NJPAC Reveals $150M Development Project in Downtown Newark

“Contributing to the ongoing revitalization of Newark’s downtown has always been central to the Arts Center’s mission as the city’s anchor cultural institution,” said John Schreiber, NJPAC president and CEO. “This plan is a thoughtful, curated mix of residential buildings, retail environments and cultural resources. We want this new neighborhood to be an exciting place to live, as well as a uniquely engaging destination.”

“The redevelopment of NJPAC’s campus will be a game-changing step forward for the evolution of Newark’s downtown, creating an ideal live-work-play environment in the city’s heart — and making more affordable housing available for families of all kinds,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

The development, to be built on the Arts Center’s campus, will include a pedestrian-friendly extension of Mulberry Street, across what is now NJPAC’s Lot A parking area, connecting to Rector Street to the north. A simultaneous redesign of NJPAC’s Eastern facade will create a welcoming additional entryway to the Arts Center.

NJPAC partnered with developers Center Street Owners, led by L+M Development Partners, to undertake the project. Center Street Owners is an organization created to develop this new neighborhood around NJPAC. L+M has developed other sites in downtown Newark, including Walker House and the Hahne & Co. building. 

"We are proud to unveil the transformative plan for the Arts Center in collaboration with NJPAC, which will not only help to lift up the arts community in Newark, but also deliver much-needed mixed-income housing and opportunities for local businesses, retailers, and beloved New Jersey restaurants," said Ron Moelis, CEO and co-founder of L+M Development Partners. “This project is part of our longstanding investment in the revitalization of Newark and together with our public and private partners, we aim to continue addressing the critical needs of the city."

NJPAC is not financing any of the development. Instead, it's providing the guiding vision for the new district, as well as a ground lease for the project. NJPAC and Center Street Owners will be seeking financial support from the city and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The centerpiece of the new neighborhood will be a food hall called "Mulberry Market," which will include educational uses such as a teaching kitchen that provides community cooking classes. 

Celebrated architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, known for its work in creating technically and environmentally advanced buildings and public urban spaces around the globe, has been tabbed to design these new facets of NJPAC’s campus. 

With early conceptual inspiration and financial support from Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments, the Arts Center undertook master planning the redevelopment in 2019, working with RePlace Urban Studio, a multi-disciplinary urban design agency. 

The plan created by RePlace and the Arts Center ultimately coalesced into a single vision for NJPAC’s campus, having multiple streets and alleys criss-cross the downtown area, connecting busy thoroughfares and letting in light and air. The goal of the effort, officials said, is to integrate cultural assets throughout the Arts Center’s entire campus.

“This is a purpose-designed community that reintroduces a neighborhood fabric lost to mega-block development during the 1950s and 1960s,” said Schreiber. “We are adding streets back to the City where people can live, walk, shop and dine." 

“NJPAC has been a leader in the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Newark,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I am thrilled to see this next phase of development around one of New Jersey’s cultural linchpins, which will continue the tremendous progress being made in Newark while embracing its storied past.”

“With projects like Walker House and the Hahne & Co. Building, we’ve seen what a difference the influx of new residents and new businesses can make for Newark’s neighborhoods," added Assemblywoman Eliana Pinto Marin (D-Essex). "This expansion of the Arts Center’s campus will contribute to the reactivation of the city’s streets, and offer Newarkers an affordable and welcoming new place to call home." 

The development is scheduled to break ground in 2022, with completion in 2024. 

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-06-30 03:30:49 -0700