Construction is starting to wrap up at One Theater Square, the 22-story mixed-use building at 2 Center Street in Downtown Newark. Last week, Jersey Digs got a look inside the high-rise, which will include 245 units, conference rooms, a business center, a substation for the Newark Police Department (NPD) along Park Place, and 13,111 square feet of first-floor retail space near the corner of Mulberry Street. There is also a private garage with 285 parking spaces on the premises, which are situated opposite the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and across Park Place from Military Park.
Already, residents of the building, which was developed by NJPAC and Dranoff Properties, have begun moving in and a ribbon cutting ceremony has been scheduled for the beginning of October. Around half of the current residents and those who are looking to move in are Newarkers, according to David Smith of Dranoff, while the rest are moving into the city for the first time.
Designed by BLT Architects out of Center City Philadelphia, One Theater Square consists of studios along with a mixture of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments, many of which include balconies and views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Jersey City, and the First Watchung Mountain. A lottery for the 24 units that have been designated as “affordable housing” was held on August 1.
Construction on the building’s outdoor terrace, billiards room, and demonstration kitchen is expected to be completed by the beginning of September and work is still underway on finishing the three already-leased penthouses on the top floor.
While other projects are just being proposed now in Downtown Newark, housing near NJPAC has been planned for over 20 years and One Theater Square itself has been in the works for 13 years. Construction finally began toward the end of 2016 at the site, which is owned by the Theater Square Development Company. It previously contained a surface parking lot and a two-story building that was partially used by the NPD.
The $116 million development is being constructed with plenty of public and private assistance, according to NJ Advance Media, including $33 million worth of tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and an $11 million loan from City Hall.
This is NJPAC’s first residential property and is Dranoff’s first development in the New York Metropolitan Area. The Philadelphia-based company, which recently announced plans to sell its apartment buildings in the City of Brotherly Love, is also responsible for redeveloping the RCA building near the Delaware River in Camden into lofts and stores. Meanwhile, NJPAC has two other development sites, according to a listing from JLL.
Although there have been adaptive reuse projects like Eleven80 and the 15 Washington Street Apartments, Newark has not seen an apartment building of this size be built from scratch since Zion and Carmel Towers were completed nearly 50 years ago in the South Ward near Weequahic Park. While One Theater Square may be the first new high-rise in the city to be completed, the first Shaq Tower on Rector Street is also moving closer towards the finish line and multiple projects like The Halo on Washington Street, Riverfront Square on Broad Street, the second Shaq Tower on McCarter Highway, and a 42-story tower are in the pipeline.