On February 21, 1861, on the steps of the South Park Presbyterian Church, Abraham Lincoln spoke a few poignant words to the citizens from the City of Newark that still resonant today:
“With my own ability I cannot succeed, without the sustenance of Divine Providence, and of this great, free, happy, and intelligent people. Without these I cannot hope to succeed, without them I cannot fail.”
Yesterday, in a heated tent in Rock Plaza, Mayor Cory A. Booker spoke of the 16th President of the United States and his brief visit to Newark. Mr. Booker described that today was not only a day of substantive importance, but of “symbolic importance.” It is upon the latter’s tenet that the Rock Plaza Lofts officially launched The Columbian Luxury Loft Apartments project with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Led by Marc Berson of Fidelco Group and Hanini Group, the official unveiling of The Columbian is part of a seven historic building restoration project located on Market Street and Edison Place. The total project boasts 35,000 square feet in retail space, and over 80 housing units. The Columbian has twenty-two units ranging from $1,000.00 to $2,400.00 a month. Twenty percent of the units have been set aside for affordable housing, and the spaces range from studios to three bedroom apartments.
Director of Economic and Housing Development, Adam Zipkin, described the project as a continuum of sustainable change in the City. After an ode to The Rolling Stones, who will be playing the Prudential Center next month on two separate nights, the conversation turned to the mayor’s vision. With already launched projects like the Packard Lofts, the Richardson Lofts, the Elbow Room, the Courtyard Marriott, and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Newark is already moving towards a downtown that is shifting from a nine-to-five locale to a bustling new niche neighborhood.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. described the New Newark as no longer a ground level endeavor, but more so at the mezzanine level with its eyes on the Penthouse. Along with the aforementioned launches, other projects currently in construction point directly towards the County Executive’s belief, including; the Indigo Hotel, and Panasonic’s new North American Headquarters. The mayor also alluded to a possible Whole Foods franchise moving into the City.
In 1861, Abraham Lincoln spoke to the City of Newark about moving forward together. Newark’s leadership has certainly taken a cue from the man who overlooks the city from atop Market Street.