The Newark’s Master Plan was a community effort based initiative that is being implemented as we speak. Based largely on the notion of sustainable living, the idea is coming to fruition everywhere you look. Real estate development in Newark is bountiful, yet few outside of the City can discern exactly what is what. The information must become readily available, and Glocally doesn’t mind taking the lead on this front.
It is a few minutes before noon, and Newark’s City Hall is buzzing with people moving in a combination speed walk and skip gait to their destinations. Everyone says hello, although at first you can’t quite ascertain what is being blurted at you. Jack has accompanied me today, and he takes the time to stop and say hello to dozens of city employees. With a few colleagues already in politics, I recognize the interaction and scan the room for any baby kissing photo opportunities.
City Hall is undergoing its own mini-makeover, making the overall appearance symbolically apropos. We arrive at the office of Housing and Real Estate, and prepare to meet with the department’s director, Michael Meyer. Making our way into a small conference room, the conversation begins with rebranding the housing typology in and about the city. Mr. Meyer described the need for “increased access to healthy affordable foods,” and the necessity for “bustling retail activity in commercial corridors.” There was a slue of projects mentioned, but the following are some of the highlighted ones that are sure to uplift the city into a major hub for living, working, shopping and entertainment:
Greek Village: An $80 million project that plans to facilitate the move of several fraternities and sororities onto NJIT’s campus. The plan provides for five three-story duplexes for Greek housing and a six-story Honors College building for dorms, combination retail and office space, a fitness center and a dining facility.
Springfield Avenue Marketplace: A 164 market-rate apartment and 100,000 square feet of retail project under construction on Springfield Avenue in Newark. Tucker Development Corporation has recently submitted their application for state funding. Rumors include a Wal-Mart opening on the site.
Baxter Park: The $130 million project will feature approximately 300 units, retail space and parkland to the Central Ward.
Rector Street Project: Not yet confirmed, but it looks like Shaquille O’Neal and his group is looking to develop housing units at the old Science High location.
One Theater Square: Dranoff Properties will develop a 44-story, mixed-use project located adjacent to New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
New Home of Prudential X2: Located on Broad Street, and across from Military Park, Pru has slated the building of two new offices to call home.
Cablevision’s New Headquarters: Cablevision is rumored to look to move its headquarters to the old Lincoln Motel site.
Former IDT Building to be marketed for student rentals: This conversion from office building to housing will see up to 300 units constructed.
Mr. Meyer also voiced Newark’s wantonness to recreate Ferry Street on Springfield, Clinton and Bloomfield Avenues. The mayor’s ability to raise $100 million for park improvements also lends itself to the overall ideology; namely, getting people to realize that Newark is and will be more than just a work and go home kind of town.
The city is alive, and can truly embrace its sobriquet as the Renaissance City.