Who needs Amazon? Newark’s got $4B in development coming, and is looking for someone to guide it.

Updated Feb 20, 2019

With more than $4 billion of planned development in queue -- including housing by Shaquille O’Neal and Queen Latifah -- Newark officials will conduct a national search for a new leader to oversee economic growth in the city.

John Palmieri, Newark’s Director of Economic and Housing Development for the last six months, will retire in March to focus on family and personal issues, officials announced Wednesday.

Palmieri was first hired last year as the Deputy Mayor for economic growth, transportation and infrastructure and later, additionally took over the development department.

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Couple's Vision Brings Art, Expression to Newark's West Ward

(L to R): Emma Wilcox, Laura Bonas-Palmer, Pamela Daniels, Jeremy Johnson and Kaishon Way stand together during the opening night of an exhibit at "Akwaaba," an art gallery in Newark's West Ward.

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NEWARK, NJ - When Laura Bonas-Palmer and her husband bought 509-511 South Orange Ave. in 2016, she knew immediately knew what the ground floor would be used for: an art gallery.

Friday night was the opening reception for that gallery’s first art exhibit. And residents, passerby and those in the art community took notice. After all, many couldn’t even recall the last time they had seen another art gallery in the West Ward.

"It's all Downtown," Bonas-Palmer said, as she stood inside her art gallery, beaming at the large turnout during opening night. Attendees could barely walk around each other to see the vibrant artwork, mostly created by Newark residents.

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N.J. principal has been on ‘Ellen’ and is getting love from Sen. Booker, all thanks to washing machines

Updated Feb 14, 2019

West Side High School Principal Akbar Cook doesn’t check his Twitter account much.

But he took a look this week when someone made a negative comment about the washing machines he had installed at his school in Newark to deal with the bullying of kids who weren’t able to wash their school uniforms at home.

Unfazed by the comment, Cook continued to read previous Twitter messages and was stunned to a see a post from Sen. Cory Booker, who praised his actions and tagged him as a Black History Month figure.

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City sold property for $1. Now it wants to rent it back for $27M.

Posted Feb 13, 2019

Less than two years after Newark sold a piece of property for $1 to its parking authority, city officials are pushing a deal to lease it back.

The total cost for the city: More than $27 million over 30 years.

The Newark Parking Authority plans to develop the land on 43-67 Green Street into a five-story parking deck with administrative offices and retail space. The city would then rent storage space for its municipal court, relocate its finance department there and get 258 parking spots for use during business hours.

But the proposal is befuddling some members of the city council, who say Newark should have kept the prime real estate and developed it on its own. The lot, currently providing parking for city employees, is steps from City Hall and the Prudential Center

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Want to Airbnb your home in this city? You’ll have to ask all your neighbors first.

Posted Feb 7, 2019

Newark is considering clamping down on home rental services like Airbnb, in a move officials say will help regulate the growing industry and allow the city to cash in on the profits.

A group of proposed ordinances will require homeowners to collect the signatures of everyone on their block in order to apply for a $300 annual permit that allows short-term rentals (28 days or less). The names and ages of all guests must also be provided to the city. Only homeowners will be permitted to participate.

“People are operating Airbnbs in the city, unregulated as far as we’re concerned,” said Kenyatta Stewart, the city’s corporation counsel. “If there’s an incident that happens, the city needs to have a sense of what’s going on."

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Newark Parking Authority Enters into Lease Agreement for Massive Parking Deck Near Prudential Center

The surface parking lot at 47-73 Green St. (left) will soon be home to a new parking deck. The 515-space garage will be about one block over from the Prudential Center.
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NEWARK, NJ - City council hesitantly entered into a lease agreement last week with the Newark Parking Authority that will push forward the creation of a massive 515-space parking deck near the Prudential arena.

The city entered into a redevelopment agreement with the parking authority in 2017. The agreement called for the agency to construct a six-story, mixed-use office building with ground floor retail space and a 515-space parking deck at 47-73 Green St. There property is currently used as a surface parking lot for city employees. 

City employees during regular Monday-Friday business hours would have access to 258 parking spots in the deck, which is located behind city hall and about a block away from the Prudential Center. The parking garage would then be open to the public for a fee. The parking authority did not respond to a request for comment seeking how much the rates would be for the public, especially during Devils games. 

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Rutgers-Newark Receives $1.5M Grant to Create Scholarships for Humanities Students

The Rutgers - Newark Honors Living-Learning Community received the three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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Newark, NJ - A Rutgers University - Newark program aimed at cultivating overlooked talent has received a $1.5 million grant to help students get their undergraduate degrees in the humanities.

The Rutgers -Newark Honors Living-Learning Community program received the three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which works to protect the humanities and arts. The grant will be used to create a new Clement A. Price Humanities Scholars Program that will accept students in fall 2019.

Rutgers- Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said the humanities help people to better understand the past and present, which she says is important at “a time when divisions among us appear to be growing and hardening.”

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Newark Wants to Teach Children About Water Treatment

The classes will be held at the Pequannock Watershed in West Milford.
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NEWARK, NJ - Middle and high school students will get a hands-on opportunity to learn about water infrastructure and treatment at the Newark Pequannock Watershed.

The program is part of the city’s Department of Water and Sewer Utilities' watershed management plan. Students who graduate from the program will be eligible for paid internships with the city’s water department.

Department of Water and Sewer Utilities Acting Director Kareem Adeem said the program is academically progressive and socially empowering.

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‘Zero student achievement’ at Newark schools backed by Facebook money

Posted Jan 16, 2019

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: chalkbeat.org/newsletter.

Three years ago, Newark unveiled a high-profile experiment: Rather than close low-performing schools in the city’s impoverished South Ward, the district would try to revive them with an infusion of extra services and staffers.

It was a major victory for Mayor Ras Baraka, who convinced the district’s state-appointed superintendent to devote $10 million in private funds to the effort, and for local activists and teachers unions who had long endorsed this “community-school” approach — transforming schools into service-rich hubs able to treat the many ailments, from hunger to asthma to mental-health crises, that can impede some students’ learning.

Now, with the program still in its infancy, Newark’s new superintendent — a homegrown educator who is close to the mayor, the union, and those same activists — is declaring it a failure.

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Century-old Properties in Newark's 'Billion Dollar Triangle' to Get Face Lift

NEWARK, NJ - A developer who has renovated several properties in Newark announced new plans for an adaptive reuse project in the city’s Downtown.

Paramount Assets purchased two properties at 30-32 and 36-40 Clinton Street that will add to the city’s “Billion Dollar Triangle,” an area that is surrounded by Newark Penn Station, the Prudential Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Both buildings will be updated as mixed-use residential spaces with new interior spaces, including upgrades to the entrance, lobbies and elevators.

“The premier location of these properties made them very attractive to us,” said Richard Dunn, senior vice president of Paramount Assets. “30-32 Clinton Street and 36-40 Clinton Street meet all the necessary criteria for creating today’s successful adaptive reuse projects.  We saw this as an excellent opportunity to reposition two historically significant assets to the benefit of both the City and residents alike.”

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