NJPAC is a performing arts center with mission at its heart. Part of that mission is being Newark’s, and the State of New Jersey’s, anchor cultural institution. As a contributor to the city’s revitalization, we want our downtown to be a place that bustles with life and energy morning, noon and night—weekends and weekdays alike.
How have we done that? The first step was bringing audiences to downtown Newark for concerts, civic discussions and celebrations here at NJPAC and offering free community engagement events throughout the city’s five wards.
The second step came in 2018, when we threw open the doors of One Theater Square, the first new construction market-rate high-rise residential tower to be built in Newark in 60 years. It’s right on our campus, across Center Street from Prudential Hall.
We’ve recently taken another huge step and begun masterplanning the redevelopment of the 6.1 acres of available land surrounding NJPAC.
You can see an artist’s rendering here of our best hopes for this new space: an open, welcoming “public realm” where the arts and artists can come outside and reach people on the street. This vibrant space will center on a walkable, inviting extension of Mulberry Street, across what is now our parking lot, through to Rector Street.
On one side of this corridor, we plan to build two low-rise apartment buildings, with four or five floors of apartments above a ground floor that opens onto the main corridor, filled with restaurants and cultural assets like art galleries or music clubs.
Along Center Street, we plan to build another high-rise apartment building—again with shops and restaurants on its ground floor—and, facing the Passaic riverfront, twenty-four townhomes.
And we’re leaving open an area to the north of NJPAC where another entertainment property can take root. This could be anything from a museum to a food hall or a screening room, so long as it complements the Arts Center and brings a greater variety of recreational options to downtown.
This plan calls for a thoughtful, curated mix of retail environments and cultural resources—the ideal blend of things to see and do, to listen to and learn from. We want it to be an exciting place to live, and an enticing destination for Jerseyans from all over to visit.
And all of this will be just across Center Street from the new Cooperman Family Education and Community Center we’re already committed to building, enhancing an entire district and strengthening our community.
It’s an ambitious plan, but the Newark real estate market has incredible momentum right now. One Theater Square was one of the first exceptional residential developments in downtown, and it opened just after the restored Hahne & Co Building, with its arts accelerator, Express Newark, and gleaming new Whole Foods Market, brought a jolt of new energy to the Military Park neighborhood. These projects were quickly followed by the 50 Rector Park, WalkerHouse and Kislak Building projects, and more are still coming on board. (That’s not even getting into the non-residential developments like Audible’s Innovation Cathedral.)
Everyone can see the new life in Newark—and the enormous potential it still has for all of us.