The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has partnered with Center Street Owners and will break ground in 2022 on the next phase of a transformational master plan that will expand the arts and education district surrounding its theaters, Arts Center leadership announced today.
The approximately $150 million project will create a vibrant new neighborhood of low-rise and high-rise multifamily buildings, retail establishments, restaurants and cultural spaces, plus about 15 new townhomes and condos, on a portion of the 7.3 acres of developable land on NJPAC’s riverfront campus. This phase will include a total of roughly 350 rental residences (80% market rate, 20% affordable) that will be erected on the site, in addition to the condos and townhomes, which will be offered for sale.
The development will break ground in 2022, with expected completion in 2024.
“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 CEO. “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.”
“NJPAC has been a leader in the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Newark,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I am thrilled to see this next phase of development around one of New Jersey’s cultural linchpins, which will continue the tremendous progress being made in Newark while embracing its storied past.”
The development, to 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. A simultaneous redesign of NJPAC’s Eastern facade will create a welcoming additional entryway to the Arts Center.
NJPAC has partnered with developers Center Street Owners (CSO), led by L+M Development Partners, to complete the project. CSO is an organization created to develop this new neighborhood around NJPAC. L+M has developed other sites in downtown Newark including Walker House and the Hahne & Co. building. Prudential Impact & Responsible Investmentsis 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 LataReddy, Senior Vice President, 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.”
“We are proud to unveil the transformative plan for the Arts Center in collaboration with NJPAC, which will not only help to lift up the arts community in Newark, but also deliver much-needed mixed-income housing and opportunities for local businesses, retailers, and beloved New Jersey restaurants,” said Ron Moelis, CEO and Co-Founder of L+M Development Partners. “This project is part of our longstanding investment in the revitalization of Newark and together with our public and private partners, we aim to continue addressing the critical needs of the city.”
NJPAC is not financing any of the vertical development; rather, it is providing the guiding vision for the new district, as well as a ground lease for the project. NJPAC and Center Street Owners will be seeking financial support from the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
World-renowned restaurateur and entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson, whose Newark restaurant, Marcus B&P, has become a highlight of the city’s downtown dining scene, is also one of the partners. The centerpiece of the new neighborhood will be a food hall — similar to Boston’s Faneuil Hall or Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, but on a smaller scale — called Mulberry Market, curated by Samuelsson. Mulberry Market will also include educational uses, such as a teaching kitchen that provides community cooking classes.
Celebrated architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), known for its work in creating technically and environmentally advanced buildings and public urban spaces around the globe, has been engaged to design these new facets of NJPAC’s campus.
With early conceptual inspiration and financial support from Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments, the Arts Center undertook master planning this redevelopment in 2019, working with RePlace Urban Studio, a multi-disciplinary agency devoted to rethinking the principles of urban design. The plan created by RePlace and the Arts Center ultimately coalesced into a single vision for NJPAC’s campus: an open, welcoming “public realm” where the arts are activated and experienced both indoors and out. As in Newark’s past, multiple streets and alleys will criss-cross the downtown area, connecting busy thoroughfares and letting in light and air.
The goal of the effort is to integrate cultural assets throughout the Arts Center’s entire campus. In concert with this new development, NJPAC will also break ground in 2022 on its new Cooperman Family Arts Education and Community Centeron Center and Mulberry Streets, bringing arts education to the Arts Center’s front yard.
“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 J. Baraka.
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