The second and final phase of RockPlaza Lofts development project is soon to be completed, developers said.
Fidelco Realty Group and Hanini Group executives joined Newark Mayor Luis Quintana, and the Mayor elect Ras Baraka state and city officials and community leaders to celebrate the opening of the newest phase of RockPlaza Lofts, a $38 million multi-property redevelopment on Market Street bringing a new mix of rental apartments, convenience and specialty retail, galleries, and a series of restaurants to Newark’s historic downtown adjacent to the Prudential Center.
The Deputy Major, Dan Jennings, applauded the developer for their successful funding of the project. he said, ” Its very difficult to get the development of downtown living off the ground and equally or more challenging to finance, so we want to thanks the finance community, for the New Market Tax Credit financing, New Jersey Economic Development Agency (NJEDA) New Jersey Smart Growth Grant , Citi-bank for debt and equity financing to the project. He further stated,some had doubted the viability of living in the downtown of Newark was even feasible. Well this second phase is a testament that the people are here and are interested in living downtown.
This phase of the project is marked by the opening of 48 loft style apartments at the six-story Madison Building, located at 216-218 Market Street, and the near-term opening of several new retailers including the first Newark location of the national eatery Chipotle Mexican Grill.
In addition to Chipotle, which is anticipated to open before the end of June, other new retailers include Krauszer’s Food Stores, a convenience grocery store with locations throughout the Northeast; Mercato Tomato Pie, an independent restaurant-pizzeria featuring traditional coal-fired pizza; and Novelty Burger & Bar, a throwback to the 1950s diner and drive-ins featuring burgers, hot dogs, shakes and a full bar.
Steven Kern the new Director and Chief Executive Officer. Kern, who prior position as Executive Director of the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, now takes the helm of the 105-year-old institution, remarked about his impression of Newark, and being Rock Plaza Loft’s newest tenant. for the past two decades of her 40-year tenure, taking it to national prominence. After accepting the job at the Museum there was only one option for us to live in Newark. We believe, in living where you work and investing in the community. So that got us looking into the downtown, here in Newark. The other reality was, we were downsizing from 5,000 square foot house, to about 1,500 square feet, and it accessibility to everywhere we want to go. Not just building residence but building communities and revitalizing neighborhoods. And feet on sidewalks, From Halsey Street to the Ironbound Newark is the place to be. We celebrate our new adopted city, a heathy downtown create a healthy Newark.
“Today’s milestone is a fulfillment of the promise that the Prudential Center brought as a catalyst for further development when it opened in 2007. Residents of RockPlaza Lofts are thriving, and the mix of retailers – including Newark’s first Chipotle and the convenience retail store Krauszer’s – have elevated Market Street as a desired home for residents and businesses,” said Marc E. Berson, chairman of Fidelco Realty Group.
“We are glad to be part of a project that is helping transform downtown. The restoration of these buildings not only adds life to downtown Newark but it also helps display the beauty of Newark’s historical architecture. The Rock Plaza Lofts have successfully set the standard for modern and luxury city living in downtown Newark. With national brands such as Chipotle and Krauszer’s Food Stores opening their doors, the continued signal is sent that Newark continues the rise to its original grandeur.” said Samer Hanini, Principal of Hanini Group.
“RockPlaza is a critical part of our efforts to re-energize our historic downtown,” said Mayor Quintana. “This $38 million development is bringing new market-rate housing, shopping, national chainstores, and galleries to downtown Newark, which in turn create jobs, economic opportunities, and tourism. I am proud of how our Economic Development team partnered with Fidelco and Hanini to empower our City’s downtown core.”
In viewing the apartment and common areas, the architect assembled a stunning apdated reuse of historic building, smoothly blending old with new. The apartment had a open floor plan layout, with high ceiling and exposing venting system, as an added architectural feature. Plaster artisan designed exposure brick surround the entry door of the apartment.
The redevelopment maintains many of the historic elements of the building, it lollie columns, Iron beam, exposed brick, combine with new amenities of marble and glass created a sophisticated balance modern day living with a historic building telling its story. The unit sizes range from studios to three bedrooms. However the rental price is based on square feet, the apartments we viewed were a 1 bedroom apartment 900 square feet for 1,600, and 1000 square foot studio for 1,800. We were also told there were some affordable units, however, we didn’t view these apartments and hand do not know their availability.
The retail looks to be almost complete, so Glocally will follow-up in the coming weeks to report about their openings.