Latest Addition to Newark’s Skyline Reaches 22nd Floor

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One Theater Square | Credit: BLT Architects

There’s a new building towering over Newark, and for the first time in the recent history of the city’s downtown district, nearly all of it will contain residential space.

A ceremony was held in late September to celebrate the fact that construction on the tower portion of the new One Theater Square development has reached the 22nd floor, according to a statement from the project engineer. The new mixed-use building, which will stretch along Center Street from Park Place to Mulberry Street when completed next summer, is named for its location directly across the street from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), which is one of Newark’s major tourist attractions.

In fact, NJPAC is a partner in this project, which is being developed by Philadelphia developer Carl Dranoff of Dranoff Properties with the assistance of The Harman Group, BLT Architects, Prudential, Fifth Third Bank, the City, and the State. When completed, according to the project website, it will include 245 residential rental units, 24 of them will be “affordable,” along with 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and 285 parking spaces. The apartments will include studios, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, and three-bedrooms, and there will also be a pool, deck, gym, and police substation on the premises. From most of the upper floors of the building, there are views of nearly the whole region, from the entire Manhattan skyline to the east to the First Watchung Mountain to the west.

The apartments will include studios, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, and three-bedrooms, and there will also be a pool, deck, gym, and police substation on the premises. From most of the upper floors of the building, there are views of nearly the whole region, from the entire Manhattan skyline to the east to the First Watchung Mountain to the west.

one theater square newark construction
Construction progress as of June 2017

Last year, NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber told Jersey Digs that “there has always been the intention that NJPAC be part of the residential development of the city,” adding that “our goal is to be one of the catalysts for Newark becoming a 24/7 live, work, and play destination.”

At the time, Schreiber adding that some of the surface parking lots nearby that are under NJPAC’s control could also become the site of development.

The topping off of this structure, which can be seen in this time lapse, is a sign that Downtown Newark is transitioning into being a residential neighborhood in addition to its current status as center for commerce, retail, and the arts. Although Downtown is surrounded by residential areas such as the Ironbound and the James Street Commons Historic District, this part of the city has had very few residents until this recent surge in development.

Recently, however, developers have been attracted to Downtown Newark in part because of its location and access to transportation, with PATH, the Newark Light Rail, New Jersey Transit commuter trains, public and intercity bus service, and Newark Liberty International Airport all nearby.

Although cities to the east, like Jersey City, have regularly been seeing new high-rise residential buildings, this is the first of its kind to be constructed from the ground up in Newark this century. The city has seen projects of a shorter height such as 999 Broad and the residential component of the Hahne & Company development, as well as adaptive reuse projects like Eleven80, but nothing of this sort since high-rises were constructed decades ago in the South Ward near Weequahic Park.

The nearby National Newark Building has been the tallest building in Newark for the last 86 years, but as new projects continue to be proposed as the city’s population grows again, it is likely that those years could be numbered. Dranoff told Jersey Digs last year that “every city and every region has their time when all the stars are aligned,” explaining that “Newark’s time has come.”

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