Politico asks if Newark is the next Brooklyn

Is Newark the Next Brooklyn?

Politico looks into recent real estate developments downtown, focusing on the core along Halsey Street and Teachers Village.

Reporting on the development plans by developer Ron Beit gives a glimpse into what the city might look like a couple of years from now.

The 79 parcels include eight lots, or four acres, for Teachers Village, but are also part of a larger plan Beit calls SoMa, for South of Market Street. All told, the SoMa properties encompass 23 acres.

His “Four Corners” project hopes to add an additional 130 hotel rooms, 705 residential units and approximately 275,000 additional square feet of office and retail space on Newark’s historic Broad and Market intersection, which was once the epicenter of city’s robust shopping district. That project could cost over $400 million.

Beit’s “Makers Village” is slated to bring indoor, aeroponic farms to a three-acre industrial site in the Ironbound district. The funding for the Makers Village project was announced in early March; demolition has begun at the site and RBH is preparing the design phase of the Four Corners project now.

The more I read this article, though, the less I liked it. It ticked all the right boxes—citing a prominent Newark historian (the late Dr. Clem Price) and a successful tech entrepreneur (Audible CEO Don Katz), for example.

But nuanced issues like crime and the impact of downtown development on Newarkers are painted with a broad brush, a backdrop to the breathless real estate investment narrative.

Parts of the article even made Beit and investor Berggruen sound a bit like they’re carpetbagging.

The first person Beit convinced to invest in that doughnut hole was financier Warren Lichtenstein and his firm, Steel Partners of New York City. Lichtenstein introduced Beit to Berggruen and the two went for a drive through Newark on a Sunday afternoon in 2005. Berggruen basically said “buy it all.” “He immediately got it,” Beit says.

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

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