A large vacant tract that is located near a Newark train station and the site of a massive upcoming development could itself become home to a major mixed-use project. The premises, located at 349-377 and 379-397 Broad Street between the city’s downtown and Lower Broadway neighborhoods, have sat undeveloped for decades, despite their prominent location. Now, an application filed by Broad Street Urban Renewal, LLC could change that.
A legal notice issued last week shows that the company is looking to construct two buildings on the site, each of which would be five stories tall. There would be a combined 255 residential units in the buildings, though the proposed pricing of the units is not yet known. A “community gallery,” retail space, two pocket parks along Broad Street, and an outdoor dining area are planned as well. The proposal also calls for parking to be included on the ground floor of the buildings and for an “internal driveway network” and “center boulevard” to be constructed, connecting the development with nearby State Street. 268 parking spaces are planned.
Broad Street Urban Renewal, LLC has filed an application with the Newark Central Planning Board for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with a number of variances. The board is scheduled to take up the matter during its meeting next Monday, June 3, at 6:30 p.m.
City tax filings show that both properties are owned by 349 Broad Street New, LLC. The company is based out of an office in Edison that is owned by Eli Dweck and Albert Bijou.
The Broad Street tracts are situated between a Burger King location and the historic House of Prayer Episcopal Church, while the Pavilion Towers stand just west of the premises. The Burger King restaurant is expected to remain under this proposal, though changes could be in store for the setup of its parking lot. New Jersey Transit’s Newark Broad Street station is a short walk from the site on the other side of Interstate 280, as is the former Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium, where the Riverfront Square project is planned.
Plans to redevelop this site have been in the works for years, though the properties have remained vacant. Back in 2017, Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development Chief Development Officer Carmelo Garcia, who worked for the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation at the time, told Jersey Digs in an interview that there were plans for around 360 units on the premises.
“We were able to marry the owners with Russo Development and now we have a viable project that’s going to make sense all the way around,” Garcia stated at the time. “It’s real, it’s viable, and we’re making it happen.”
Russo Development is the company behind the recent Vermella projects in North Jersey, but the legal notice does not mention if the company is still involved in the Broad Street development. Jersey Digs emailed Garcia and Russo Development this weekend for an update on the project, but due to the holiday, neither could immediately be reached for comment. However, state business filings do indicate that Broad Street Urban Renewal, LLC was registered in March 2018 out of Carlstadt, the small Bergen County borough where Russo Development is also headquartered.
Several years ago, there was a vastly different proposal for 349-377 and 379-397 Broad Street that could have resulted in a suburban-style shopping center called “Broad Street @ 280” being constructed there. The plans, which were included in a 2014 edition of The Dealmakers, called for two buildings with a combined 40,970 square feet and a possible Dollar Tree or supermarket on the premises.
Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be heard by the Newark Central Planning Board and other commissions are subject to change.