A historically significant but long-shuttered landmark on Newark’s most prominent street is getting a welcomed facelift.
The Hahne & Co. building, a hulking, pre-WWI edifice located at 609 Broad Street in the heart of Newark’s Downtown/Arts district, was designed by renowned architect Goldwin Starrett. He founded the firm Starrett and Van Vleck at the end of the 19th century and went on to plan several iconic buildings in the tri-state area, specializing in department stores.
Starrett and Van Vleck’s work includes the flagship locations of Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, all of which still stand in Manhattan today.
In nearby Newark, Hahne & Co. was a huge part of the city’s downtown for decades. Its construction consumed 7,000 tons of steel and 6 million bricks, also utilizing nearly two acres of plate glass windows. The upscale department store, which first opened its doors in 1911, spanned four stories and a whole city block. Two restaurants, the Pine Room and the Maple Room, served food to hungry shoppers for generations.
But by the 1980s, both Newark and Hahne & Co. had fallen on tougher times. The Hahne family sold their business in 1987 to the owners of Lord & Taylor, leaving the building vacant ever since.
However, L+M Development Partners is currently revamping the 23-acre site, converting the structure into 160 mixed-income housing units and 75,000-square-feet of retail space. The company broke ground on the project in June of last year and is preserving the façade, the original signage and skylight features of the building.
Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor recently announced that the building will be home to the University’s Department of Arts, Culture and Media program, which will feature a 250-seat auditorium-style classroom and gallery space. Whole Foods has also signed on to open a 30,000-square-foot market on the ground floor.
The restoration of Hahne & Co. adds another thread to the fabric of revamped history in Newark’s Downtown area. Nearby developments listed on the National Register of Historical Places include Eleven80, an Art Deco luxury apartment complex that was built in 1930. The James Street Commons District is also loaded with history and includes a mansion built in 1885 that was the home of John Ballantine, founder of one of America’s first breweries.
Across the street from Hahne & Co. lies Military Park, a 6-acre green space that was a training ground for soldiers in the 1800s. The park underwent a $3 million renovation in 2014 under the direction of Dan Biederman, who also oversaw the revitalization of New York’s Bryant Park in the early ‘90s.
While the neighborhood is rich in history, not everything dates back a century. Across from Military Park, Prudential Insurance finished up construction on their new $400 million, 20-story North American Headquarters late last year. Their project also added significant retail along Halsey Street, an existing commercial corridor behind Hahne & Co. that has an eclectic collection of bars, cafes and small businesses.
L+M is aiming to provide Newark residents with a modern twist on history by having the first portions of the new Hahne & Co. open by late 2016.
609 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102