Renderings Detail Plans for NJIT/NHA Building in Newark

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Central Avenue Njit Nha Office Retail Newark
Five-story commercial project, Newark. Rendering via Colliers International.

While most new developments in Newark have largely consisted of residential units, an upcoming building in the University Heights neighborhood of the city’s Central Ward will be occupied by offices and retail space. Now, Jersey Digs has learned new information about the project.

The five-story structure that will be built on properties such as 209-221 Central Avenue, 11-21 Hoyt Street, 64-68 Sussex Avenue, and 20-22 Lock Street will include a combined 12,645 square feet of retail space, according to a listing from Colliers International. The listing also states that the building will be available during the fourth quarter of 2019 and that there will be 34 dedicated parking spaces and a loading area for the four 16-foot-high retail spaces.

Renderings from Netta Architects show that the property’s planned six-story parking garage, which a legal notice from last year stated would include 430 spaces, would be located behind the building. The development would include a fifth-floor terrace and prominently feature the letters “NHA” on the side, according to the renderings, a reference to the Newark Housing Authority, which owns the site. The agency, along with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Claremont Construction, is behind the proposal for this Newark Central Planning Board-approved development.

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The 125,000-square-foot building’s fourth and fifth floors would contain space for NJIT, according to the website of Concord Consulting Engineering PC, with office space on the third floor and retail space taking up the first and second floors.

The NHA owns properties throughout the city, several of which are currently vacant. The agency, which runs Newark’s low-income public housing complexes, revealed in its 2018 annual plan that it currently has nearly 15,000 people on the waiting list. In fact, the waiting list for family public housing is currently closed.

It is not stated in the listing or anywhere on the NHA’s website if any of the building’s office space would be used by the authority itself. However, in May 2016, the NHA’s Board of Commissioners voted to allow then-Executive Director Keith Kinard to enter into an agreement with Assurance Realty Group for a “potential sale” of the NHA headquarters at 500-506 Broad Street. Assurance was to receive a commission of four percent of the purchase price, according to a resolution at the time. Then, last July, the Board of Commissioners voted to sell the office building for $10.5 million to a New York-based company called Sheila Properties and subsequently lease it for two years.

The resolution regarding the Broad Street property has not received any publicity until this report, though the FBI paid a visit to the office building earlier this year, according to NJ Advance Media. The reason for the raid has yet to be revealed.

As we reported last fall, Claremont Construction, which also goes by Claremont Companies, is also working on other projects in the vicinity of the upcoming development. The company is involved in a development with the NHA and NJIT at nearby 243-245 Central Avenue that is being referred to in NHA paperwork as “Claremont at Central Ave.” The complex, which will be constructed at the site of NJIT parking lots, is expected to include 22 units for the NHA along with retail, office, and collegiate space.

In addition, records from NJIT show that the university and Claremont are planning to construct a mixed-use project at the site of the Warren Street Elementary School, which a Claremont subsidiary purchased earlier this year from the NHA. Plus, the Far Hills-based developer is registered out of the same address as the LLC that owns the vacant Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal on Broad Street in Downtown, but Claremont has not immediately returned a request for comment regarding their plans for that property.

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