Newark Museum of Art to construct $85M Museum Parc cultural hub

The Newark Museum of Art last week announced it will construct Museum Parc, a mixed-use commercial/residential project that will propel the museum’s vision of creating a walkable, cultural hub in downtown Newark.

The proposed construction will include an additional 4,000-square-foot art and program gallery for the museum, new outdoor amenities, a more visible sculpture garden, renovations for the education wing and 250 residential units, along with retail and dining space.

The projected budget for the project is $85 million, with $80 million funded through a partnership with the socially conscious project developers, L+M Development Partners, and the innovative architectural firm, KSS Architects. When completed, Museum Parc will serve as an essential catalyst for new investment in Newark.

“Our goal is to deliver to the city, state and region a new cultural hub, with the Newark Museum of Art front and center,” Linda Harrison, director and CEO of the Newark Museum of Art, said in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled to share the early steps of how we are significantly increasing our presence and impact throughout the state. This project leverages our potential to enhance the viability of the arts for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.”

Museum Parc is the cornerstone of the institution’s three-year vision plan to reimagine current museum assets and become the premier destination for arts and culture throughout the region. The project could be completed as early as 2024, and will include 50 units of affordable housing in its residential inventory.

“As a cultural anchor in the city for over 100 years, I am proud to see the museum deepen their investment in Newark and further raise the profile of the city as an art and cultural destination where people can live and experience world-class art,” Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said. “This proposed project demonstrates the museum’s commitment to growing their footprint, notable at a time when cultural institutions are scaling back due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Museum Parc’s first building will be six stories and consist of a new gallery for the museum and the first 90 apartment units. The new space represents an extension of the museum’s existing contemporary galleries, with a new street-level facility for both contemporary exhibitions and public programming. This will allow for more flexibility to present contemporary works in combination with the museum’s robust schedule of community events. The second building, currently slated to be 12 stories, will contain an additional 160 apartments and 2,400 square feet of retail space. In addition, plenty of amenity space is planned for each building.

“Museum Parc is another great component which will contribute to the existing landscape of arts and culture that’s embedded into the fabric of our city. In addition, the integration of residential units maximizes an existing space and reimagines it for long term use,” state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) said. “Mixed-use projects, like the one proposed here, are becoming increasingly popular and add a whole new dimension to local communities and the lifestyle and daily living in urban centers like Newark. I commend the new vision of the Newark Museum of Art for taking a leadership role in urban design for the largest city in the state.”