The New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Center Street Owners will break ground on the next phase of an arts district master plan in Newark in 2022.
The approximately 7.3.acre, $150 million project announced June 28 includes low-rise and high-rise multifamily buildings, retail establishments, restaurants and cultural spaces, along with about 15 new townhomes and condos, all along the riverfront.
“Contributing to the ongoing revitalization of Newark’s downtown has always been central to the Arts Center’s mission as the city’s anchor cultural institution,” said John Schreiber, NJPAC’s president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. “This plan is a thoughtful, curated mix of residential buildings, retail environments and cultural resources. We want this new neighborhood to be an exciting place to live, as well as a uniquely engaging destination.”
The development, which will be built on the Arts Center’s campus, will include a pedestrian-friendly extension of Mulberry Street across what is now NJPAC’s Lot A parking area connecting to Rector Street to the north. NJPAC’s eastern facade will be redesigned to create an additional entryway to the Arts Center.
Of the 350 rentals planned, 80% will be market rate and 20% will be affordable.
CSO is an organization created to develop this new neighborhood around NJPAC. L+M Development Partners, which leads CSO, has developed other sites in downtown Newark including Walker House and the Hahne & Co. building.
Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments is a partner in the project as well.
“This thoughtful expansion of NJPAC’s arts and education district will further enliven the streets of Newark, with an array of offerings to engage residents and visitors alike,” said Lata Reddy, senior vice president of Prudential Inclusive Solutions. “The arts and NJPAC are already a critical driver of growth, and these exciting additions will further our shared goal of making Newark a destination city.”
NJPAC is providing the guiding vision for the new district as well as a ground lease for the project. Financial support will be sought from the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
Restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson is also one of the partners; the centerpiece of the new neighborhood will be a food hall curated by him called Mulberry Market. The food hall will also offer educational uses, such as a teaching kitchen that provides community cooking classes.
The Arts Center undertook masterplanning this redevelopment in 2019 working with RePlace Urban Studio, a multi-disciplinary agency based in New York devoted to rethinking the principles of urban design. RePlace and the Arts Center created a plan for an open “public realm” where the arts are activated and experienced both indoors and out.
NJPAC will also break ground in 2022 on its new Cooperman Family Arts Education and Community Center on Center and Mulberry Streets, bringing arts education to the Arts Center’s front yard.
“This is a purpose-designed community that reintroduces a neighborhood fabric lost to mega-block development during the 1950s and 1960s,” said Schreiber. “We are adding streets back to the City where people can live, walk, shop and dine,” he said.
“The redevelopment of NJPAC’s campus will be a game-changing step forward for the evolution of Newark’s downtown, creating an ideal live-work-play environment in the city’s heart — and making more affordable housing available for families of all kinds,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in a prepared statement.
The development will break ground in 2022, with completion expected in 2024.