NUTLEY, NJ — The redevelopment of the former Hoffman-La Roche campus, which officials said is well under way, is expected to create as many as 8,000 jobs, according to Nutley township attorney Alan Genitempo.
Hoffman-La Roche had been part of the Clifton and Nutley communities — which its 116-acre property straddled — for 80 years until its closure in 2013. The site has since been purchased by Bloomfield-based Prism Capital Partners LLC, which in September leased 16 acres to Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health. They jointly plan to build a medical school and a National Health Institute-designated clinical research center on the site.
The first phase of the project involves a little more than 16 acres, of which 5.893 are in Clifton and 10.98 are in Nutley. This represents the total area of the four lots created by a subdivision approved by the Nutley Planning Board in 2015.
The plan calls for redevelopment of two buildings on the property — one with six stories and about 412,000 square feet and a second six-story building with about 65,000 square feet. These buildings will serve as the new private medical school and research facility.
Remaining portions of this phase will include office, research and other compatible commercial uses, along with structured and surface parking facilities.
The medical school would also include research and laboratory facilities for companies involved in related research and development fields.
In addition, Seton Hall plans to bring its College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences to the new School of Medicine, to be built on 10.9 acres of the land being leased.
Genitempo said township officials have been working with Prism to see the project come to fruition.
“We’ve been working with the developer on a weekly basis and getting status reports,” Genitempo told the Nutley Journal in a recent phone interview.
According to Genitempo, the medical school will be 500,000 square feet and demolition of the interior of the existing buildings has been completed.
Construction and retrofitting of the buildings is ongoing. The redevelopment, said Genitempo, is projected to create between 5,000 and 8,000 jobs. The attorney said that the schools of nursing, physical therapy, the physician’s assistant program and other health sciences will be housed in the new facility, with its opening anticipated in about a year.
Also included in the plan will be a parking deck and campus-like greenery, according to Genitempo.
“We think the developer will put retail on the Clifton side,” Genitempo said. “There will be renovation of all the roadways from Route 3.”
Possible construction projects on the Clifton side may include mixed-use buildings, a hotel and corporate buildings, said Genitempo. He added that there has been much interest expressed by science companies to lease the existing buildings on the site.
“Science companies have been very interested in the site,” he said. “All of these companies want to be near the medical school. It’s a prime location. The developer is looking to fill existing buildings with tenants, and we hope tenants will move in before the end of the year and help us with tax ratables.”
“Everything there is exciting and moving forward quickly,” Nutley Mayor Joseph Scarpelli told the Nutley Journal in a recent phone interview. “We’ll have 1,500 to 2,000 people going in and out of there each day. We are looking forward to next year.”
Scarpelli echoed Genitempo’s assessment of the enthusiasm the project is generating.
“There has been interest from high-tech industries,” Scarpelli said. “We’re very excited by that. More people will spill over into our local economy. It will create jobs and is good for the local economy and for our ratables.”
Genitempo said that having a medical school in the township is a revenue-booster.“The medical school is just a great catch for us,” he said. “It’s bringing in professionals, and the Realtors here are very happy. We’re trying to keep the ball rolling down the hill. This is more than just a big project. It’s the future of Nutley. It’s the lifeblood of our economy.”