New Brunswick Redevelopment
Interview with Robert Campbell
Berkhout: If you don't mind, this is just a form we need your sign-off on.
Berkhout: That you're agreeing that we're making this record of the interview.
Listokin: And this record will be at Rutgers. I assume there will be a copy in the New Brunswick Library, and then I'm sure we're going to pull this together into something.
Campbell: Yeah. (laughter)
Listokin: So, first it's . . .
Campbell: I've known of this one.
Listokin: It's the raw materials.
Listokin: The raw materials, and then, it's . . .
Campbell: I've done some of the . . .-
Listokin: It's too interesting and important . . .-
Campbell: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – they've been doing an oral history for years and years. So they . . .-
Listokin: Um-hmm. Oh, okay. So, that, in a word, is what we're doing.
Campbell: Yeah. Right.
Berkhout: We should find out what they have on record.
Listokin: It's a good time to look back.
Campbell: That was, I noticed, one of the questions you had about other people who you might be interested in.
Campbell: And there's a fellow by the name of Bill Walsh whose name might have come up already.
Berkhout: Bill Walsh. Okay.
Listokin: Okay. We'll . . .
Campbell: He was Treasurer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, doing a lot of this, and was the first Chairman of New Brunswick Affiliated Hospitals and things like that. So, he's ---
Berkhout: Oh, okay. Bill Walsh.
Campbell: Yeah. In the summers, he's usually down in Brielle.
Campbell: Today is what? The 19th? The 19th.
Campbell: Do you want the address and all that?
Berkhout:: No. I don't think we need that.
Berkhout:: Thank you.
Listokin: Well, welcome and thank you.
Listokin: What we're doing is straightforward.
Berkhout: And it's the oral history of the redevelopment in New Brunswick.
Listokin: You know, talking to the principals and the chain of principals grows, we sort of asks someone who else who we'd speak to, which is appropriate.
Listokin: The end product will be a record, both in audio and visual.
Listokin: There will be a transcript made of this. We hope to do more as well.
Listokin: That's just the raw material.
Listokin: Then it's going to bring it together.
Campbell: Yeah. Ideas will come up I'm sure. Yeah.
Listokin: I suspect there will be something at Rutgers and in New Brunswick, maybe J&J.
Campbell: Now are you both with Rutgers, or are you . . .?
Berkhout: Yes. I'm Associate Dean at the Bloustein School of Planning and Urban Policy.
Campbell: Oh, okay.
Listokin: And I'm a Professor at Rutgers.
Listokin: I've been here since like, 1970. So, I've seen it.
Campbell: Right. You've seen it!
Listokin: I've seen a lot of things. I've seen a lot of things.
Berkhout: And I've been here since the 1980's.
Berkhout: And the first job I had at Rutgers was working with Kenneth Wheeler.
Berkhout: I don't know if you remember that.
Campbell: Yeah. I remember. Sure.
Berkhout: He was Provost.
Berkhout: So . . .
Campbell: Well, I got my MBA from Rutgers in '62, 1962.
Listokin: Actually, that's just about where we're going to start.
Listokin: We have – I think it was emailed – our . . .
Campbell: Yeah. I had looked at some of this.
Listokin: But what we're really starting with is, can you tell us something about yourself, because in part, where people grew up and where they worked, etc., obviously influenced how they came to New Brunswick.
Listokin: So if we can get a brief synopsis of growing up and . . .
Campbell: Sure. Okay. Well actually, I grew up in North Jersey, in Passaic, which then was like New Brunswick back in those days. It was very . . .
Berkhout: I was born in Paterson.
Campbell: Oh, you were? Yeah? Well, you know what it was like up there then.
Berkhout: Right. Right.
Campbell: I mean, it used to be very vital, a vital place. And I spent my school years there, and then went to Fordham University in New York, and I was actually a commuter into Fordham. So, my real first involvement with New Brunswick was at the time I graduated from Fordham. I was recruited by Johnson & Johnson and came to work here in 1955 when I graduated school, but then they had to leave. I had my commission in the Air Force. So I left for the Air Force for three years and came back in 1959.
Actually, I had met my wife to be down at the Jersey Shore while I was still in college, and she happened to live in East Brunswick. So, it was convenient being here at J&J.
Campbell: So, she really saw New Brunswick all her life, growing up. I came back in 1959, as I said, to Johnson & Johnson, and live out, right here off of Route 1, in the apartments, and that's really how I then spent my whole career with J&J, until retiring in January of 1995. So, . . .
Listokin: And could you just speak briefly about some of your positions at J&J?
Campbell: Right. Well, I majored in accounting in undergraduate, and started out as what they call an accounting trainee at Johnson & Johnson. And when I came back from the service, I was in the internal audit department, and I went through various areas in the financial group. Of course, Johnson & Johnson was a lot smaller company.
Campbell: I think, when I first joined them in 1955, it was about a $240 million company. (laughter)
Campbell: And even adjusted for inflation in the '60's, whatever, it's billions now, is quite a difference. I went through the various financial departments, and in, I guess it was late 60's, I went out to Personal Products as the Head of Finance out there. Then in 1971, I came down to Corporate here, as what they called, and I was the General Comptroller, which was really the responsibility for the worldwide consolidation of Johnson & Johnson, and all the reports to the Executive Committee internally, and stockholders externally and so on. Then, I went up through various financial positions, and in 1976 actually, was made Treasurer of J&J and a member of the Board of Directors.
Then, let's see, 1980 I guess it was, I was Chief Financial Officer, made Chief Financial Officer of J&J and then moved into general management in 1983. Around 1985, J&J kind of reorganized into three sectors, Consumer, Pharmaceutical and Professional, and I was made Head of the Professional Sector, which were the companies that develop products and marketed to primarily hospitals and physicians and things of that type.
Then in 1989, I retained my responsibility as Head of the Professional Sector, but also was made Vice-Chairman of the Board. At that time, in 1989, the current Chairman, who was Jim Burke, and the current President at that time, who was Dave Clare, retired. So, an Office of the Chairman was set up. Ralph Larsen became Chairman and a fellow by the name of Bob Wilson and I were the Vice-Chairmen of J&J. So, I continued in that capacity until I retired in '95.
Listokin: Well, if we could just start with, I guess, going down the list.
Campbell: Um-hmm. Right.
Listokin: It sounds like reporting. Who, what, when, where and how?
Listokin: You know. I can imagine the reasons why.
Listokin: But I especially would like to hear from J&J's perspective. Clearly, many corporations that were in urban America just left urban America.
Listokin: So, if you could just start with some of the "why" from J&J's and on becoming involved with the redevelopment.
Campbell: Yeah. In some respects, I have to repeat what I had heard at the time because, when a lot of this started in the 60's, I was not yet at a level at Johnson & Johnson where I really was in the position of making decisions whether to stay in New Brunswick or not stay in New Brunswick. But I'm sure if John Heldrich and others, or Dick Sellars – I don't know if you've – Dick Sellars is now in his nineties. So I don't know if you'd be able to speak with him.
Berkhout: Yeah. We haven't.
Campbell: But at any rate, the decision was made to stay in New Brunswick. As you know, Johnson & Johnson had a lot of affiliates in different towns, surrounding area, and some out in the Somerset County area, which in some respects, a lot of companies were doing at that time, moving campuses and so on. There's a Merck campus out there.
But when J&J decided they wanted to stay in New Brunswick, --- of course it was the original site of J&J --- that didn't come though, without wanting some things from the state because at that time, Route 18, for example, was dumping everybody off right here on Albany Street.
Campbell: And there were the pilings in the river for the John Lynch Bridge, but no bridge, and J&J felt that if we were going to stay, there had to be some quid pro quo here, and work with the state in getting the extension made of Route18 and things of that type. But we still were pretty much in the original buildings. I came down to Corporate in 1971, and my first real experience in terms of working with what became the redevelopment was already underway in the sense of people working with the community and New Brunswick Tomorrow and things of that type.
But, I remember getting – as I said, I came in as General Comptroller – I remember getting a phone call from Stan Anderson, who was then the Vice-President of Finance, saying that, "We're probably going to be seeing some bills coming through from a law firm down in Philadelphia," and he wanted me to know that they were (laughter) legitimate bills and such, and it had to do with the purchasing of properties at that time in the whole area surrounding Johnson & Johnson, and actually other properties in Highland Park and other places. So, that was my first experience, knowing that this thing was really underway, and we were going to eventually build a new headquarters here in town.
So, in the 70's, a lot of what I did, in terms of working with the redevelopment initiative, was kind of being the financial guy who found the money (laughter) here and there. We obviously, as a company, budgeted some things. But, as time goes on, different things would pop up here and there and such, that weren't necessarily in the forecast. So I worked closely with John Heldrich, who was really the mover, the shaker, the point person on what happened here in New Brunswick. And so John would have an idea or a discussion with somebody and come in, and we'd work out how to do that from a financial point of view.
I also, at one point – I still remember going up to Boston with one of the lawyers of J&J, Glen Miller his name was, to work out with John Hancock Company some of the financing on what became, I believe, the first building that was redeveloped in – I think it's 300 – no, it's 300 George Street. It's on the corner.
Berkhout: Oh, right.
Campbell: On the left hand side as you go past Livingston Avenue.
Campbell: It would be on the next corner down there.
Campbell: And we've been refurbished since. But then, I think there's Robert Wood [Imaging Center] is in there or something. But we did that.
Listokin: Was it harder to get financing at that point or ---?
Campbell: No. It wasn't. You know, people knew Johnson & Johnson. I mean, let's face it. One of the things that a lot of cities who would like to redevelop didn't have is a J&J. I mean, once we had made the commitment to be here, the financial resources were there, and so that obviously helped a lot in terms of anybody you spoke to about it. And while it wasn't a little amount of money, compared to Johnson & Johnson, it wasn't that huge – some of the things that we were doing. Then, for example, once we brought I.M. Pei in terms of developing the J&J campus itself, and his concept was, I guess, "A park in the city and a company in the park," I think were kind of his words at the time. And he identified what he felt, three cornerstones in terms of developing New Brunswick. One was Johnson & Johnson. Then he said we really had to have something across the street. Albany Street couldn't be the defining line between New Brunswick and J&J and Rutgers. It had to move, move over. So the concept of the hotel came up, the Hyatt Hotel. And then the third leg of the stool, so to speak, was the Cultural Center area, with the redevelopment of that, which gave you a foothold further down into town. And of course, the concept being the multiplier effect of the theater district, bringing people in to the restaurants and what have you. And there had been some pioneers in terms of restaurants and things like that, even before the area across the way was cleared, at this point.
In working with the hotel, the idea was to have the Hyatt come in and build a hotel and run the hotel and . . .
Listokin: Were you involved in the financial end there?
Campbell: Yeah. I'll get to that in a little bit.
Campbell: I knew the discussions that were going on, and Jim Burke, who was the Chairman, had brought in – it was Pritzker, I think, the ones who own the Hyatt, the family who owns it.
Listokin: That's Hyatt.
Campbell: Yeah. The Hyatt. And spoke with them about our concept, and they said, "Well, fine. But we don't really want to build a hotel here." (laughter) "We'll manage it if you want to build it."
Campbell: And so, that was worked out. But when the hotel first went up, it was really a partnership between the city and the company. So the city had a grant. I think it was a HUD grant.
Listokin: It was – right a UDAG government grant.
Campbell: Yeah. A UDAG grant.
Campbell: And then J&J put up money, and then there was some borrowing at the time, done from Prudential. Over the years, the city asked to pull their money out so that they could then use that in other areas of redevelopment, and then also in terms of the loan with Prudential, it was repaid, and J&J ended up owning the hotel. So, I was in on some of those things at the time.
Another person, by the way, you might want to talk with, who was involved a lot at the time, was Gary Gorran. Has his name come up at all? It's G-O-R-R-A-N. Gary was in our financial group and worked with John on the accounting for all this, and he was a long-long-time resident, I think of Highland Park, but his family owned one of the furniture stores, I believe. It was right here on Neilson Street in the old days. He might have some perspective on some of these things.
But anyway, the hotel has proved to be a – you know, we weren't really looking at it as a financial return kind of thing. But at the same time, we built it with the idea that J&J could use it. So there were meeting rooms and such, and the space that we had over there, we didn't necessarily have to have when we built the tower and things here. It turned out to be, obviously, a very significant move in the City of New Brunswick. It became a social setting as well as for whatever business use it was, or anything of that sort. It became a place where people in New Brunswick could have affairs. You know, whether it was galas of hospitals and what have you, and they said it was important that it moved something across the street, and you didn't have the DMZ. (laughter) Albany Street was the DMZ.
Berkhout: Um-hmm. Were there any other Hyatts owned by companies at that time, or did Hyatt own and run all the others?
Campbell: I don't know. I couldn't say.
Berkhout: In other words, it was a fairly unusual arrangement, I would think.
Campbell: I would think so. But I couldn't honestly say whether this was something that was that. The fact that they offered it would indicate that they probably had done this before in some way.
Listokin: We've heard reference to the Johnson & Johnson, the credo.
Listokin: Can you speak a little about that and how – the influence of that on redevelopment?
Campbell: Right. Um-hmm.
Listokin: I can imagine the linkages. But I think it would be good to hear from you.
Campbell: Right. Well, the Johnson & Johnson credo was something that was developed by General Robert Wood Johnson, back around, I guess it was in the 40's. And basically what it does is state what the company's responsibilities are to its customers, its employees and the communities in which we live and work. And then, lastly, to stockholders. The concept is, if you do the first things right, if you're good to your customers, if you're good to your employees and you're good to the communities in which you have your offices and such, that the stockholders will be well taken care of, and,in fact, that has happened.
And it's really a philosophy that has permeated the company. And I came in 1955, and already the credo was something that everyone spoke about, and it was --- it's the way you're supposed to act in terms of business, and any decisions you make. I used to say to my people, "If you're going to make a decision, and in any way it's counter to the credo, it's the wrong decision." So, I mean, it helps. It clarifies things a lot. And as I just said, one of the principles in there is the responsibility to the communities in which we live and work. So, J&J always not only allowed, but really encouraged its people to get involved with the communities.
Campbell: I remember the first thing I got involved in when I was still fairly young, was on the Board of the Cerebral Palsy Association here, and over the years, have still had involvement for one reason or the other. So --- But they got you into things quickly. We provided staff to help. We initiated a lot of things, but also supported things that were initiated by others. So it wasn't just a money thing. It was a time and talent thing as well as financial for J&J. And the credo has always played a major role, and not only in New Brunswick, but whether it's a plant down in Texas or what have you, you'll see that they're active in the community. And in more recent years, it's developed internationally a lot more. You know, internationally, Europe and places like that, because so much of the social services are created through their tax system. There's not that same mindset about that, contributions and giving. But J&J has done a lot in that regard, I would say. So . . .
Listokin: If I can take us back to something.
Listokin: We were on – you had the George Street, the initial office building investment.
Campbell: Right. Yeah.
Listokin: Then the Hyatt being very significant. Maybe if you want to continue on that track.
Campbell: Yeah. While that was going on, other things that I wasn't necessarily involved in on a day-to-day basis, other than from the financial point of view, were, as you know, the George Street Theater used to be in an Acme here on George Street, across from where J&J is now.
Campbell: And a lot was going on in terms of the retail stores and what have you. And one of the reasons for the town going downhill, which is the same in Passaic or Paterson or anywhere, is that you had the malls that sprung up there in the 50's, and little by little, people just started migrating to the malls and then started migrating to the towns around the malls, and so, the cities were kind of barren. And in the 60's here, you could shoot a cannon down the street at night here and not hit anyone, and it was closed up stores and what have you. And John Heldrich and other people through New Brunswick Tomorrow and things like that, Development Company, worked with the retailers, worked with the stores. And one of the first things that went up, which was symbolic in many ways, but it's still there, is the little park on the corner of George and Albany Streets. I believe that was the first thing that went up of – I didn't want to say "gentrifying" – but at the time, everybody was concerned about: is it going to be ruined by tomorrow morning with different people coming in and wrecking the place? But it was interesting. No one touched it. It seemed to be that people knew that there was an attempt here to start resurrecting the city, so to speak, in that regard.
Then, I know they put in the polling system, where every year, every couple of years, the Eagleton poll.
Campbell: It's about how people feel about the town and what have you – but, so, little by little, changes occurred, and it's still a living process. I mean, what started – it's hard to believe that we're talking, you know, forty-something years ago that all this started. But it's one of those things that, if you don't keep moving forward, you're going to regress; it doesn't stay the same. So, the initiatives are currently with Devco and others.
One of the areas that was important – I remember – because even after we built, J&J built, its new headquarters and such, the area just past the Hyatt was still a very questionable area, and there had been some false starts and such and . . .
Listokin: Like the Hiram Market?
Campbell: Yeah. That whole Hiram Market area and moving down, I guess, to New Street or whatever. And there were discussions at J&J, at that time, some management had changed and people that didn't necessarily have the same history as some of the ones who had started out with this—some of them did not live in the area. John Heldrich, of course, lived in Highland Park. I live in North Brunswick, and others were involved from a more local point of view, or a history point of view. So there were discussions, "Well, how much more money are we going to have to put into this thing, and so on and so forth." And I remember having a discussion up in the tower, looking down to the hotel, and beyond it was a problem. And someone – I forget who it was – had come in with a proposal that we had to put in another $3 million or $5 million or something like that, and people were rolling their eyes about it, you know, "At what point do we cut this off?" And my position on it was always: "Look. You know, on one side, you have Highland Park. On the other, you have Rutgers, and on this flank (laughter) if we don't do something about it and help in the evolvement of establishing something, you don't know what's going to happen. You know, it could regress and what have you."
And so we ended up continuing to put some more financing in, and as you can see, the results that got developed, and we moved on with this building and other things along here.
So, it's been, to me – looking back, it's kind of been a constant process of development, and it's only in recent years, really, that I've felt that Rutgers really got into it, I think, with the --- I don't mean from the point of view of supporting decisions and what have you --- but I mean in terms of the physical plan, the establishment of the dormitory over by the railroad station, which I understand quickly became the favorite dormitory. And more recently, the one here on George Street has been terrific because it really got the students in the city much more and not over across the river in Piscataway.
Berkhout: Our building, of course, the Civic Square Building.
Campbell: That was one of the big things too. And then there was always that kind of void, so to speak, between Livingston Avenue and Douglass, and little by little, that's filling in, and you can see as you look at the city, how areas are being moved with the plan on the corner of Easton Avenue now and Somerset, which is next to Saint Peter's Church, which is going on there. So, it's just a great story.
Listokin: Can I get your perspective on the role of the hospital and its expansion? J&J's involvement in that?
Campbell: Right. The whole health care system, so to speak, I think played a very important role because it gave a lot of people – not necessarily living in New Brunswick – a reason to keep coming into town. And J&J was always involved with the hospitals, Saint Peter's and Middlesex, which became Robert Wood Johnson.
Listokin: And Middlesex . . .
Campbell: And the medical school. Because, as you know, there were starts and turns and so on and so forth, and it was, I think, about the same time, when I had came down to Corporate in the early 70s when UMDNJ was officially established as a university. And then went through the, kind of, iterations of, "What kind of medical school should we have in New Jersey?" There was – you had Seton Hall, the Jersey City Medical Center.
Campbell: They had all these things going on. And so the decision to establish the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School right here in New Brunswick was very important. UMDNJ really has three medical schools.
Campbell: And there's one up in Newark and then the osteopathic school down in South Jersey. But then Robert Wood Johnson being here, which gave a tremendous lift to the hospitals and kind of the aura of higher-level, higher-tech, medical care and such. And ---
Berkhout: Was that Stan Bergen's decision . . .?
Campbell: Stan Bergen was the head of UMDNJ . . .
Campbell: . . . actually from the start of UMDNJ for, I guess, 30 plus years. He was the . . .
Berkhout: Right. But I mean, was he instrumental, or did he come after the decision was made to . . .
Campbell: No. I think he was quite instrumental in it. I think that probably anything that happened relating to UMDNJ over those years, Stan had to have had – and he, of course, spent a lot of time in Trenton and what have you with it. And one of the big decisions was by Robert Wood Hospital, they made the decision to be the major teaching hospital for the medical school, and so that made a link there with them. And at the same time, it also continued to create some contentious situations with Robert Wood and Saint Peter's, and I've spent probably (laughter) 40 years trying to get things together.
Campbell: And actually, back, oh, I guess around the year 2000 or so, we had a plan for the merger, and unfortunately, the current Pope didn't see it that way, (laughter) and it didn't happen, and things went back to their ... But the fact is, we do have, with the hospitals and the parts of the medical – the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, The Child Health Institute, The Cardiovascular Institute, things of that type, and that led to the whole concept of "New Brunswick, the Healthcare City."
So, it played an important role. It also played an important role from the point of view of jobs. I mean, healthcare is a huge job producer, of all levels, highest to startup positions, and it's been a great mover, and again, a multiplier, as I said, mentioned, about the theater. So, it's very important that that happened.
I've been ...I was Chairman of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for, actually since its inception, pretty much, and I was in on the feasibility studies. And we went from zero – I I remember people waiting for patients to come in the door, and now, they're up to over 80,000 clinical visits a year at The Cancer Institute alone.
Campbell: So, very important.
Berkhout: So J&J must have played an important role then in the improvement of the hospitals.
Campbell: It did.
Berkhout: And the expansion.
Campbell: Like with the city, J&J has always been very much involved with the hospitals, not only from a financial point of view ---
Campbell: But from, as I said, a time and talent point of view. Many, many J&J executives have been on the boards of the hospitals, boards at The Cancer Institute, Child Health Institute. They've had leadership positions with those, and personally have contributed funds to those. Been involved when people are being interviewed for deans or this or that.
Campbell: And so, it's been a continuum really, even before New Brunswick started going downhill.
Berkhout: I see.
Campbell: So, it wasn't something that suddenly started as part of the revitalization.
Campbell: It was there, and General Johnson n – you can go back – he started the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Actually, it was originally called "The New Brunswick Foundation" back in the 30's. If you look at where his money went in those days, it was for people to get an operation or a stay at the hospital or something of that type. So there was always that connection, going back. So . . .
Listokin: You've spoken about some of the other players.
Listokin: You mentioned briefly Rutgers, I guess. Where was the State of New Jersey in all this?
Campbell: You know, I had no dealings with the State at all. I think that another very critical, very important link, was where the local politicians of New Brunswick – John Lynch, who was involved at that time, as Mayor, and Cahill who followed – Pat Sheehan – and I mean, I could go through a lot of names there. But it was vitally important that the political structure was involved in this, so that there was a focus on what had to be done and what people wanted to be done. It really was a great, cooperative effort, and I know John Heldrich worked a lot with whomever the mayors were during that period of time, and they deserve a lot of credit for taking leadership roles and doing that.
Listokin: Where do you see the future of all this going?
Campbell: Well, as I said, I don't think it's a process that ends. I mean, if New Brunswick is going to continue to grow and be vital, there's still a lot of problems out there. I mean, they may be different from the ones that were here when things started out, but you do . . .
Listokin: What do you think some of those are that need to be addressed?
Campbell: Well, you have a changing population mix. There's the Latino population – now, I understand is 40-something percent, and I don't know how much of that is documented, undocumented, or whatever you want to call those things. But it creates pressures on the social services. It creates pressures on the healthcare services, and those things have to be solved, and different groups have been established in the City to attempt to alleviate these situations, but they're still there.
The statistics on – with all we have here with the medical school and the hospitals and everything else, the statistics still aren't necessarily the greatest in terms of a lot of healthcare indicators and what have you. So, we have a lot to do with that. There are areas of the city that probably still need to be redeveloped in terms of housing and other services. So I'm sure you've probably talked to Chris Paladino and the people at Devco and what's there on the paper for the future. But retail, I mean, there are retail stores here, but nothing certainly of even medium end to high end – certainly not there. And at night, while the theaters are active and the restaurants are active, there's really nothing in the way of bringing people in to shop.
Listokin: You mentioned with Devco, and I guess some of the earlier projects, J&J really had to be there . . .
Listokin: . . . for financing to happen.
Campbell: Um-hmm. Right.
Listokin: Like on George Street and with the Hyatt Hotel.
Listokin: Did that relationship continue as Devco has developed many projects over time? Would J&J have a financial role in . . .
Campbell: The J&J financial role in the projects, I think, has lessened. They still make a contribution to Devco every year and such, and they still work with the principals over there on a lot of things. But they, because of their successes in terms of some of the development they've had, are able to go out and get financing from other areas, or developers are even willing to finance themselves to do what they want to do. So the money pouring in [from J&J] isn't as significant as it was, as a percentage. Obviously, its presence here still gives lenders a certain degree of confidence that you have x-thousands of people coming in here. And in some of the plans that are being talked about, for example, the development that's going up across from the Heldrich Center and next to the State Theater, where they're talking about another high-rise mix of residential and business. If J&J were to say, "Okay. You know, we need space, and we'll take x floors of that," you know that would be a huge commitment.
Campbell: I know they're working on that. So, things like that are more prevalent than dollars.
Listokin: So, its presence may be some commitment to space, but not the immediate level of financing and negotiation that you had to have done earlier on with George Street and the Hyatt?
Campbell: Not enough funds. Right. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I mean, there were. . . Listokin: Maybe even this current complex.
Listokin: Because that also was an earlier effort.
Campbell: Right. Yeah. J&J's always had someone in charge of property, so to speak, and back years ago, when John Heldrich was still over there, that the people reporting to him on that were very much involved in terms of – even going back to the early 70's when I went up to Boston, or something like that, to help with the financing. So, we always were involved. Because J&J has space needs, and that enters into, if you look at 410 George Street on the corner there, or this . . .
Listokin: With the Golden Triangle.
Campbell: Yeah. Right.
Campbell: Or this building. Actually, J&J owns this. So there's still a big footprint. But it's not a bear hug kind of thing by any means. I mean, J&J wants to see the diversification of investment and such and other companies coming in and doing things. And I know Devco has talked to a lot of financial services companies and things like that about, New Brunswick's kind of an ideal site. You're right on the main line into New York, and the housing's a lot less and so on. So, it's still very much part of the involvement. But not as much from the hard cash kind of thing up front, doing that. Listokin: Other than, of course, to continuing to support New Brunswick Tomorrow and . . .
Campbell: Yes. Right. It does.
Listokin: But less so in terms of husbanding the financing of the projects ...
Campbell: Um-hmm. (laughter)
Listokin: We all have 20/20 hindsight.
Campbell: Monday morning quarterback.
Listokin: Are there things that could have been differently?
Campbell: You know, it's a hard one. I mean, from my viewpoint, the things that occurred kind of speak for themselves, with the success of what's been there.
Campbell: And could you have gone back and said, "You know, have maybe we should have done this, done that?" I would have liked it if we could have gotten better cooperation with the hospitals for example, and not end up with one hospital having the University of Medicine and Dentistry, and Robert Wood as their medical school, and the other hospital having Drexel University Medical School as theirs. I mean, things like that. But when I look back at that, it wasn't for the lack of trying. People really did work on it; they really did try to do it. So, the fact that it failed wasn't something that we overlooked or what have you.
I guess probably others who were more in on the ground floor when we were moving businesses around or selling things or buying things or what have you would have a – the people who were in on that in the 60's or early 70's, from actually working with the people here. And whether various segments of the community felt they were shortchanged or what have you, I don't know.
Listokin: Or some of the neighborhood . . .
Campbell: Yeah. I mean, well, I've read articles over the years, where people who were activists and all, and they talk about where J&J is now and what a nice, old section it was. Well, the fact is, it was a terrible section. It was run down buildings and small businesses that actually relocated into a lot better places than they were. I don't think there were any permanent people living there to speak of. And so, people like their romance sometimes, if there was a bohemian neighborhood or something, but it wasn't. So, you do get things like that that come up, and I'm sure that people honestly feel that that shouldn't have happened or that in making way for some of the buildings, that some historic areas were down. And I sympathize with that, and where we can save those things as part of the structure, we should.
I happen to be involved now with the Campus Ministry at Rutgers, with the Diocese of Metuchen. They have had a building over on Mine Street, I guess it is, which was getting kind of rundown and such, and I had first gotten involved because of the lead gift I had given to the Diocese. And we talked about rebuilding, and got into discussions about it, and then the idea came up of Saint Peter's Church, which is an historic, federal landmark.
Campbell: And I'd surely, if you walk out the front door of Saint Peter's Church, across the street, it's the same view somebody had in 17-whatever – Rutgers.
Campbell: And if you face Saint Peter's, the left side is the convent that was there when Saint Peter's School had nuns and all and it was deserted. So, we got to talking. We said, "You know, here we have this historic site, this historic building and such, and rather than rebuild the house on Mine Street, why don't we refurbish the convent and turn that into the Campus Ministry?" And that's what we've done. And in October, I think we'll pretty well finish, and then we have a grand opening and all at the end of the year.
Campbell: And we were able to sell the Mine Street property back to Rutgers and use some of that fund. So, things like that I like to see done, and I can't give you specifics of other places in town maybe that it could have been done or something when they were redeveloping. But I'm sure probably that did happen.
Berkhout: Was J&J involved at all in any financing as it related to housing?
Campbell: I don't know of any.
Berkhout: You know, with the Memorial Homes coming down and relocating?
Campbell: I don't believe so.
Campbell: I think that was through HUD or whatever those . . .
Berkhout: With HUD, yeah.
Listokin: With HUD.
Campbell: Yeah. I think that was mainly . . .
Listokin: The HUD Hope VI Program . . .
Campbell: Yeah. Right.
Berkhout: That one was. Right.
Campbell: Yeah. I don't think so – in that sense, that we were involved.
Listokin: I guess, wearing your financial hat, the J&J investments in New Brunswick . . .
Listokin: A good financial investment, or . . .?
Campbell: Oh, yeah. I think it was great, a great investment. My feeling was that, I mean, this is J&J headquarters, and you'd want to have a community that people are proud of, people can go out at lunchtime, that they can easily get to in terms of transportation, and that's another area – well, I digress, but I think transportation is something that still is on the hopper as to what to do with, you know, George Street, Neilson Street and so on and so forth.
Campbell: Obviously, Route 18 was a huge project. But the center of town, the parking, and all the questions, are still part of what's going on. But from the point of view of Johnson & Johnson, I think that whatever has been put into the community is a benefit to the community, but also is a return to J&J. I mean, I don't know if – another r person you might want to talk with is Curt Weeden. Has that name come up at all?
Berkhout: Curt Weeden.
Campbell: We had started – well, J&J always gave contributions out and so, but it was kind of an ad hoc kind of thing. And back in the 70's, it was formalized, and we set up a committee, and Curt Weeden was brought in from the outside as a consultant originally on it; that's what he did. And he then actually became a J&J employee and, oh, I don't know, about ten years ago, he left and started his own business again. But he was in on a lot of these things. But he wrote a book called, something like, Social Investing, the thrust of which is that corporations can do good through making philanthropy high up on our list, but also while doing good, can get a return from it. And I think that this is a great example of that, where you're just . . .
Listokin: And in fact, some of these projects have been, you know, the Hyatt is a profitable hotel.
Campbell: Yeah. Right.
Listokin: How transferable is what happened in New Brunswick to other urban areas?
Campbell: Not easy. I think, you know, you start with the fact that other urban areas don't necessarily have a corporation whose headquarters is in that town and who has a philosophy of – a credo philosophy – and is doing well enough in its own businesses to be able to partake – and then you also have Rutgers, which is a huge influence also in many ways people don't even know about. So, you start off with a couple of benefits that a lot of towns don't have. It's also manageable in size. I mean, you could stand up in the J&J tower and kind of look at the various edges of New Brunswick, so to speak, where, if you stand up in the Prudential Building or something in Newark, it's all over the place.
So, I think there's concepts that were used here that would be transferable, but I've also seen with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where we make grants to a lot of places, and every year, we go on a site visit, and I've been to some places where we've put a lot of money into it for different reasons, but they're just tough to get off the dime. I mean, you look at some of those places in California or wherever we have gone to, and others that --- it's tough. Also, the other factor is what I mentioned earlier about, I think you had a solid political structure here. I mean, politics is politics, but on the other hand, they did have a focus, and they wanted to cooperate and work with it. Whereas, if you go to Camden, where I think the last six mayors or something have been in prison ---
Campbell: I mean, it's tough. And they just have entrenched problems. But it's certainly worth towns coming in here and looking at it and saying, "Okay. What did they have that we don't have?" But on the other hand, what do we have, they don't? And how can we merge these things and . . .
Listokin: Of course, some of the commitment of individuals is – and the talent of individuals . . .
Campbell: Absolutely. Right. And that . . .
Listokin: And it's been mentioned to us that the fact that some key people live nearby . . .
Campbell: Yes. Um-hmm.
Listokin: And so – they would go back to church in New Brunswick. Do you think that was a factor . . .
Campbell: Yeah. Well, I think, as I said, it was a factor that John Heldrich and I and others had lived, if not in New Brunswick, in proximity, so that we were in here, and a lot of people did still go back to church in town and things of that type, and Ralph Voorhees and people like that, they – New Brunswick was their place, and a lot of them – there are more Rutgers grads at J&J than from any other college, and they have that connection too.
Campbell: Yeah. So that was another reason to be coming back. And I've heard from Rutgers grads who graduated in the 60's and haven't been back and suddenly come back for a reunion or something and they can't believe what New Brunswick looks like, with the change.
Campbell: So there was that draw, and even though people moved into suburbs, a lot of them were close by.
Listokin: Close by.
Campbell: I mean, in New Jersey, everything is – how long does it take you to get somewhere, not how far away are you?
Berkhout: Yeah, right. Right.
Listokin: The Turnpike . . .
Campbell: And so they still came in and . . .
Campbell: But I think that had, has, some influence on it.
Berkhout: We did have someone at the Bloustein School, Martin Robins, who used to be with NJ Transit and Port Authority, who did a feasibility study for a light rail system that would have gone from a little bit past Route 1 to 287.
Campbell: Yeah. I was familiar with that.
Berkhout: So now, they're, because of the high cost of that, they're still looking at a bus rapid transit system that would go through New Brunswick.
Campbell: Right. Yeah.
Berkhout: But the problem is, George Street is so narrow.
Campbell: I know. Yeah.
Berkhout: Neilson Street isn't the main street, but you know, I think it's still being worked on now, to see if . . .
Campbell: Mayor Cahill has a Mayor's Committee.
Campbell: And it's, well, from here, it's John and myself and heads of the hospitals and McCormick and J&J rep and such, and every once in a while, we meet and get an update on that, and we've had that presented to us at one time about that.
Berkhout: Oh, by Martin – right .
Campbell: Yeah. So . . .
Berkhout: Had it been done years ago, it wouldn't have cost as much.
Campbell: I know. Well.
Listokin: Well, we all have 20/20 hindsight.
Campbell: That's right. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. (laughter)
Listokin: You have been very kind in mentioning some people that we should contact. Any other names come to mind, or where there are documents we can look at? I guess you're certainly talking to the Foundation?
Berkhout: Right. Bill Walsh.
Campbell: Yeah, well, Bill Walsh would be a good rep from the Foundation, I think, and from the guts of a lot of little things that were going on, Gary Gorran would be good.
Berkhout: Now, where would we find him?
Campbell: We can – John Heldrich's secretary would have his phone number.
Berkhout: Oh, okay.
Campbell: He's in Florida most of the time, but he comes up quite a bit.
Campbell: And I know he'd love to talk about some of this.
Campbell: And of course, there's obviously Dick Sellars. But that's probably not too feasible with that at this point.
Campbell: Although he – I guess you've heard --- at one point, he put up his stock as his personal support for the theater district.
Berkhout: The State Theatre. Yeah.
Berkhout: Right. . . .
Campbell: And Jim Burke, unfortunately, has, I guess it's Alzheimer's starting, and not in good shape.
Berkhout: Is Curt Weeden somebody . . .?
Campbell: Curt Weeden, definitely. I can have my secretary can give Curt's phone number.
Berkhout: Yeah. That sounds interesting.
Campbell: Curt's good. He was in on the social side of it, and in fact, the day they first talked about the "Healthcare City" concept, it was he and Steve Schroeder who was then Head of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Hal Paz and they were having a meeting or something and that came up.
Listokin: Actually, I think someone mentioned that with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, of course, its focus is health, but it can also invest in New Brunswick, you know, on non-health-related . . .
Campbell: Yeah. What we do is – our solution was passed by the Board a number of years back, and basically, we said that whatever monies that the Foundation gives out each year, 3% of that will be directed toward New Brunswick and the Greater New Brunswick Area, which could be Princeton if – like they're building a new hospital.
Campbell: So, that has been a tremendous source of funding here in New Brunswick, and supporting well, like the Cancer Institute or the Child Health Institute, some of the things I mentioned before or also the Chandler Center and the two hospitals and even smaller things. I mean, there are smaller grants like Cerebral Palsy Association or things like that. So, that's amounted to, prior to the market turning down, (laughter) ---
Campbell: But you know, they put out – we've been giving out $300 million to $400 million a year. So, 3% of that, you know, is $9 million to $12 million a year that flows, and . . .
Listokin: So that 3% commitment is somewhat of a reflection of the credo.
Campbell: It is. Yes. Right. Even though the Foundation . . .
Listokin: Is that right?
Campbell: Even though the Foundation is, you know, entirely separate from the company, the philosophy pervades that, and if you go back to when the Foundation was set up and formalized and look at some of the things that went on at meetings and what have you, it's the same philosophy General Johnson had. On social issues, he was really ahead of his time on a lot of things.
Listokin: Anything we haven't covered that . . .
Campbell: I don't think so. I think – I've tried – I've made a few notes as we were – on my other sheet.
Listokin: But if something hits you at a later point in time, would you – we're easy to reach.
Campbell: Yeah. Right. Or vice versa. If you want to clarify something, let me know.
Listokin: Let me thank you for your time.
Campbell: You're welcome.
Listokin: Also, your many years of involvement.
Campbell: Well, still at it. (laughter)
Berkhout: That's great.
Listokin: It's the fact that you're here.
Campbell: Yeah. That's right.
Listokin: That tells you. Yeah.
Campbell: Well, J&J is, you know – the fact that they've furnished an office and support and everything . . .
Berkhout: Um-hmm. Yeah. That's great.
Campbell: Means you can do so much more.
Berkhout:: Right. Yeah.
Campbell: If you're trying to do something like this out of your house, it would have been impossible.
Campbell: So – but – because I've been active with Fordham too. So . . .
Berkhout: Oh, okay. That's great.
Listokin: Well, thank you.
Berkhout:: Yes. Thanks very much.
Campbell: Thank you. Thanks for doing this. I think it's going to be great.
Berkhout:: Yes. Well have . . .
Listokin: But we will share with you – there will be a written transcript that you'll get.
Listokin: And then we will get the audio . . -
[end of recording]