The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) board announced last week it approved tax credits for a transit-oriented housing development in Newark, marking the third project based in the state’s largest city approved for Aspire Program awards.
The new mixed-use, 14-story building on Orange Street, located across from NJ Transit’s Broad Street Station, was approved for up to $90 million in tax credits — about 60% of the eligible project price tag of $150 million.
Aspire was created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA) to support mixed-use, transit-oriented developments with tax credits to commercial and residential real estate projects that have financing gaps. Under the program, all residential projects must include at least 20% affordable housing.
NJEDA officials say that, to date, its board has approved a total of $273.9 million in Aspire awards for residential projects, creating 1,368 housing units including, 898 affordable. Altogether, the three approved Newark residential projects will create some 626 units, of which 206 will be affordable.
The latest high-rise will include 350 residential units, 8,500 square feet of retail space, and a commercial parking garage. Residences will consist of a mix of studio and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Seventy of the units will be reserved as affordable, while the remaining will be market rate.
The project at 81-93 Orange St. will also include amenities, such as a pool, health club, spa, work from home space, and electric vehicle charging stations, along with – of course – easy access to Newark’s Broad Street Station.
“The Aspire Program aims to expand housing options, increase affordability, and create stronger communities,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “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 the 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.”
Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-29th District, echoed that sentiment, noting that the program was created with the intention of facilitating greater investment in communities and breathing new life into underutilized spaces.
“This project will do just that, taking a parking lot and using it to spur economic development,” said Ruiz. “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.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says the award helps realize the city’s Transit Village strategy.
“The Broad Street Station will anchor a vibrant neighborhood and vital transportation hub,” said Baraka. “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.”