Newark Developer Proposes Demolishing Downtown Buildings, Constructing 192-Unit Project

29 31 Academy Street 138 Halsey Street Newark
27 Academy Street and 29-31 Academy Street in Newark could be demolished to make way for a 13-story building. Image via Google Maps/Street View.

A Newark real estate company that has acquired multiple properties and proposed several developments in the city in recent years is now envisioning a major project along the Halsey Street corridor, but the plans could cause a group of buildings to be torn down.

An application submitted by Drew Vagts to the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission describes plans for the demolition of 27 Academy Street, 29-31 Academy Street, and 138 Halsey Street in the Four Corners Historic District. The application states that a 13-story residential and commercial building is planned and that the project’s estimated completion date is January 1, 2023.

17 29 Academy Street Newark Rendering
Drawing of the proposed building alongside the existing Academy Building. Image courtesy of Marchetto Higgins Stieve.

The commission is scheduled to hear this application during its next virtual meeting, which will be held this Wednesday, October 7.

Site plans for the development from Marchetto Higgins Stieve that were published by the City of Newark show that there would be 10,650 gross square feet of retail space and 192 residential units, including studios, one-bedroom units, and two-bedroom units. No parking would be included.

138 Halsey Street Newark Rendering
Image courtesy of Marchetto Higgins Stieve.

The plans, which date back to February, illustrate that the new building would be situated alongside the existing Academy Building and state that the “building strategy” would be “proposed building as combined building.”

Vagts is listed in documents released by Newark’s municipal government as the approvals coordinator for Paramount Assets, the company that acquired the Academy Building last year. Paramount Assets is also named in the Marchetto Higgins Stieve site plans.

The site is located near Prudential’s headquarters and has frontage on Raymond Boulevard, Halsey Street, and Academy Street.

The National Park Service’s Four Corners Historic District registration form says that the four-story buildings at 27 and 29-31 Academy Street were both built around 1890.

The form states that 27 Academy Street, also known as the Krimke Building, is “one of the earlier commercial buildings in the area” and “represents the four story commercial building type which once dominated this streetscape.” Meanwhile, it says that 29-31 Academy Street is “a good example of late nineteenth-century eclecticism.”

The Krimke Building includes a Masala Cafe location while the neighboring building has contained the Joy Joy clothing store. The 138 Halsey Street property, which was mentioned in the application but not in the meeting agenda, includes the “wide styles shoes” ghost sign and businesses such as Wig World and Taqueria Los Güeros.

The commission’s meeting will begin over Zoom at 6:00 p.m.

Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be discussed by the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission and other governing bodies are subject to change.



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  1. That’s actually amazing…not in a good way. Out of all the dumpy building in Newark, they actually managed to find another historic building to demolish. Some things will never change. I can’t imagine what Newark would look like if they had even an ounce of preservation in their DNA.

  2. It is AWESOME to see Newark NJ always moving forward with tearing down the old buildings, remodeling, revitalizing with new innovation for GREAT PROGRESS. It also provides a NEW POSITIVE MINDSET of progress not only for Newark, but for each one of us, as we all move forward in all areas of our lives. Pastor Rob Lavery/Redeeming Love Worship Center & Ministries

  3. This is why deed restrictions should be place on all hhistorical perserve building to prevent things like this. People who aren’t respectful of the community shouldn’t be allowed to come here and te down our history.

  4. Pastor Rob Lavery/Redeeming Love Worship Center & Ministries, a positive mindset in saving historical buildings and renovating them. Not tearing them down.
    Question: Where are you from originally?

  5. @JerseygirlL:
    I don’t think that’s fair in this case. Paramount Assets have preserved and renovated a number of properties downtown including Halsey Flats which is directly across from the property this article is about. They’ve done the same with William Flats on Broad and William street and are completing renovations on two properties on Clinton Street. They also own a few commercial properties like the Little Theater building on Broad and that office building on Broad and Edison place which, in my opinion, should be torn down. I think they do have respect for the community and the history of the city as is evidence by them keeping and renovating these structures.
    Regarding this particular property, it’s architecturally interesting enough that I think it should be preserved.

  6. Do not let them do this! The New York landmarks and preservation committee better kill this project! Out of all the vacant land occupied by parking lots, Why must a Target and historical building ? Don’t let them do it! Nothing will get built in the end and it will be another Scotsman Edison parkfast! A hole right in the middle of Halsey Street corridor.


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