Fifty-Five Union in Newark earns Fitwel certification; 1st residential building in city to receive designation

Newark-based developer J&L Cos. recently announced that Fifty-Five Union, a new luxury rental building in Newark’s historic Ironbound district, was officially named a Fitwel-certified building. This recognition marks Fifty-Five Union as the first residential building in Newark to receive the certification, a testament to the developer’s commitment to the health and wellness of its residents.

Fitwel’s certifying body, the Center for Active Design, designated Fifty-Five Union in a Dec. 5 announcement, stating that Fifty-Five Union had met the rigorous, evidence-based design and operation standards that promote the physical, mental and social well-being of its occupants.

The property excelled in the metrics CfAD has created with a healthier future in mind, including natural light in residences and communal areas, access to over 20,000 square feet of outdoor space, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, enhanced indoor air quality, use of safe and eco-friendly cleaning products and equipment, a water safety and management program, thermal and acoustic comfort, enhanced emergency communications plans and walkability.

J&L Cos., committed to creating a premier residential community in Newark, actively pursued Fitwel certification over the past two years. A comprehensive sustainability and wellness plan featuring eco-friendly elements set lofty standards for the resident experience, aligning seamlessly with the Fitwel certification goal.

Noteworthy building elements designed with resident well-being in mind include:
a living green wall in the lobby; sustainable green roof; water and safety management programs; access to clean water refill stations; Energy Star-rated appliances in each residence; electric vehicle charging stations; hybrid heat pumps; comprehensive emergency preparedness plan; energy recovery ventilation; and indoor air quality.

Fifty-Five Union’s innovations align with the city of Newark’s Sustainability Action Plan to foster both environmental well-being and resident wellness within the built environment.

“The Newark360 Master Plan and new zoning and land use regulations that implement it prioritize future development that is healthy and sustainable, adds to open space and walkability, and provides green roofs,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. “Even before the passage of Newark360, Fifty-Five Union was designed to touch all of these environmental bases and more. I congratulate J&L on receiving its well-deserved Fitwel certification.”

“Fifty-Five Union is a visionary building. It captures the essence of the Newark Sustainability Action Plan with all of its environmental, health and open space innovations,” Deputy Mayor and Director of Economic and Housing Development Allison Ladd said. “Its forward-looking design included a green roof even before the city started requiring some buildings to have them. J&L created a Fitwel-certification masterpiece.”

A collaborative effort of renowned professionals, including MEP Engineer VanPraet/Weisgerber Turnkey Engineering, Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, Landscape Designer Arterial, Kelly Mac of Interiorscapes, A&L Landscaping and Greenspot, ensured that resident well-being remained the central focus throughout the design and construction process. Notable subcontractors, such as Haddad Plumbing, Air Group and MDC Electrical, also played vital roles in achieving Fitwel certification.

“Achieving Fitwel certification demonstrates our commitment to enhancing resident health, safety and care at Fifty-Five Union, setting a new standard for meaningful real estate development and management in Newark. We believe there can and should be access to green spaces and outdoor escapes for residents in our beloved Brick City. We are thrilled to be setting the standard as the first residential building in the city to receive this prestigious designation and look forward to welcoming even more residents who want to be a part of this vibrant community,” Gabriel Lopez, J&L Cos. vice president, said.

Brenda Sanchez, J&L Cos. director of operations, spearheaded J&L’s application and submission.

“We worked hard to implement environmental and wellness best practices at Fifty-Five Union, maximizing the positive impact on our residents and business while ensuring the highest quality experience for our wonderful community,” she said. “We are so proud and honored to receive this recognition.”

Located at 55 Union St., Fifty-Five Union offers 403 brand-new studio, one- and two-bedroom residences. The property, now leasing, situates residents just steps from Newark Penn Station, downtown Newark’s entertainment landmarks and the Ironbound’s main shopping, dining and cultural artery: Ferry Street. Boasting 3,078 square feet of ground-floor retail space, Fifty-Five Union ensures a vibrant and connected living experience.