The largest mixed-use project to hit downtown Newark in decades will officially be completed by the end of 2016, and some additional retail in the development will be adding to the revitalization of one of New Jersey’s oldest cities.
Teachers Village, located just blocks from many of Newark’s main attractions like the Prudential Center, is a collection of six new buildings that contain 214 residential units and over 64,000 square feet of retail space. They were designed by Newark-born Richard Meier, an architect behind many iconic buildings including the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Many of Meier’s projects incorporate white geometric designs and Teachers Village is no exception. The first two buildings, at 230 Halsey Street and 24 Maiden Lane, opened up in 2013 to kick off the project, which aimed to replace an area that consisted of surface parking lots seemingly in every direction with a vibrant, walkable community.
Teachers Village is one of the first projects in America to pursue the LEED Neighborhood Development designation by the U.S. Green Building Council, which means the entire venture meets the highest levels of sustainable design and integrates principles of smart growth, new urbanism and green building strategies.
Developer RBH Group says that the final residential building at 17 William Street, with 81 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail, is scheduled to open by the end of this year. Three of Teachers Village’s residential buildings are fully leased, which totals 123 apartments. Over 70% of the residents are educators, which was a particular goal of the project. For those interested, the development has started waiting lists for the apartments that are coming online at the end of this year.
Current retail tenants include consignment shop Closet Savvy, Provident Bank and Chen Early Learning Center. The developer says additional retail stores will be opening in the next 60 days and include a nail salon, a convenience store, and a bakery. In the next six months, the development expects to see several new establishments open their doors, which include several restaurants and a “one-of-a kind fresh food marketplace” they declined to specifically name.
There are also currently three Newark schools that call the project home, including Team Charter School, Discovery Charter School and Great Oaks Charter School. A representative for the development at Soury Communications says that at full build-out, Teachers Village should have approximately 18 retail stores and “a unique 21st-Century classroom concept” that they are currently working on.
The completion of Teachers Village comes at an exciting time for downtown Newark when many planned redevelopment efforts that were derailed by the recession are getting jumpstarted. Several other projects are under construction or in the works along Halsey Street and Dranoff Properties recently announced they will soon break ground on the first new residential tower the city has seen in over 50 years.
While some may have viewed Teachers Village as a risky bet when the project was first pitched at the beginning of this decade, it may someday soon be regarded as the start of something big.