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AST Development Corp. And Jarmel Kizel Architects And Engineers Inc. Win “Good Neighbor Award”

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.  -- AST Development Corp. and Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers have announced that they have received a “Good Neighbor Award” from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) and its affiliate, New Jersey Business magazine, for the French Street Redevelopment in New Brunswick, N.J.

Jarmel Kizel, based in Livingston, N.J., provided architecture and engineering services for the project on behalf of AST, based in Lavallette, N.J., which was the designated redeveloper.

The French Street Redevelopment is one of 14 projects to receive the prestigious award, which will be presented at an awards luncheon at the Woodbridge Hotel and Conference Center in Iselin, N.J., on June 5. The awards, which are being held for the 49th year, honor firms for the construction of new buildings or capital improvement projects that have contributed to the economic value of their communities.

The French Street Redevelopment was nominated for the award by New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill. The winners were selected from among 45 entries by an independent panel of judges based on economic impact, architectural merit and community involvement. The total value of construction costs for the winning entries was $564 million, according to the NJBIA.

“Our New Good Neighbor winners have cleaned up toxic waste on contaminated properties, converted old landfills into useful facilities and renovated dilapidated abandoned buildings,” said Philip Kirschner, NJBIA president. “Each project has improved the quality of life in its community by making it more attractive, providing jobs or offering services to area residents.”

The 1.3-acre French Street Redevelopment site, bordered by Somerset, Plum, French and Prospect streets, represents the final portion of the larger French/Prospect Streets redevelopment zone, which was created in 2001 and which now constitutes the heart of the city’s medical district, home to three pediatric medical facilities as well as the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

The approximately $38 million French Street Redevelopment consists of a parking garage, the Plum Street Deck, and an office tower, the 10 Plum Street Medical Office Building. Construction of the parking garage was completed in the spring of 2007 and the office tower in April of 2008. A third phase, a residential tower with ground-floor retail, is planned for the future.

“We are extraordinarily pleased that the French Street Redevelopment has been recognized with a Good Neighbor Award,” said Matthew B. Jarmel, AIA, principal of Jarmel Kizel. “This outstanding development has revitalized a rundown area of New Brunswick, created new tax ratables and attracted high-paying management, medical and technology jobs that have reinforced New Brunswick’s image as ‘Health Care City.’”

Jarmel Kizel is one of the state’s oldest and largest full-service architecture and engineering firms, providing one-stop shopping for all facility needs, including site analysis, civil engineering, architectural design, interior design, engineering, relocation management and product procurement management. The firm has special expertise in large-scale redevelopment projects such as the French Street Redevelopment.

Jarmel added that Jarmel Kizel was “proud to have been included on the team by our long-standing clients and friends at AST Development.” The two firms have enjoyed a relationship that dates back more than 15 years, he said.

AST Development is a full-service real estate development and construction management company. Founded in 1985 by Robert J. D'Anton, AST has become one of the state’s most respected and successful developers and construction managers. Specializing in design and development, the company’s profile also includes municipal and corporate facilities, multi-family residential, commercial, retail and site development.

Jarmel Kizel and AST Development have formed strategic partnerships on many projects, including a 600,000-square-foot, five-building campus in Whippany, N.J., for Bear Stearns, now JP Morgan, and the 4.5 acre Park Madison redevelopment project in Plainfield, N.J., that included a 100,000-square-foot office building, a 325-car parking structure and more than 30,000 square feet of retail space.

“We are grateful to the NJBIA for recognizing the contribution that the French Street Redevelopment has made to the continuing revitalization of the City of New Brunswick,” said D’Anton. “The transformation that the city has undergone over the past decade is nothing short of astonishing, and we are proud to have shared a role in that transformation with our long-standing partner, Jarmel Kizel.”

“I want to thank the City of New Brunswick for its faith in choosing AST Development as the redeveloper,” D’Anton continued. “The city and the administration possess great vision, and the city is a model of responsible growth and progress.”

The 11-level garage, owned and operated by the New Brunswick Parking Authority, has 854 spaces, providing parking for the office tower as well as for two new nearby pediatric medical facilities: PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital, an affiliate of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Care System, and the Child Health Institute at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

The 9-story, 125,000-square-foot office tower includes ground-floor retail space, as well as Class A office space that was recently leased to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. The hospital will reserve some of the space for its own use and lease the rest to medical providers. The University Radiology Group has recently occupied a major portion of the space.

The general contractor for both buildings was Torcon Inc. of Red Bank, N.J. Torcon provides construction management and general contracting services to leading corporations and private institutions. Founded in 1965, Torcon is one of the most active construction management firms in the mid-Atlantic states. Timothy Haahs and Associates of Blue Bell, Pa., served as structural engineer and parking designer for the parking deck.

In addition to reinforcing the city’s image as “Health Care City,” the French Street Redevelopment also fulfills its “smart growth” goal of being more pedestrian friendly. The site is located close to the train station, placing it within the city’s “transit village” area, where mixed-use development is being promoted. The project offers easy access to public transportation at the same time that it provides parking for those who must use their cars.

The design also accords with the city’s smart growth goal of promoting a vital streetscape. While many parking garages create “dead zones” in the streetscape, the exterior of the Plum Street Deck was designed to simulate that of the adjacent office tower, thus allowing it to blend in with the streetscape, while the retail uses on the ground floor promote an active street life.

About Jarmel Kizel Architects & Engineers, Inc.
Headquartered in Livingston, N.J., Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, Inc. is a full-service integrated architecture, engineering, interior design and energy consulting firm serving a distinguished client base of commercial and residential real estate companies, and a myriad of corporations throughout the Northeast.  The company employs registered architects, interior designers, professional engineers, LEED-AP professionals and technical support personnel that provide clients with a single source for all of their facility needs from architectural design, interior design, structural, MEP and civil engineering, to energy solutions and product procurement management services.  For more information, contact the company’s Livingston headquarters at 973.994.9669 or visit