At its Oct. 13 meeting, the Princeton Planning Board heard concept plans for the new IT complex south of Frist Campus Center and approved plans for a new apartment building at 195 Nassau St. — which will include a mix of market price and affordable housing units.
These projects come during one of the most significant construction periods in Princeton’s history.
The proposal for the new complex includes renovations to Guyot Hall, Moffett Laboratory and Schultz Laboratory, totaling approximately 98,000 square feet of renovation and approximately 130,000 square feet of new construction. The construction will create a rectangular structure connecting the existing Guyot Hall and Moffett Lab.
He will be named Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall, for Princeton alumnus and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt ’76 and American businesswoman and philanthropist Wendy Schmidt. The couple have already made significant contributions to the University, endorsing the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund (EWSF) in 2009 and a new chair in Indigenous studies at Princeton in 2020.
According to the University’s proposal:
“The new Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall will serve as the unified headquarters for the Department of Computer Science, the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML), the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP), and the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE).
University architect Ron McCoy highlighted the importance of the complex’s location on campus and how it will serve the computing community.
“It’s a fantastic location because it’s right across from the Frist Campus Center, and [Computer Science] is the most popular department on campus for our undergraduates, giving them a key location in the heart of campus,” McCoy said during the meeting.
Guyot Hall is currently home to the Environmental Student Program and the Department of Geosciences, which will move to its new home in the Environmental Studies and School of Engineering and Applied Science (ES+SEAS) complex when it will be completed in 2025.
According to McCoy, the design of the building was partly influenced by its future function.
“It’s important from a faculty perspective that they feel like they’re in one house,” he said.
To this end, a glass “bridge” will connect the existing Guyot room and the new structure. McCoy said the team would take steps not to compromise Guyot’s original exterior, built in 1909, which he described as “crisp and ornate, but we love it”.
Additionally, an additional entrance will be constructed on the south side of the building along Goheen Walk. The buildings that line Goheen Walk now, which are currently central laboratory wings (not part of Guyot, Moffett, or Schultz), will be removed to make way for a courtyard and a new building on the west side of the new complex.
Christopher DeGrezia, a land use lawyer representing the project, stressed that it is a concept plan and not the final proposal. A timeline was not included in the proposal.
“It gives us the opportunity to talk about it and hear feedback, which we find very helpful,” he said at the meeting.
Later in the meeting, the Planning Board approved plans for a new apartment building to be located in what is currently the rear parking lot at 195 Nassau Street, adjacent to the Visual Arts Building at 185 Nassau St. The building will be five stories high and will have 45 units that will be a mix of market-priced units and affordable housing.
“The Affordable Housing Overlay Zones were created to provide a realistic opportunity to build affordable housing and to comply with the municipality’s constitutional obligation to provide housing for low- and middle-income households,” Mia Sacks wrote. , chair of the Council’s Affordable Housing, Planning and Redevelopment Committee in a statement sent to the Daily Princetonian.
Jefferey Whetstone, head of the visual arts department, told the ‘prince’ he didn’t think the new apartments or its construction would cause any serious disruptions to his faculty or students.
“I am on [the construction noise] will affect us a bit, but there is a lot of noise in our building with students making things, so I don’t see that being a real impediment to our activities here,” he said.
“I think there is a clear need for affordable housing in Princeton,” he continued. “Hopefully the new development will enhance or play into the activity we have in our building.”
Sacks went on to explain how the new building will help address these concerns.
“Our goal in creating the AHO-1 and AHO-2 areas was to encourage redevelopment consisting of multi-family residences with affordable housing set aside, as well as retail, service, commercial and office space at ground floor.”
“All of these uses reinforce the existing development pattern of the corridor defined by Nassau Street, thereby preserving the streetscape. The ordinances also incentivize car-free living downtown with clear benefits for our mall and the environment,” Sacks wrote. “We spent many months consulting with planners, architects, lawyers and several historians, to get these ordinances correct – and Project 195 Nassau exemplifies everything we hoped to accomplish.”
Charlie Roth is news writer and assistant data editor for the “Prince”, focusing on local city coverage. Please address any request for correction to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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