Princeton University last week submitted documents to the Regional Planning Board detailing plans for its arts and transit neighborhood. Included are modified plans for the Lewis Center for the Arts, to be designed by architect Steven Holl, the new Dinky station and Wawa market to be designed by architect Rick Joy, and Mr. Joy’s plans for the existing Dinky station buildings, which the University intends to turn into a restaurant and cafe.
This is the University’s first official submission to the Planning Board for site plan approval. Concept discussions have been held in the past, but submissions could not be made until zoning was in place. “This set of plans is one generation beyond the ones that we described in February,” said Robert Durkee, University vice president and secretary.
One new aspect of the plan involves the University’s purchase of the house at 152 Alexander Street. The building will be demolished during the construction process, Mr. Durkee said. “This gives us a lot more flexibility. It works better,” he said.
The other changes have to do with the existing Dinky station buildings and the one to be designed 460 feet to the south. “What we’ve heard from people is that they like having the idea of having the Wawa in the station building, but don’t like the idea of the waiting area in the Wawa,” Mr Durkee said of the plans for the new building. “So the architect has said that we’ll connect the waiting area and the Wawa with a nice outdoor waiting area. You can get back and forth but they’re separate.”
The southernmost of the two existing station buildings will have an addition on its eastern side. An outdoor seating area will be framed by the original portion of the building and the addition. “We’ve spent a lot of time talking with restaurant operators and looking at the design of those two buildings to make them work,” Mr. Durkee said.
While he declined to name the restaurants being considered for the station buildings, Mr. Durkee did say they all are local. “Our goal was to end up with someone already in the Princeton area, who knows the area. And we’re very confident that will happen.”