Newark is looking for investors and it's targeting China

By Karen Yi | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on January 19, 2017

NEWARK -- City leaders are looking abroad in search of new cash that will propel future growth and development in Newark.

And that means courting the Chinese.

Mayor Ras Baraka released a video this month touting Newark's potential for new investment and its proximity to New York City -- complete with Chinese subtitles. 

"We invite you to grow your business, to grow your opportunities right here in the city and be the first one on the ground to be a part of city that right now has $2 billion worth of development going on," Baraka said in the video, which was played during a U.S. investment forum for Chinese investors and uploaded to YouTube. "New stores are opening up in this city as you're watching this right now."

Newark leaders are casting a wide net for foreign investment as part of its push to position the city as a center for commerce and growth -- one that will ensure its residents reap the benefits.

"We're a gateway so (Baraka) wants to open up these relationships and let them know: Newark is open for business," said Carmelo Garcia, executive vice president and chief real estate officer for the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, a group that develop businesses in the city. "We want them to know that we're accommodating and make them a part of the fabric of Newark."

He said Newark is looking to foreign investment because "the city may not have the funding or the capacity to do certain projects."

The city is considering measures to safeguard local residents so they're prioritized in new housing or job openings. An ordinance before the city council this week would require developments with more than 30 housing units to set aside 20 percent as affordable. 

"An important part of our strategy to create jobs for Newark residents is attracting new investment here," Baraka said in a statement. "With our rapid development of new offices, housing, and commercial space, our international airport, our port, proximity to New York City and the fastest Internet speeds, foreign investors become excited when they learn about Newark."

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