An entertainment corridor is planned for a New Jersey freeway

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For years, as more shopping takes place online, a growing number of businesses along Route 18 in eastern Brunswick have been forced to close, but plans are underway to revitalize the region in a very important way.

According to East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen, every effort is being made to reinvent this stretch of road and create an entertainment corridor.

He said that while there will always be stores along Route 18, “it’s just not going to be mainstream retail, it has to move into the next century, which is entertainment, services, bringing out the people of their house”.

big projects

He said there are already two tennis centers on Route 18 and that there are plans for “ice rinks that will attract hockey and other ice-related sports from around the state, we are doing 2 rinks, we want tournaments and tours to come to town using hotels and restaurants.

Cohen said part of the plans for the rink required the developer to make improvements on 8 acres of the site that will be turned over to the township for recreational use.

He pointed out that Robert Wood Johnson was moving in 60,000 square feet on Route 18 for medical services and that several different restaurants were also coming.

“So you can see that the freeway is transformed over time from what was just a retail corridor to more entertainment, services, restaurants.”

Cohen said the entertainment hallway will also include bowling and Rock ‘N’ Air, described as an immersive indoor adventure experience with rock climbing walls, paintball, trampolines, a zip line and more.

What kind of restaurants?

He said there will be an assortment of one-of-a-kind mom-and-pop restaurants and “kids, millennials, gen Zs and even the younger ones, they want the chain restaurants, I want a Chick -fil-A, they feel like going to interesting, fun but chain restaurants.”

Family watching movie in cinema

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Who will show up?

He said this entertainment corridor will draw people from all over New Jersey.

“We’re at Exit 9 on a Turnpike that has 18 exits, we’re right in the middle of New Jersey, and Route 18 is right next to it,” he said. “It’s going to be a draw not just for the residents of eastern Brunswick, but for the state and frankly, I think the region.

He said the city has designated parts of Highway 18 as redevelopment areas, which helps provide tax incentives for developers to come in and “turn over these vacant, run-down properties.”

He said that with all the vacancies in the city, “it’s driving down property values, it’s a declining area, and it certainly doesn’t provide the kind of revenue the city depends on.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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