Newark looks very different from when Stefan Pryor arrived in 2006 as deputy mayor of economic development. The Prudential Center became a reality, ground was broken for a Marriott hotel next to the arena and scores of other projects were proposed during years of economic hardship.
But when asking Newark businesspeople what Pryor’s legacy will be, now that he’s moving on to become Connecticut’s education commissioner, the most common response is enthusiasm.
“Connecticut’s gain is certainly Newark’s loss, because Stefan was Newark’s point person not only for Teachers Village but for all significant development in the city,” said Ron Beit, managing partner of RBH Group, principal developers of the Teachers Village project. “He will be sorely missed because of his unique mix of vision — which enables him to conceptualize transformational projects — and smarts, common sense and energy, all of which enable him to actually get things done.”
“Stefan brought integrity, energy and intelligence to Newark. In these difficult economic times his enthusiasm for Newark was important for those of us heavily invested in the City,” said Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman of Devils Arena Entertainment.
Pryor, who came to Newark from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, chaired Brick City Development Corporation and worked with businesses to bring the largest city in New Jersey back to prominence.
Newark’s next deputy mayor of economic development will be walking into a city with a sophisticated and aggressive real estate market with many proposed development projects, but few that have broken ground.
“It’s both a tribute to Stefan and a recognition of the collaborations he formed and the course he set that when it comes to major development and redevelopment in Newark, the beat will go on long after Stefan makes his mark on education in Connecticut,” Beit said, adding that Newark’s major players like Pryor’s chief of staff Adam Zipkin and Lyneir Richardson of BCDC will continue to play significant roles in continuing his vision.