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Eastman Embraces ‘Smart Growth’ Concept in Company’s Efforts to Curb Suburban Sprawl

June 11, 2007
Livingston, New Jersey

Suburban sprawl in New Jersey and the environmental problems that complement it have been the subjects of much debate and concern both in the halls of the Legislature and in the hearts of town officials and developers. In answer to the problem, New Jersey introduced one of the nation’s most ambitious and productive efforts to preserve open spaces and farmland while enhancing local neighborhoods and limiting the problem of suburban sprawl. Established in 2002, the state’s new Office of Smart Growth, provided a vehicle that was, in fact, uniquely capable of answering the problem. In essence, the OSG offered an approach to land-use planning that targets New Jersey’s resources and funding in ways that are designed to enhance the quality of life for the state’s residents for generations into the future.

It didn’t take long after the OSG became a reality that the Smart Growth concept took hold among developers and land- use planners. Built upon a foundation of well-planned and strategic growth, this exciting approach to development has been embraced as a key factor in providing new housing in New Jersey and creating new jobs while preserving our state’s environmental resources.

As a land-planning concept to curb suburban sprawl, Smart Growth is designed to utilize a community’s existing infrastructure and congregating mixed-use services together to reduce traffic and create energy and liveliness in the community with shared goods and services within walking distance. The Smart Growth concept has already proved its worth by promoting livable neighborhoods with a variety of housing types and price ranges, and multi-modal forms of transportation.

Most recently, Eastman Management Corp. was a major player in the State’s Smart Growth Program with its participation as a partner in the completion of Livingston Town Center, a mixed-use project that literally gave new direction to a suburban community badly in need of change. Suffering from a lack of a cohesive, recognizable town center, Livingston, one of northern New Jersey’s most affluent and successful communities, took a giant step forward when it approved the commercial and residential redevelopment plan that embodied 70,000 SF of retail and professional office space, 114 luxury homes, and a parking garage. Conceived and constructed by a joint venture comprised of Eastman Management Corp., Jacobson Enterprises and Roseland Property Company, the 13.8 acre site replaces a downtrodden retail strip in the center of the community that had been underutilized over the years and was, in fact, an eyesore. Providing a festive, pedestrian- friendly lifestyle shopping environment that features a mix of the best specialty retailers, no less than four restaurants and a unique mix of multi-family and single family housing, Livingston Town Center has emerged as a rallying cry to alert municipal legislators and local developers to the positive results of creative new approaches to local development both in the commercial and residential arenas. When originally dedicated, the nay- sayers said, “time will tell” whether the project and the concept would be successful. Livingston Town Center has withstood the test of time: its retail and dining venues report excellent traffic and numbers, sales of both the multi-family and single family housing have been brisk, and the community has embraced the new center of town with enthusiasm and support.

While Smart Growth’s primary goal is to prevent suburban sprawl, its positive effects are also evident is such larger cities as Elizabeth, and Jersey City. However, Red Bank, Hoboken, rural communities such as Hope Township and Chesterfield, and most recently Livingston, are the beneficiaries of sustainable social and economic development empowered by the state’s Smart Growth approach.

Eastman has been in business for over twenty five years and is a recognized leader in high quality real-estate developments with property throughout northern New Jersey. Headquartered in Livingston, Eastman boasts a portfolio of more than two million sq. ft. of office, retail, and industrial space located in Essex, Bergen, Morris and Burlington Counties.