KRE Group Joins Ewing Township Officials to Begin Redevelopment of Former Naval Air Propulsion Center

Demolition of Shuttered Buildings Sets Stage for Construction of In-Demand Industrial and Flex Space, Completing Township’s Parkway Avenue Redevelopment Zone

In a significant step towards realizing a decades-long vision for infusing new vitality into Ewing Township‘s landscape, demolition has officially begun on the decommissioned United States Naval Air Propulsion Center, paving the way for a modern era of industrial innovation, economic opportunity, and community revitalization.

Designated Redeveloper KRE Group joined Ewing Township Mayor Bert H. Steinmann, fellow municipal officials, and other dignitaries on Monday, April 22nd to mark the start of the transformative effort, which is being hailed as a pivotal moment in furthering the Township’s overarching goal for a vibrant Town Center and complementary uses that enhance residents’ quality of life and foster economic growth.

Once a bustling hub of military innovation, the Naval Air Propulsion Center now bears witness to the passage of time, with long-vacant and deteriorated industrial buildings, decommissioned facilities, and remnants of its storied past silently occupying the property. Spanning approximately 26.28 acres, the site is poised for redevelopment, bordered by Mercer County Airport to the north, a Conrail railroad line to the east, Parkway Avenue to the south, and Jack Stephan Way to the west.

KRE Group’s comprehensive redevelopment plans include four new buildings, featuring a single-story warehouse spanning 285,152 square feet, and three standalone flex space structures each measuring 20,000 square feet. Additionally, extensive site improvements will encompass new stormwater management infrastructure, thoughtfully planned landscaping and lighting, a new NJ Transit bus stop, surface parking, a landscaped walking trail, roadway improvements to Parkway Avenue, and the addition of a traffic circle at Parkway Avenue and Jack Stephan Way.

Jonathan Kushner, President of KRE Group, expressed his excitement, stating, “We are thrilled to embark on this revitalization effort and are proud to be the ones capable of moving this important project forward after so many years of inactivity. This redevelopment initiative, long championed by Mayor Steinmann, will complement the progress already made within the Redevelopment Zone while laying the groundwork for an innovative future.

Ewing Township Mayor Bert Steinmann said,  “Today’s demolition day is a long-awaited step in our redevelopment plan that promises to breathe new life into this historic property. As the bricks begin to fall, we are at the crossroads of history and innovation, and I am excited about the future.”

Operated by the U.S. Navy as a vital jet engine test facility from 1951 until 1997, the Naval Air Propulsion Center played a crucial role in bolstering America’s military capabilities. The site’s narrative dates back even further, with the General Motors Inland Fisher Guide manufacturing plant on Parkway Avenue being requisitioned by the government during World War II in December 1941. The plant swiftly transformed into Eastern Aircraft, a division of GM, retooling to produce the Avenger, the US Navy’s primary torpedo bomber. While the GM plant focused on aircraft production, the Navy utilized 1000 acres across the street, which it had purchased from GM, for a different purpose — to build a testing facility for jet engines. This strategic decision led to the establishment of the Naval Air Turbine Test Station (NATTS) in 1951, which became operational in 1956 and contributed greatly to advancing aviation technology.

The redevelopment of the former Naval Air Repulsion Center is the second and final phase of the Township’s Parkway Avenue Redevelopment Plan, which was first adopted in 2013. The endeavor follows the successful transformation of the former General Motors factory into the bustling Ewing Town Center which offers a mix of retail and residential uses.

KRE Group Ewing Naval Base Redevelopment 1 – rendering courtesy of Pratt Design Studio
KRE Group Ewing Naval Base Redevelopment – rendering courtesy of Pratt Design Studio