New neighborhood for Newark: What they’re saying

Inspired by Newark’s historic streetscape and the example of some of the world’s most desirable and vibrant urban neighborhoods, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center announced Monday plans to create a human-scaled neighborhood adjacent to the Arts Center.

The $150 million development, the next phase of the Arts Center’s master plan for its 7.3-acre campus, intends to offer a blend of single-family homes and townhomes for purchase (approximately 15), and more than 300 new residential rental units in two midrise buildings (six stories) and a high-rise, mixed-use rental building (20 stories), NJPAC officials said.

There also are plans to create ground-level arts and food-related businesses, including Mulberry Market, a food hall being created with celebrity chef and entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson. And the project eventually will include the Cooperman Family Arts Education and Community Center on Center Street, bringing arts education to the Arts Center’s front yard.

All of this will found be on short, narrow, walkable streets, including a pedestrian-friendly extension of Mulberry Street across what is now NJPAC’s Lot A parking area.

A new entity, Center Street Owners, led by L+M Development Partners and architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has been hired to develop, design and build the area. Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments is a partner in the project, as well.

Here’s what the top elected officials and those taking part in the creation of the neighborhood are saying:

  • NJPAC CEO John Schreiber: “This is a purpose-designed community that reintroduces a neighborhood fabric lost to megablock development during the 1950s and 1960s. We are adding streets back to the city where people can live, walk, shop and dine.”
  • Newark Mayor Ras Baraka: “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.”
  • Lata Reddy, senior vice president, Prudential Inclusive Solutions: “This thoughtful expansion of NJPAC’s arts and education district will further enliven the streets of Newark, with an array of offerings to engage residents and visitors alike. The arts and NJPAC are already a critical driver of growth, and these exciting additions will further our shared goal of making Newark a destination city.”
  • Ron Moelis, co-founder and CEO of L+M Development Partners: “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. 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.”
  • Steven Goldman, co-chair of NJPAC’s board of directors: “Newark’s development over the past several years has been a remarkable success story, and this project will amplify that success. The addition of new homes, new businesses and new places for visitors and residents to explore will bring even greater excitement to Newark’s streets. This is the kind of impact that Gov. (Tom) Kean envisioned when he first proposed NJPAC decades ago. It’s inspiring to see that vision brought to life so fully.”
  • Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark): “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. 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.”
  • U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.): “This exciting venture will help further transform downtown Newark into a livable, walkable community where people can work, live and play. It leverages the neighborhood’s prime location, center for arts, culture and education, and access to mass transit. The new shops, restaurants, mixed housing, including about 70 affordable units, all anchored by a grand market, will make the area an attractive destination for residents and visitors alike.”
  • Gov. Phil Murphy: “NJPAC has been a leader in the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Newark. 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.”