While the four-story building at 446-450 Irvine Turner Boulevard in Newark’s South Ward might be among the older buildings in the neighborhood, the structure currently looks more like an eyesore than an elegant edifice. Located between West Bigelow Street and West Alpine Street not far from Shabazz High School, this brick building has sat derelict for well over a decade, with all of its windows either boarded up or outright missing. Meanwhile, the two properties along Ridgewood Avenue behind the structure have been vacant for just as long, with overgrown weeds being quite a common site on the premises.
Now, could changes finally be coming to 446-450 Irvine Turner Boulevard? It appears that the current owner of the building, 446 ITB, LLC, has plans in mind for the future of the property. The company is seeking to convert the building into 29 apartments, according to a legal notice. There are also plans for 25 parking spaces, though few other details, such as how the units could be priced, are currently known about the project.
446 ITB, LLC applied to merge the property with the adjacent Ridgewood Avenue lots and receive Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with multiple variances in connection with the project. A hearing on the matter was scheduled to take place late last week.
The legal notice indicates that the company is based out of the Princeton Forrestal Village in Plainsboro Township, while city tax records list 446 ITB, LLC’s address as a post box inside a UPS Store in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Over the last three decades, there have been several unsuccessful plans to redevelop the site.
In 2000, the Newark Municipal Council adopted a resolution in order to give a 30-year tax abatement to a company called Orr Investments Urban Renewal. The firm was expected to renovate the building and construct 20 apartments inside. Construction on that project, which was called “Pershang Apts,” was expected to be completed within a year. City records from 1997 show that Orr Investments Urban Renewal had previously planned 21 units in the building and that the City of Newark was planning to apply for a $624,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs in order to help finance the redevelopment.
Back in 2011, the decaying building was even featured in The Washington Post as part of an investigation into delayed affordable housing projects that were receiving funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Then, in 2014, the City of Newark planned to sell the site to Community Asset Preservation Corporation in order to redevelop the building. Less than three years later, there were plans by a Bloomfield-based company called Beacher Development, LLC that called for apartments and parking on the premises. The City of Newark sold the two tracts on Ridgewood Avenue to Beacher Development, LLC for $30,000 in order to create parking for the project.
The building was constructed back when Irvine Turner Boulevard was known as Belmont Avenue. A December 1917 edition of the Real Estate Record and Builders Guide shows that at the time, a Newarker named Abraham Gennet first proposed constructing the building at a cost of $40,000. A month later, in January 1918, the publication reported that a Downtown Newark architect named M.J. Nadel was preparing the plans for the building. Later that year, a $70,000 contract was signed so that masonry work could begin on the premises.