Officials laud new privately funded housing on former Newark factory site

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on June 09, 2015

 

NEWARK — Developers were joined by local dignitaries and others this afternoon as they celebrated the opening of the city's latest real estate development in the city's North Ward.

The project, dubbed "Enchanted Village" has begun putting 25 new three-family homes on the site of the former Newark Wire Cloth Co. on Verona Avenue, across from the new Park Elementary School.

Financed entirely by Jombal LLC, a partnership between local developers Manny Rosa, Joseph Norbe and Adelino Pereira, the $12 million project is believed to be the first undertaking of its kind to take shape in Newark without tax credits or other public sector assistance in decades.

"This is all self-funded. We don't have any banks here whatsoever," said Rosa.

Originally approved by the city's Planning Board in 2006, the project was meant to rehabilitate the site of the former factory, which opened in 1911 and employed thousands of Newarkers making sieves, wire mesh and other products, until Newark Wire Cloth Co. relocated to Clifton.

But progress was slowed significantly during the housing market crash that took hold a year later. Part of the project was also delayed in order to allow Joey's Fine Foods, which maintained its headquarters alongside Newark Wire Cloth Co. on the property, to relocate.

"We've paid over $1 million in taxes over the last 10 years," said Rosa. "It's been a long effort in carrying this stuff."

A total of 19 multi-family homes have now been completed, 10 of which are already sold. The first to come off the market fetched around $475,000 each, according to Rosa, though more recent sales have been more in the area of $575,000.

The last of the 25 Victorian-style buildings are expected to be complete by spring 2016, after which Rosa and his partners hope to present plans for a building that will include 48 to 54 luxury rental units with views of Branch Brook Park.

The project is the latest sign of progress in what city officials have heralded as a new era of development for Newark, including the recent groundbreaking on a mixed-use building that will include a Whole Foods supermarket, and the opening of hotels and luxury loft apartments downtown.

Among the officials in attendance at the ceremony was North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, who said the development could provide a model for the dozens of derelict former factories and warehouses that dot neighborhoods around the city.

"This is a great example of what we can do to old industrial areas in our city and convert them into quality living spaces," he said.

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