|New Brunswick, New Jersey, March 1, 2007 ... Benchmark
Hospitality International, the operator of the hotel and conference center
at The Heldrich, the new $120 million mixed use property located at 10
Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, New Jersey, hosted a ribbon cutting
celebration today. The event was followed by tours of the public
spaces, including the sophisticated reception lobby, elegant ballrooms,
state-of-the-art conference center with an 80-seat amphitheater and 21
meeting rooms, luxurious guestrooms, and Christopher's Restaurant &
Bar. The property will formally open to the public on March 9.
"We are thrilled to cut the ribbon and celebrate the completion of The
Heldrich," said Jeff Farina, chief development officer for Benchmark Hospitality.
"This remarkable property is the culmination of years of planning, civic
leadership and the vision of John Heldrich. It will add new vibrancy
to the heart of this great city. Benchmark is proud to be an active
part of the renaissance of New Brunswick."
Officiating and offering comments at the ribbon cutting were the Honorable
James Cahill, Mayor of New Brunswick; Christopher J. Paladino, President,
New Brunswick Development Corporation, developer of The Heldrich; David
Crabiel, Freeholder Director, Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders;
Jeffrey V. Farina, Chief Development Officer, Benchmark Hospitality International;
Richard McCormick, President, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey;
Ira Novak, Chairman, New Brunswick Development Corporation; and John J.
Heldrich, the property's namesake.
L to R: Michael J. Taylor, General Manager, Benchmark
Hospitality at The Heldrich - David Crabiel, Freeholder Director, Middlesex
County Board of Chosen Freeholders - Dr. Richard McCormick, President,
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - The Honorable James Cahill,
Mayor of New Brunswick - John J. Heldrich (cutting ribbon) Property's Namesake,
former Johnson & Johnson Executive, and Consummate Champion of the
Revitalization of New Brunswick - Christopher J. Paladino, President, New
Brunswick Development Corporation - Ira Novak, Chairman, New Brunswick
Development Corporation - Jeffrey V. Farina, Chief Development Officer,
Benchmark Hospitality International
.The Heldrich reflects and honors the lifelong
accomplishments and civic vision of John Heldrich, one of New Jersey's
most remarkable business and community leaders. Mr. Heldrich combined his
career as a top executive at Johnson & Johnson, with a record of leadership
and commitment to public, community, and civic service. He was the
driving force behind the successful redevelopment of New Brunswick, including
The Heldrich, and eventually founded and chaired New Brunswick Tomorrow,
the non-profit organization which has spearheaded the City's renewal.
Adorning much of the public space of The Heldrich are works of original
art by prominent New Jersey artists, many of whom were on hand during the
event. Also, the majority of The Heldrich's public rooms have been
named for important and historic New Brunswick personages, with descendents
of these individuals attending the celebration.
The Heldrich features an inviting and spacious lobby off a grand porte
cochere entrance, which faces New Brunswick's restored Monument Square.
The focal point of the elegant lobby is the masterwork in glass, - The
Garden of the Hesperides, by noted New Jersey artist, J Kenneth Leap, which
was commissioned for the hotel.
The property offers 248 beautifully appointed guestrooms, including
14 spacious corner suites with stunning views of the revitalized cityscape.
At street level is Christopher's Restaurant & Bar, which overlooks
Livingston Avenue and the renowned State Theatre beyond. The urban
chic Christopher's comfortably accommodates 200 guests. Banquettes
divide the room into three areas, creating spaces that accommodate small
parties or larger groups for dining. An open ceiling offers theater
style lighting, adding a sense of drama to the room.
Christopher's features a large show kitchen, offering patrons the opportunity
to observe chefs preparing meals according to guests' preferences. The
restaurant, which opens to the public on March 9 along with the hotel,
will offer alfresco dining in season on a sidewalk terrace, extending the
restaurant to the streetscape. Christopher's is accessible to the
public through the hotel's lobby and via a separate entrance off Livingston
Avenue. The Heldrich also provides two spacious, elegant ballrooms,
which comfortably accommodate up to 500 guests, making the property ideal
for social functions.
The Heldrich is custom-designed for meetings and events. The
property features a state-of-the-art conference center with 25,000 square
feet of functional space and Benchmark Hospitality's signature meeting
concierge services. Conference facilities include an 80-seat amphitheater,
a stately Boardroom, and 21 meeting rooms accommodating from 10 - 500 guests.
Wireless Internet access is available throughout. Benchmark Hospitality
International, which is based in The Woodlands, Texas near Houston, is
recognized globally for its excellence in the art of hospitality and hosting
Additionally, The Heldrich includes 48 luxury condominiums presented
by Trammell Crow www.trammellcrow.com, scheduled to open mid March.
Also available at the property will be a free-standing restaurant and wine
bar, Daryl's, opening March 31; the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce
Development, at Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning
and Public Policy, opening mid April; and upscale retail boutiques, opening
Ample parking for the hotel and conference center, as well as the restaurants,
event and retail spaces, is provided by a 820-car parking facility located
on the block adjacent to the property, across New Street. A 54-space
underground parking facility is provided for condominium owners.
The Heldrich Economic Impact
The Heldrich is a strategic expansion of the New Brunswick development
plan that continues the revitalization of the city's key transportation
artery, George Street, and the Cultural District Redevelopment toward the
Douglas / Cook Rutgers University campus.
The location of The Heldrich is a triangular parcel between Livingston,
George, and New Streets across from theater row, and the Rutgers Center
for Arts & Planning building, housing the Mason Gross School of the
Arts. The property expands earlier, enormously successful investments on
New Brunswick's George Street corridor, including the State Theater, Crossroads
Theater, and the new University of Medicine and Dentistry headquarters
at Liberty Plaza.
Construction of The Heldrich resulted in more than 400 construction
jobs and has created 250 + new, permanent positions at the hotel and conference
center, managed by Benchmark Hospitality. These jobs, ranging from
entry-level to management positions in the retail, hospitality, and property
management professions, offer competitive salaries, full benefits, paid
vacations, and numerous employee incentives.
The completion of the project also significantly increases municipal
tax ratables from the 1.8-acre parcel from less than $200,000 per year
to $1,000,000 per year.
The Heldrich's Fine Art Collection
Adorning the lobby and public spaces of The Heldrich are exceptional
original works of art by internationally renowned New Jersey artists.
The artworks were commissioned, purchased or are on loan to the property.
Many of these artists were available to highlight their work during the
ribbon cutting and open house.
Significant commissioned pieces include 'The Garden of the Hesperides,'
the signature lobby artwork by glass architect J. Kenneth Leap of Wheaton
Village, and in Christopher's Bar, 'New Brunswick at Twilight, Early Fall
2006' by Tim Daly, photorealist painter from Hoboken. Prints of Mr.
Daly's work have been installed in each of the 248 guestrooms.
The Heldrich has also partnered with the Brodsky Center, a division
of Mason Gross at Rutgers, the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum and the
Grounds for Sculpture for changing exhibitions in gallery spaces created
in the public areas of the hotel.
Prints of historical architectural drawings round out The Heldrich's
fine art collection. These connect the property to the early 20th
century when New Jersey architect Alexander Merchant was designing some
of the signature buildings of New Brunswick. Merchant trained under
legendary New York architects John Mervin CarrÃ¨re and Thomas
Hastings, principals in one of the most renowned Beaux-Arts architecture
firms in the United States during the late 19th / early 20th Centuries
(New York Public Library). One of Merchant's signature buildings is the
Elks Lodge, located across New Street from The Heldrich.
The Heldrich Pay Homage to City's Historic Personages
Additionally, The Heldrich has paid homage to New Brunswick's rich
legacy of inventors, artists and industrial greats by naming its ballrooms
and event spaces after these historic personages.
A sampling of these include Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), who moved
to New Brunswick in 1818 to learn the new technology of steamboats; Earle
Dickson (1892-1961), a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson who later
was credited with the invention of BAND-AID brand adhesive bandages; Frederick
B. Kilmer (1841-1934), a leading chemist with Johnson & Johnson where
he invented Baby Powder; internationally renowned artist George Segal (1924-2000),
the famed pop art sculptor who developed a signature method of making life
casts of people; James Price Johnson (1894-1955); a New Brunswick native
and originator of 'The Charleston': and Mary Ellis (1750-1827), a New Brunswick
folk hero whose story inspired the pop hit 'Brandy' by Looking Glass in
About The Heldrich
The Heldrich is located in the heart of New Jersey in New Brunswick.
The property is situated at 10 Livingston Avenue, just west of the important
US Route 1 business corridor stretching from Princeton to New Brunswick
and four city blocks from the News Brunswick Train Station (serving the
Northeast Corridor: Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington, DC)
and close to Exit 9 of the NJ Turnpike. It is 30 minutes outside
New York City and has rail service to Newark Liberty International Airport
The $120 million, mixed-use facility is a redevelopment project of
New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco), a nonprofit real estate
development company. In addition to the hotel and conference center, the
property is anchored by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development,
at Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public
Policy. The Heldrich represents a unique partnership among Devco,
Keating Partners, Rutgers, New Jersey Department of Labor, New Jersey Redevelopment
Authority, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Casino
Redevelopment Authority, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority and
the City of New Brunswick. It is a major anchor to New Brunswick's
downtown revitalization program.
For more information on The Heldrich, call 732-729-4670 or visit www.theheldrich.com.
The Heldrich is operated by Benchmark Hospitality International.
Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management
company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference
centers, hotels and condominium resorts both domestically and internationally.
For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information,
visit Benchmark's Website at www.benchmarkhospitality.com.