Once again, a plan to construct one of the largest developments in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood to be proposed in recent years is awaiting possible approval.
Last year, Jersey Digs reported that a 12-story building with 384 units was being proposed for 28-50 McWhorter Street, 51-57 Union Street, and 108 Hamilton Street in Newark’s East Ward. At the time, high-rise multi-family dwellings were not a permitted use in the R-5 Mid-Rise Multifamily Residential Zone where the 1.25-acre property fell. However, in the months since, the Newark Municipal Council controversially approved a new district for this area called the Mixed-Use 3 (MX-3) Residential and Commercial Zone, allowing taller developments to be constructed in parts of the northwestern section of the Ironbound near Newark Penn Station.
Now, a similar but slightly larger mixed-use complex is being planned for the same lot on McWhorter, Union, and Hamilton Streets. A legal notice from City Hall states that a 403-unit building is being planned for the premises, with 3,300 square feet of retail space included on the first floor. In addition, 196 parking spaces would be provided at the site. A representative for the city’s zoning office confirmed to Jersey Digs by phone that this application calls for a 12-story building.
The applicant, 28 McWhorter St., LLC, currently owns the property and is registered out of the same address in Roseland as J&L Parking Corporation. The company’s attorney did not immediately return a request seeking additional information about the proposal.
The Newark Central Planning Board, which has approved the vast majority of proposals that have come before it in recent years, is scheduled to hear this application during its meeting on Monday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. 28 McWhorter St., LLC is seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with several variances, including insufficient front and side yard setback, insufficient building transparency, and inadequate active ground floor.
This site, which currently contains a private and gated J&L parking lot that was shut down by the city last year, has long been a source of controversy in the neighborhood and continues to be with this proposal. Neighbors protested the development of the parking lot in the first place, and New Jersey’s Superior Court ruled that the city should never have permitted it to be constructed. Plus, 66 objectors attended a 2017 meeting of the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment in protest of the previous 384-unit proposal for the property. Now, some local groups are opposing the possible approval of this new application. A flyer posted by The Newark Advocates asks the board to “say no to this project and keep Newark affordable,” while the Ironbound Community Corporation posted on Twitter that the building “will lead to gentrification and displacement,” though some residents replied in favor of its construction.
Should the development be approved on Monday and end up being completed, it would be Newark’s tallest residential building east of the Northeast Corridor train tracks. The proposal comes as other projects within a few blocks are nearing completion, including the Textile Lofts and Ironside Newark.