Newark Municipal Council Considering 30-Year Tax Exemption for 270-Unit Development

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16 34 William Street Newark
Site of proposed development and tax exemption: 16-34 William Street, Central Ward, Newark. Photo via Google Maps/Street View.

A mixed-use project that is in the works for a site in Newark’s downtown could receive a lengthy tax exemption from the city’s municipal government.


The Newark Municipal Council is weighing a proposal to grant a 30-year tax exemption to Tower at Halsey and William Urban Renewal, LLC.

The project in question would include two restaurants taking up roughly 8,150 square feet, 243 “market rate residential units,” “27 affordable housing units restricted to 80% of area median income in accordance with [the] City of Newark Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance,” and 156 parking spaces, according to a meeting agenda.

A copy of a proposed ordinance that was released as a public notice states that if approved, this measure would also authorize the execution of a financial agreement and the issuance of up to $1 million in redevelopment area bonds.

The notice claims in part that “the project is for the health, welfare, convenience or betterment of the inhabitants of the city” and that “without the tax exemption granted herein, the project would not be undertaken.” It also says that the estimated project cost is nearly $126 million and that the developer would have to pay an annual service charge and an annual administrative fee.

The agenda lists the address of the development as 16-24, 26-30, and 32-34 William Street, three properties located in Central Ward between Halsey Street and Treat Place. Municipal tax filings list SLB Management, LLC; ERL Battery & Ignition Co.; and HAR STE Realty Corp. as the owners of the tracts.

Strategic Development Group announced plans for the 17-story 270-unit “Vibe” project at this location three years ago, but the agenda and the notice do not include the “Vibe” name. However, they identify Tower at Halsey and William Urban Renewal, LLC’s address as a location in Basking Ridge, Somerset County that is also listed on the websites of Strategic Development Group and Construction Technology Corporation.

This matter was scheduled to go before the Newark Municipal Council for first reading on February 3. The ordinance is on the agenda for second reading and final passage for the meeting on Thursday, February 18, at 12:30 p.m.

Note to readers: The dates that matters are scheduled to be discussed by the Newark Municipal Council and other governing bodies are subject to change.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. This is ridiculous. Wasn’t VIBE already approved?
    Apparently “approved & cleared for construction ” are nothing more than lies to make incumbent polititians look good!
    Among the other “approved” invisible redevelopments:
    *Liberty Place at old Lincoln Motel site.(Cory Booker cut the ribbon w the elite Democrats holding gold shovels) Was nothing more than a stunt by Lanbankers Berger properties to increase resale value of land.
    *Vibe : see this article
    *The Halo: twin 40 story residential towers. (yeah-right!)
    * SOMA Skyscrapers : A cluster of mega tall skyscrapers along Washington Ave.
    * Four Corners: part of SOMA once a grand beautiful super tall on NW corner of Washington & Market st, now reduced to a 10 story joke shorter than the old Macy-Bambergers across the street.
    * The luxury triangular 20 story residential tower for Green street ……instead became a new “temporary” Edison Parkfast parking lot complete with elaborate curbs,sewer system & fancy lighting. (Temporary my ***. That lot will be there for decades!)
    * The 50 story tower by city hall: (50? Yeah-right)
    * The residential towers around Prudential center: Nevermind! Became more Edison Parfast lots & Newark stupidly dold 1/4 of the land for a dollar & later leased the land for $3 million a year!! Then they built a parking deck with no tower above it & no possibility for expansion.

    Jersey city builds towers left and right. It WILL BE THE LARGEST NJ CITY.

    Newark should be ashamed to be promoting unbuilt proyects over 3 years old!!
    My sad prediction as a lifelong Newarker who’s seen every disappointment when it comes to high rise proposals:
    Those two classic art deco buildings, Newark’s 2 tallest, will NEVER be topped.

  2. Those are mostly examples of speculative projects that developers never had the money to build in the first place. The city approved them, gave them incentives and the developers either sat on the land or tried to sell the project to someone with more money. For every one of these projects, 2 or 3 more realistic developments have actually happened Downtown like One Theater Square, Shaq Tower 1, Teacher’s Village, Ironside, Mulberry Commons etc.

    Jersey City is a different because its waterfront attracted some of the wealthiest developers in Manhattan like Goldman Sachs. They have the money to build their projects (and the demand to charge super high rents), so they don’t need to speculate on land. That being said, you can probably still find examples of proposals that didn’t happen there either.

  3. ‘Jersey City will be the largest city’, I mean for the love of God I’ve heard this for the last almost 40 years. Maybe it’ll be true one day, but for all the times it’s said you’d think it’d happen by now (especially since it has the Manhattan collective to support it).
    Newark has plenty of development going, but if you want to focus on the half empty then feel free to go crazy. Newark moves slow, but it moves.

  4. I dont get this obsession with JC some people have im Newark… who cares if it becomes the largest city population wise, it still doesn’t have the same economic output that Newark has with the port/airport, the universities, and being the state’s largest employer.

    Moreover, we as a community should be looking at how our city has been improving since this current era of redevelopment has happened and i would argue we have come a long way, regardless of what JC is doing.

    Lastly, lets not act like JC has been building these towers since the 80s… for most of its redevelopment it had alot of smaller infill projects that played a large part in getting it towards where it is today. We should bot be discrediting the smaller projects going on in Newark as those play a huge role in getting the taller buildings up and running…its one of the reasons Newark’s skyline has been able to expand over the last 13 years because we have been able to continue the momentum after one of the larger buildings got built until the next project got off the ground. Plus, let us also not forget how much more ambitious downtown’s crop of development have gotten in the last few years… we went from being excited over 50 new apartments opening up near prudential center, to urby coming in and the new shaq building going up right across the street from Penn Station… a building that is expected to be 425 feet tall making it the 3 tallest occupied structure in the city (the tallest structures in the city are the cranes at the port). It is only a matter of time before we actually build the city’s tallest building. We should not be forcing development or fast tracking it as that can just as easily kill any development in the city for years to come.

  5. I think Newark Downtown is doing a good job of what there doing. Unless you want Newark to turn out like Brooklyn or Jersey city forgetting about the Natives who live their. Newark is already building another Shaq tower by pennstation so that’s proof of Newark getting closer to the 2 tallest buildings in the city. Shaq tower is less than 30 feet from eleven 80 and less than 40 feet from the tallest in Newark. Even though this news broke my heart that vibe tower wasn’t approved yet. But atleast I know now. Newark is growing on its own pace. Just have faith in it. Now let’s all wait for Shaq tower 2 to be completed bc construction has started.

  6. I take no exception whatsoever with Mr. Arroyo’s comments, they emanate from a place of intense civic pride in our city.
    While Newark has made modest progress in the area of development, it can do much better. Newark’s city government leaders have failed her. They demonstrate very little creativity in civic governance and honestly seem out of their element. Outside of housing mandates and a desire to litter the city with non-profits, they’re devoid of ideas. Newark’s development progress, albeit slow, seems to take place in spite of the mayor and city council, not because of them.
    While I maintain immeasurable civic pride in Newark, I also lament the missed opportunities and unprofessional governance, that has failed to position this city to capitalize on her best assets.

  7. Agreed, Mr.Weequahic Fights Back. Jersey City is leading Newark in all categories, while Newark gets top spots in all of the bad categories such as homicides and abandoned buildings, unemployment, AIDS rates, homeless people, graffiti and litter, drug spots, etc….

  8. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, most cities have a large “nice” area and a small “bad” section. With Newark it’s the complete opposite. Newark is a cat of a different breed, an anomaly, an aberration from the norm. And it will never change. People are afraid of Newark, they want to avoid it. Not Jersey City though, Jersey City is considered hip. Given the chance to live in Newark or JC, no one in their right mind would would choose Newark.

  9. Jersey City and the Gold Coast began in the early eighties on properties that were derelict wharves and piers and abandoned or little used rail yards. The Gold Coast has since extended into North Bergen, Weehawken and Union City. I totally agree with Mr.Arroyo and also with Weequahic Fights Back. When a member of the city council says something to the effect that “I don’t want to see people who don’t look like me moving to Newark ” is complete asinine and racist statement. A city where one third of its population is on some form of public assistance is not good and home ownership is like 22% owner occupied is far below the national average. Newark is far too impoverished, urban blight, gun violence, open air drug markets, and many other factors all contribute to Newark ‘s well deserved reputation.

  10. I honestly find DeLuisi’s comments a bit amusing. So JC was always vibrant and wealthy right? What about Brooklyn… all these places has the same reputation and terrible social ills that Newark did and no one wanted to live there, yet that changed… what makes newark different? All of Newark’s luxury developments have leased up, more and more of them get built every year and major credit unions in this country all view Newark positively going forward.

    Newark is changing and many people with actual choices in where they want to live have made the choice to move to Newark over NYC, Hoboken, and JC… I should know I went to school with many of them. I get everyone’s frustration with the speed of the city’s development, but lets not act like when we compare it to what was being developed in this city back in the early 2000s is the same quality and the same amount as they are now. Newark is developing because of both the government who is passing huge amounts of tax breaks for developers along with the market forcing the city to develop.

    This idea that the city will continue to fail or be poor is just contrary to the current direction of the city and the outlook many developers and pushers of this economy have of the city. We can continue to push the city to do better by electing forward looking people and running ourselves, but to sit here and act like the city is holding itself back when the city approves every major development that is proposed, and the city gives developers every tax break they want really goes against this narrative that some of you have built. The city is pushing itself to grow and using all the tools it has available to it, so we should stop pushing this false narrative that it is just being a passive actor here instead of being a major player.

  11. Correction to my comment from months ago. While it is true many projects have not been built inspite the approval , I’m happy to be wrong about the vibe project.

    This is indeed the vibe project.

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