Construction began nearly a decade ago on a new residential building at 310-316 Clinton Avenue, at the southwest corner of Johnson Avenue, in the Lower Clinton Hill neighborhood of Newark’s South Ward near Shabazz High School. The three-story building, designed to look like a victorian house, soon rose above the neighborhood, but has yet to be home to any Newarkers. Initially developed by Newark-based Lower Clinton Hill Development, LLC, the building was sold to All Purpose Funding of Royal Palm Beach, Florida for $502,835 in 2011. The City of Newark acquired the structure for $50,000 in 2014, according to NJ Parcels records. Today, a fence surrounds the building, which lies vacant with all of its first-floor windows boarded up.
Now, developers are planning to finish the project. City documents show that Ascension Capital Partners I, LLC, of Fulton Street, is planning to renovate the building into three apartment homes. The total cost of the project is expected to be $451,753. During its meeting on December 13th, the Newark Municipal Council voted to approve the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development’s plans to grant financial assistance for the project. The resolution states in part that “the project currently has a significant funding gap that must be bridged in order to make the project financially feasible”. Under the plans, the grant from the city will consist of $40,000, while New Jersey Community Capital will provide $411,753 in funding, city documents show.
In addition, the revitalization of another abandoned construction project in the neighborhood is nearly complete. Just across the street from the property at 276-300 Clinton Avenue, after a year of construction, the Mary Elizabeth Mahoney Women’s Health and Wellness Center is nearly finished. According to a statement from the city, the facility will “be a focal point for educating women on wellness programs and health related issues”, and “will provide area residents with comprehensive primary medical care, as well as OB-GYN services, a birthing center, and access to lactation counselors”.
The Clinton Hill area, like many other neighborhoods of the city, suffered as a result of suburbanization in the 1950s and 1960s, and there are several vacant properties across the neighborhood. Now, however, there has been significant investment in the community by local residents, companies, and government agencies. Several new murals were painted in 2016 along the Clinton Avenue corridor, and the artist community in the area will grow when the Nina Simone House, a 31,721 square foot 27-unit building with affordable housing, a café, an art gallery, and performing arts space, is completed at the Clinton Trust Company site at 505 Clinton Avenue.