$90M Aspire credit approved for 14-story (350-unit) mixed-use building near Broad Street Station in Newark

A new 14-story, 350-unit mixed-use building located in Newark across the street from the Broad Street Station for New Jersey Transit has been approved by the board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for $90 million in tax credits through the Aspire program, it was announced Wednesday.

The award represents 60% of the eligible project costs of $150 million. The building is located at 81-93 Orange St.

The applicant, an affiliate of Bolton Development, is represented by attorney Chris J. Murphy of Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP.

Aspire is a place-based economic development program created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 to support mixed-use, transit-oriented development with tax credits to commercial and residential real estate development projects that have financing gaps. All residential Aspire projects must include at least 20% affordable housing.

To date, the EDA board has now approved a total of $273.9 million in Aspire awards for residential projects, creating 1,368 housing units — 898, or 60%, of which will be affordable. In Newark, three residential projects have been approved for Aspire awards, creating 626 units, of which 206 will be affordable.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the program is working as intended.

“The Aspire Program aims to expand housing options, increase affordability and create stronger communities,” he said. “Transit-oriented development is an integral part of Gov. (Phil) Murphy’s mission to revitalize neighborhoods and is a key focus of the Aspire Program.

“The proximity of today’s project to NJ Transit’s Broad Street Station and the city’s downtown makes it ideal for families, commuters and students and will help create a more prosperous Newark.”

The 14-story high-rise, which will replace a surface parking lot, will be comprised of 350 residential units, 8,500 square feet of retail space and a commercial parking garage. The units will be a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Seventy units will be reserved as affordable units, while the remaining will be market-rate.

Residents of 81-93 Orange St. will be able to enjoy a pool, health club, spa, work-from-home space and electric vehicle charging stations. The project is strategically located across the street from Newark’s Broad Street Station, giving residents access to NJ Transit train and bus service and the Newark Light Rail.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka obviously is thrilled.

“This Aspire award helps realize Newark’s Transit Village strategy for building mixed-use developments combining high-quality affordable and market housing with retail and commercial space,” he said. “The Broad Street Station will anchor a vibrant neighborhood and vital transportation hub.

“This is the kind of project that helps realize the dreams of residents to remain in the city they love, and improve their quality of life. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s $90 million in tax credits is critical to making this development affordable to Newark residents. All of Newark is grateful for NJEDA’s commitment to our city’s well-being and growth.”

Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) was happy, too.

“When we created the Aspire Program, it was with the intention of facilitating greater investment in our communities and breathing new life into underutilized spaces,” she said. “This project will do just that, taking a parking lot and using it to spur economic development. The site will still offer parking, but will also help with housing shortages, providing market-rate and affordable units, in addition to retail space, all within walking distance to a major transit station.”