New Images Emerge as Phase One of $336 Million NJPAC Renovation Begins

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Future Green. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

One of the largest concert and event venues in the heart of Downtown Newark will be getting a facelift plus some new park space as the initial portion of a major redevelopment effort around the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is officially underway.

Construction recently began on Chambers Plaza, the outdoor space in front of the NJPAC. The work, which will continue through the end of the calendar year, constitutes the first phase of a three-year, $336 million redevelopment project that will transform the Arts Center’s 12-acre campus.

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Future Green. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

The redesign of Chambers Plaza includes the creation of the Essex County Green, which is named in recognition of a $5 million grant from the County. The reimagined space, designed by Brooklyn-based landscape architecture studio Future Green, will sport new rain gardens, lighting and seating, and a landscape that will enable programs, markets and classes to be held year-round.

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Future Green. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

“This reimagining of our ‘front yard’ will make it possible for NJPAC to host even more community events and outdoor gatherings,” says John Schreiber, NJPAC’s President and CEO. “We’re endlessly grateful to Ray Chambers and the Chambers family, and to Essex County, especially County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, for their support of this project.”

NJPAC, along with parking lot A, the box office, and Nico Kitchen + Bar, will remain open and accessible throughout construction.

Fans of NJPAC’s long-running Horizon Sounds of the City free summer concert series need not worry, as the events will continue this summer thanks to a phased construction schedule. It will kick off on June 27 with an opening night appearance by Felix Hernandez and his Rhythm Revue Dance Party as a part of the North to Shore Festival.

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The proposed Cooperman Center. Courtesy of NJPAC.

The refresh of Chambers Plaza is the first piece of a campus-wide redevelopment project for NJPAC. Expected to conclude by 2027, the plans include the construction of The Cooperman Family Arts Education and Community Center as well as the construction of a new pedestrian-friendly extension of Mulberry Street across the Arts Center’s campus to Rector Street.

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ArtSide. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

NJPAC’s plans also include a mixed-use development called ArtSide set to feature 350 residential rental units and retail and cultural spaces along the extension of Mulberry Street. Twenty percent of the residential units in the development will be set aside as affordable housing.

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ArtSide. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

The ArtSide project is a joint effort between the NJPAC and developers Center Street Owners (CSO), a group that includes LMXD and Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the celebrated architecture firm, is designing the new neighborhood, which will be built on what is now the Arts Center’s Parking Lot A.

“When Governor Tom Kean and Ray Chambers first imagined NJPAC in the late 1980s, they hoped the Arts Center would be the center of a beautiful new Newark neighborhood,” says Schreiber. “When the work is completed in 2027, all the new amenities on our campus will contribute enormously to the ongoing revitalization of Newark’s downtown.”


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