A Vacant 25-Story Apartment Tower in Newark Could Soon See Revitalization

essex lake house 400 elizabeth ave newark
Credit: Mancini Duffy Architecture

Currently, the 25-story Carmel Towers building lies abandoned, towering over the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark’s South Ward. However, should a developer’s plan be approved, the building could soon be home to hundreds of Newarkers.

According to a legal notice from the Newark Central Planning Board, Essex Lake Associates, LLC is proposing to renovate the Carmel Towers complex, located at 203-221 Meeker Avenue, between Empire Street and Elizabeth Avenue. The building contains 48 one-bedroom, 120 two-bedroom, and 48 three-bedroom apartments, many of which have balconies, and there are 104 parking spaces on site.

essex lake house 400 elizabeth ave newark rendering
Credit: Mancini Duffy Architecture

The legal notice states that there will be a variety of amenities for residents, including an expanded lobby, seating lounge, entertainment and party room, a lap pool, fitness room, gym, roof deck, and community garden. A new front entrance canopy and landscaping improvements are also proposed.

essex lake house 400 elizabeth ave newark lobby
Credit: Mancini Duffy Architecture

In addition, the building is reportedly getting a new name. The website for The Ishay Group, based in Manhattan, states that the company is now referring to Carmel Towers as The Essex Lake House and that Mancini Duffy Architecture is behind the redesign.

essex lake house 400 elizabeth ave newark site plan
Credit: Mancini Duffy Architecture

Carmel Towers closed nearly five years ago after the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development stopped providing funding for the building after it failed inspections, according to The New York Times. Built in 1970, it had become “known for drugs and gangs” before its closure, The Star-Ledger reported.

carmel towers 203-221 meeker avenue newark
203-221 Meeker Ave (on right) | via Google

The Newark Central Planning Board will hold a public hearing regarding Essex Lake Associates’ proposal on Monday, October 24th at 6:30pm in the Newark Municipal Council Chambers at City Hall.

The Weequahic neighborhood is one of the most suburban neighborhoods in the city and is built around the 311 acre Weequahic Park, which contains a lake, a public golf course, playgrounds, trails, and tennis, baseball, and basketball courts. Around the corner from Carmel Towers, a long abandoned building was recently torn down and replaced with a small shopping center.

The area is well served by public transportation, and direct bus service to New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal is provided by New Jersey Transit on the 107 line along nearby Elizabeth Avenue. Route 78, Newark Liberty International Airport, and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center are also located nearby.


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  1. I’m betting that they have long-term plans for the entire Weequahic section. There’s no way that they’ll invest so much in that building without having a plan for the rest of the area. The other buildings will either lose their funding or be sold so that they can be also be revitalized or torn down. If this building plan is approved, it’s just the beginning.

  2. My understanding is the 515 Elizabeth Ave building is under current negotiations. It would be a prime location being that it’s so close to highways and all!!

  3. Tell you what the average honest hard working family won’t be able to enjoy that type of living or afford an apartment in that Building. Unless I sell all my body parts on the street..

  4. Folks slept and the gentrification of Newark continues. I remember what this section of Newark was like and it was not affordable. The plot thickens.

  5. The residents destroyed the building,urinating in the hallways,selling drugs in front of the building and damaging the apartnents. We want to blame everyone else,we destroyed newark and made it a mess.

    • The landlord and government did their part by allowing the destruction. Slum landlords in Newark are a real big problem…We will see more multi-family buildings, destroyed and evacuated. 40 years ago I would not live in Hoboken today I cannot afford to live in Hoboken.

  6. True, and this contributed to the so called “white flight” to the suburbs. East Orange and Irvington are a mess, Newark needs a stable middle class white population if it wants to succeed. A city can not be comprised of a population where most residents are on some kind of public assistance program, like welfare. A city needs a mix of income levels, that is why an influx of white middle class residents would be great.

    • Sir I beg to differ with you. While it is true that Newark needs a stable middle class population….it need NOT be White. Any race or mix of races will do so long as the income level is there. You are right in that a city needs a mix of income levels and an influx of White middle class would be nice but is not necessary. I offer the city of Atlanta as an example.


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