Finally Some Good News For New Jersey

“Finally, some good news for New Jersey.”

My colleague, Rob Norton, said this in response to the announcement made last week regarding the new Hackensack University Health Network and Seton Hall University Medical School.  The medical school will be located at the former Roche campus along Route 3 in Clifton and Nutley.

The medical school, the first four-year private medical school in New Jersey, will create 400 – 500 jobs alone, as well as others on the campus for ancillary uses.  It will likely open in 2017 with a class of 125 – 150 students. In addition to the jobs, the new medical school is being touted as a vehicle to assist with the anticipated shortfall of doctors, which is expected to reach 2,500 by 2020 in New Jersey alone.

Adding highly skilled jobs and training doctors will be a boon to the local economy, but it’s the details of the redevelopment that have us optimistic.

Being located along Route 3 and surrounded by retail, we were hoping that it wouldn’t become another generic strip mall or yet another residential development.  Worse would have been adding office space to a market that clearly doesn’t need additional vacancy.

Instead, the medical school will take advantage of the existing infrastructure, which includes state-of-the-art research rooms already in place. The redevelopment will also call for a hotel, as well as a residential and retail component to support the campus, but the anchor is clearly the medical school.

Announced the same week as the closing of the Izod Center, Governor Christie applauded the leaders of Hackensack University Health Network and Seton Hall for their vision. The two institutions will invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the next ten years.

It’s good news all around. Jobs will be created, money will be spent, and vacant real estate will be put to a higher and better use. What we need is more leaders within our community who are willing to think outside of the box, make an investment, and lead our state and economy forward. 

Who’s next?