How to Take Advantage of Transit-Oriented Development Opportunities in New Jersey

Author: Donald M. Pepe, Ashley Brinn Levy|March 18, 2022

New Jersey municipalities are increasingly looking to redevelop the areas surrounding transit stations into walkable “villages” that include both housing and amenities, such as shops and restaurants...
How to Take Advantage of Transit-Oriented Development Opportunities in New Jersey

How to Take Advantage of Transit-Oriented Development Opportunities in New Jersey

New Jersey municipalities are increasingly looking to redevelop the areas surrounding transit stations into walkable “villages” that include both housing and amenities, such as shops and restaurants...

Municipalities throughout New Jersey are increasingly looking to redevelop the areas surrounding transit stations into walkable “villages” that include housing and amenities like shops and restaurants. Many transit agencies, including NJ Transit, have also begun to sell off vacant and underutilized property surrounding their stations for redevelopment, creating new and potentially lucrative opportunities for developers.

Transit-oriented Development 

Transit-oriented development is traditionally defined as high-density, mixed-use development within walking distance (typically 0.5 miles) of a transit station. Common features include a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, retail shopping/restaurants, and walkable access to mass transit.

New Jersey TOD Projects

New Jersey has made TOD a priority in recent years.  In fact, facilitating the development of TODs is one of the five goals in NJ TRANSIT’s 10-Year Strategic Plan. By partnering with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), NJ Transit is actively seeking opportunities to redevelop land surrounding New Jersey’s 266 train stations across 12 transit lies. Under the plan, parking lots and other property located in close proximity to rail stations will be converted into mixed-used developments containing housing and retail businesses.

NJ Transit is also partnering with municipalities to further its redevelopment goal. The agency, in partnership with Old Bridge Township, recently announced a $470,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to study the feasibility of locating Transit-Oriented Developments across Middlesex and Monmouth counties. According to NJ Transit, the TOD study will explore potential developments along the 21-mile Route 9 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor from the Old Bridge Park and Ride to the Aldrich Park and Ride in Howell Township.  Planning will include parking lots, underutilized and surplus properties around several bus stops and stations included in the study area and provide a “cohesive vision for redeveloping aging strip malls into vibrant, equitable transit-friendly communities,” according to NJ Transit.

To help facilitate redevelopment, NJ Transit maintains a website listing potential TOD opportunities, along with related procurement documents. Parties interested in acquiring land owned by NJ Transit can also submit inquiries to NJ Transit’s Real Estate and Economic Development Department to initiate an excessing review, the process used by NJ Transit to determine whether a property can and under what conditions, be deemed excess to NJ Transit’s operations and made available for another use. Following a review of the request, a written determination is sent to the requestor indicating whether and under what terms and considerations a real property interest can be conveyed. If a property is deemed available, NJ Transit will determine the most appropriate transfer mechanism (i.e., Request for Proposal/Qualifications/Bids (RFP/Q/B) or through a direct lease or license).

How We Can Help

Most TOD projects rely on partnerships between transit agencies, local governments, and private developers. Due to the complexities and the sheer number of moving parts, TOD projects can face significant obstacles which bring with them unwanted risk, delay and expense.  However, managed properly, this relatively new statewide initiative presents a unique opportunity for any developer that can successfully navigate the obstacles.     

For businesses that are interested in transit-oriented development, the key to success is the ability to mitigate the inherent risks, control costs and eliminate delays.  To do this, you will need to leverage the cumulative experience of an experienced development team beginning with a knowledgeable New Jersey land use attorney with a track record of successfully navigating the process.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact Don Pepe, Ashley Brinn, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.


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AboutDonald M. Pepe

Donald M. Pepe devotes his practice to all aspects of complex real estate development and real estate transactional work with an emphasis on retail and residential development.Full Biography

AboutAshley Brinn Levy

Ashley Brinn Levy is a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Environmental & Land Use and Corporate Transactions & Business Law practice groups. She also has extensive experience handling a wide range of matters related to Land Use, Regulatory Law, Corporate Law and Commercial Litigation.Full Biography

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How to Take Advantage of Transit-Oriented Development Opportunities in New Jersey

How to Take Advantage of Transit-Oriented Development Opportunities in New Jersey
Author: Donald M. Pepe, Ashley Brinn Levy

Municipalities throughout New Jersey are increasingly looking to redevelop the areas surrounding transit stations into walkable “villages” that include housing and amenities like shops and restaurants. Many transit agencies, including NJ Transit, have also begun to sell off vacant and underutilized property surrounding their stations for redevelopment, creating new and potentially lucrative opportunities for developers.

Transit-oriented Development 

Transit-oriented development is traditionally defined as high-density, mixed-use development within walking distance (typically 0.5 miles) of a transit station. Common features include a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, retail shopping/restaurants, and walkable access to mass transit.

New Jersey TOD Projects

New Jersey has made TOD a priority in recent years.  In fact, facilitating the development of TODs is one of the five goals in NJ TRANSIT’s 10-Year Strategic Plan. By partnering with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), NJ Transit is actively seeking opportunities to redevelop land surrounding New Jersey’s 266 train stations across 12 transit lies. Under the plan, parking lots and other property located in close proximity to rail stations will be converted into mixed-used developments containing housing and retail businesses.

NJ Transit is also partnering with municipalities to further its redevelopment goal. The agency, in partnership with Old Bridge Township, recently announced a $470,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to study the feasibility of locating Transit-Oriented Developments across Middlesex and Monmouth counties. According to NJ Transit, the TOD study will explore potential developments along the 21-mile Route 9 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor from the Old Bridge Park and Ride to the Aldrich Park and Ride in Howell Township.  Planning will include parking lots, underutilized and surplus properties around several bus stops and stations included in the study area and provide a “cohesive vision for redeveloping aging strip malls into vibrant, equitable transit-friendly communities,” according to NJ Transit.

To help facilitate redevelopment, NJ Transit maintains a website listing potential TOD opportunities, along with related procurement documents. Parties interested in acquiring land owned by NJ Transit can also submit inquiries to NJ Transit’s Real Estate and Economic Development Department to initiate an excessing review, the process used by NJ Transit to determine whether a property can and under what conditions, be deemed excess to NJ Transit’s operations and made available for another use. Following a review of the request, a written determination is sent to the requestor indicating whether and under what terms and considerations a real property interest can be conveyed. If a property is deemed available, NJ Transit will determine the most appropriate transfer mechanism (i.e., Request for Proposal/Qualifications/Bids (RFP/Q/B) or through a direct lease or license).

How We Can Help

Most TOD projects rely on partnerships between transit agencies, local governments, and private developers. Due to the complexities and the sheer number of moving parts, TOD projects can face significant obstacles which bring with them unwanted risk, delay and expense.  However, managed properly, this relatively new statewide initiative presents a unique opportunity for any developer that can successfully navigate the obstacles.     

For businesses that are interested in transit-oriented development, the key to success is the ability to mitigate the inherent risks, control costs and eliminate delays.  To do this, you will need to leverage the cumulative experience of an experienced development team beginning with a knowledgeable New Jersey land use attorney with a track record of successfully navigating the process.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact Don Pepe, Ashley Brinn, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.