“Location, location, location” is the mantra of many urban dwellers – and why not? Major cities have unparalleled access to quality residential living space in close proximity to a plethora of commercial business centers boasting a host of job opportunities, a multitude of mass transit options, and second-to-none cultural amenities, such as museums, concert and sports team venues. In addition, a nearby walk yields retail and professional offices/services as well as gastronomic indulgences ranging from fine dining to barista-staffed coffee shops, to name a few perks.
Hallock comments that, “Newark checks all of the boxes for today’s strong and vibrant cities.” In addition to the aforementioned accolades, he points to nearby access to Newark Liberty International Airport, access to all major highways, being home to the East Coast’s busiest seaport complex, and bragging rights to the worlds-fastest internet; as well as a highly-talented workforce, including a higher education community of more than 50,000 people adding to the already expanding population. For this reason, it is no surprise that the residential building business, is in a word, “booming!”
“There are literally thousands of residential units under construction and in the pipeline,” says Aisha Glover, president & CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark CEDC).
These projects include the recently completed Hahne & Co. redevelopment, consisting of 160 residential units, of which 40 percent are income restricted. This mixed-use site also includes Whole Foods, PetCo, and Barnes & Noble, to name a few establishments.
It is important to note that in many of these cases, “rebuilding and adapting existing structures to new uses and new lives is a complex undertaking, underpinned by existing conditions on one side, and the radically evolving needs of modern users on the other,” states William Kimmerle, AIA, NCARB, a principal of Kimmerle Group, Harding, and its counterpart Kimmerle’s Urban Design & Planning Studio, New York, NY.
Currently under construction in Newark are numerous new and adaptive reuse residential projects, including One Theater Square (245 units), One Riverview (169 units) and the NJ Bell Building (263 units). In the Ironbound section, additional projects are Textile Lofts (67 units) and Monroe Lofts (54 units). The South Ward also has an exciting project being led by Newark CEDC at 505 Clinton Avenue, consisting of 27 affordable units designed to anchor an emerging artists’ enclave there.
“Whether buildings were built a century ago or only decades in the past, they present conditions and constraints which can challenge current programs,” Kimmerle notes. “As trends in residential and commercial uses are dramatically evolving from the times in which older structures were built, the incorporation of elements like sunlit interior spaces, outdoor amenities, and flexible open plans can prove to be difficult, but are an absolute worthwhile undertaking.”
Another significant mixed-use development project underway in Newark is Riverfront Square at the site of the former Newark Bears Stadium. Being handled by Lotus Equity Group, LLC, The Bears Stadium site is comprised of approximately 7.65 acres and calls for the development of approximately 2.3 million square feet of residential, office, retail and cultural space. Included in this is an 11-story, 500,000-square-foot timber tower. The new development will be less than 500 feet from the NJ Transit Broad Street station from which Midtown Manhattan may be reached in less than 20 minutes.
Large numbers of residential units have and continue to be in demand in Newark, with that demand likely to increase now that the city has been named to the “short list” of potential destinations by Amazon, the world-renowned e-commerce powerhouse. The list is comprised of 20 finalists, which are pretty good odds for Newark considering that number was condensed from some 238 proposals Amazon received from cities across the nation. It is expected that the opportunity for 50,000 jobs being added to the rolls would come along with that possible relocation.
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