Officials announced more details on Thursday about the future of the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium site in Downtown Newark. According to a statement issued by the City of Newark, a 7.5-acre mixed-use neighborhood will be coming to the property, including 2.3 million square feet of residential, office, retail, and cultural space. The stadium will be demolished to make way for the development.
“Newark is in the midst of a major revitalization effort that is transforming our entire city”, said Mayor Ras Baraka in a statement, adding that “this project anchors our downtown development activities and brings new living and working options to current residents, students and those looking to make Newark their home”.
It was announced earlier this year that Lotus Equity Group, based in Manhattan, was acquiring the site for $23.5 million from the Essex County Improvement Authority, and public hearing regarding the sale was held in August. The stadium parking garage, located along Bridge Street, was not included in the sale, according to a legal notice.
Now, it has been revealed that Lotus has closed on the acquisition and has chosen Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism to develop a master plan for the new neighborhood. Chakrabarti, the author of A Country of Cities, helped lead the master plans for the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment in Brooklyn and the Essex Crossing project in Manhattan.
“Our selection of Vishaan Chakrabarti, and his team at PAU, to create the master plan for this project exemplifies our commitment to ensuring this project will be a world-class development of which Newark and its residents will be proud”, stated Lotus CEO Ben Korman.
“We are thrilled to participate in the ongoing rejuvenation of Newark at this critically important site for the city and the region,” said Chakrabarti in the statement.
Since 2006, the Riverfront Stadium Station on the Newark Light Rail has been located directly in front of the property, but NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder stated in March that “service should not be impacted as long as Newark Light Rail can operate safely at this location”, adding that “should construction necessitate the closure of this station, Newark Light Rail is able to accommodate customers at Newark Broad Street and Washington Park stations on an alternate track in both directions”.
The stadium is located at 450 Broad Street, at the corner of Division Street, just across the street from the Newark Broad Street Station on NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton Lines. Riverfront Stadium was built 17 years ago, and was home to the independent Newark Bears baseball team until 2013. The New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders and the Rutgers–Newark Scarlet Raiders were the only other teams to use the facility, which features views of the New York City skyline.
Lotus’ proposal has not yet been heard by the Newark Central Planning Board or the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment.
This announcement comes after Ballot Question #1, which called for allowing New Jersey casinos more than 72 miles from Atlantic City, was rejected by voters on Tuesday. The Berger Organization had proposed possibly building a casino hotel at the site of the stadium and a neighboring vacant lot if the question was approved.