road). The Ellsworth Center looks set to be the site of not one, but two mixed-used redevelopments, as a new plan has been put forward to redevelop the ‘Ellsworth II’ parcel at the back of the site! The site plans are below…

The Ellsworth Center is currently the home of businesses including Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s Pizza, Subway, and Sultan Wok The complete site is actually made up of two properties. At the ‘front’ facing the intersection of Wallace Road, Route 571, and Cranbury Road, is the parcel owned by Shawn Ellsworth. At the rear of the site are two fairly disused buildings, owned by businessman Jacinto Rodrigues. Mr Rodrigues has now submitted his own plan for the site, which also envisages a mixture of uses. Here is the site:

The Rodrigues property backs onto the Amtrak/NJ Transit rail line, with an entrance via Cranbury Road (Route 615). Two buildings are currently standing at the site, as seen in the existing site plan below (yes, these are some grainy photos- the West Windsor planning office, like the one in Princeton, does not have electronic copies of site plans):

Existing 'Ellsworth II' site plan, featuring two buildings. (click to expand.)

Existing ‘Ellsworth II’ site plan, featuring two buildings. (click to expand.)

The new plan calls for four buildings. The footprint of two of the proposed buildings (‘Buildings 1 and 2’) matches that of the existing buildings, suggesting that these will be refurbed/improved. The other two buildings (‘Buildings 3 and 4’) must be new:

Proposed site plan of the 'Ellsworth II' site, off Cranbury Road, West Windsor. (Click to expand.)

Proposed site plan of the ‘Ellsworth II’ site, off Cranbury Road, West Windsor. (Click to expand.) Note: this site plan is slightly rotated relative to the existing plan, above.

All four buildings will be mixed use, with commercial on the ground floor and residential above. All the buildings would be 2-level structures. The breakdown of the units is as follows:

  • Building 1 – 6 retail, 17 residential
  • Building 2- 4 retail, 8 residential
  • Building 3- 3 retail, 5 residential
  • Building 4- 5 retail, 9 residential
  • Total – 18 retail, 39 residential

There would be a total of 177 parking spots. Here is the front elevation of ‘Building 1’:

Building 1 of proposed Ellsworth II site. (click to expand.)

Building 1 of proposed Ellsworth II site. Decorative vinyl shutters are present around all second floor windows. (click to expand.)

Here is the front elevation of ‘Building 2’:

Building 2 of the proposed Ellsworth II site. (click to expand.)

Building 2 of the proposed Ellsworth II site. (click to expand.)

Here is the front elevation of ‘Building 3’ and ‘Building 4’:

Buildings 3 and 4 from proposed Ellsworth II redevelopment (click to expand).

Buildings 3 and 4 from proposed Ellsworth II redevelopment (click to expand).

This is the floor plan for the residential units in the proposed redeveloped ‘Building 1’:

Floor plan of residential level of Building 1 in proposed 'Ellsworth II' redevelopment. (click to expand.)

Floor plan of residential level of Building 1 in proposed ‘Ellsworth II’ redevelopment. (click to expand.)

Here is a floor plan for ‘Building 3’ and ‘Building 4’:

building3_4_plan

Floor plan of residential units in Buildings ‘3’ and ‘4’ of proposed ‘Ellsworth II’ redevelopment. (Click to expand.)

As is the case with the Bear Brook Toll Brothers plan that we discussed yesterday, these homes will potentially be a place to live for people living in Princeton. Princeton apartments are in short supply, and many The plan is due to go before the Site Plan Review and Advisory Board of West Windsor in the near future, potentially on June 23.

This property has lain unused for a long time, so any use is probably better than the present derelict condition. New retail and residential units could be a real amenity to the West Windsor community. On the other hand, it seems absolutely insane to redevelop a site that is one third of a mile away from the 5th-busiest transit station in the NJ Transit network at such a low density. It’s no wonder that there’s a big waiting list for parking at Princeton Junction station if we won’t even build mid-density residential near such a key transit node. We  won’t ever get people out of their cars if we refuse to embrace transit-oriented development with a significant residential component.

What do you think? Are you impressed or excited by the proposed redevelopment of the back end of the Ellsworth Center? Do you think the development as proposed is about the right density? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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

3 Responses to First Look: West Windsor’s ‘Ellsworth II’ Site Plan For Cranbury Road Near Princeton Junction Station

  1. Wow says:

    build higher

  2. Another parking lot with housing. Good grief!

  3. Sagar says:

    We won’t ever get people out of their cars if we refuse to embrace transit-oriented development with a significant residential component

    So are we saying that the new residents are expected be people who would probably have stayed farther away and driven cars to the station? cause I do not see how this improves current traffic?

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