Arts Center and Center Street Owners to break ground on the new expansion of arts and education district in 2022
Exciting vision will create a vibrant neighborhood of shops, restaurants, residences and cultural assets
NEWARK, N.J. (June 28, 2021) – The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has partnered with Center Street Owners and will break ground in 2022 on the next phase of a transformational masterplan that will expand the arts and education district surrounding its theaters, Arts Center leadership announced today.
The approximately $150 million projects will create a vibrant new neighborhood of low-rise and high-rise multifamily buildings, retail establishments, restaurants, and cultural spaces, plus about 15 new townhomes and condos, on a portion of the 7.3 acres of developable land on NJPAC’s riverfront campus. This phase will include a total of roughly 350 rental residences (80% market rate, 20% affordable) that will be erected on the site, in addition to the condos and townhomes, which will be offered for sale.
“Contributing to the ongoing revitalization of Newark’s downtown has always been central to the Arts Center’s mission as the city’s anchor cultural institution,” said John Schreiber, NJPAC’s President and CEO. “This plan is a thoughtful, curated mix of residential buildings, retail environments and cultural resources. We want this new neighborhood to be an exciting place to live, as well as a uniquely engaging destination.”
“NJPAC has been a leader in the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Newark,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “I am thrilled to see this next phase of development around one of New Jersey’s cultural linchpins, which will continue the tremendous progress being made in Newark while embracing its storied past.”
The development, to be built on the Arts Center’s campus, will include a pedestrian-friendly extension of Mulberry Street, across what is now NJPAC’s Lot A parking area, connecting to Rector Street to the North. A simultaneous redesign of NJPAC’s Eastern facade will create a welcoming additional entryway to the Arts Center.
NJPAC has partnered with developers Center Street Owners (CSO), led by L+M Development Partners, to complete the project. CSO is an organization created to develop this new neighborhood around NJPAC. L+M has developed other sites in downtown Newark including Walker House and the Hahne & Co. building. Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments is a partner in the project as well.
“This thoughtful expansion of NJPAC’s arts and education district will further enliven the streets of Newark, with an array of offerings to engage residents and visitors alike,” said Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President, Prudential Inclusive Solutions. “The arts and NJPAC are already a critical driver of growth, and these exciting additions will further our shared goal of making Newark a destination city.”
“We are proud to unveil the transformative plan for the Arts Center in collaboration with NJPAC, which will not only help to lift up the arts community in Newark, but also deliver much-needed mixed-income housing and opportunities for local businesses, retailers, and beloved New Jersey restaurants,” said Ron Moelis, CEO and Co-Founder of L+M Development Partners. “This project is part of our longstanding investment in the revitalization of Newark and together with our public and private partners, we aim to continue addressing the critical needs of the city.”
NJPAC is not financing any of the vertical development; rather, it is providing the guiding vision for the new district, as well as a ground lease for the project. NJPAC and Center Street Owners will be seeking financial support from the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
World-renowned restaurateur and entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson, whose Newark restaurant, Marcus B&P, has become a highlight of the city’s downtown dining scene, is also one of the partners. The centerpiece of the new neighborhood will be a food hall — similar to Boston’s Faneuil Hall or Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, but on a smaller scale — called Mulberry Market, curated by Samuelsson. Mulberry Market will also include educational uses, such as a teaching kitchen that provides community cooking classes.
Celebrated architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), known for its work in creating technically and environmentally advanced buildings and public urban spaces around the globe, has been engaged to design these new facets of NJPAC’s campus.
With early conceptual inspiration and financial support from Prudential Impact & Responsible Investments, the Arts Center undertook master planning this redevelopment in 2019, working with RePlace Urban Studio, a multi-disciplinary agency devoted to rethinking the principles of urban design. The plan created by RePlace and the Arts Center ultimately coalesced into a single vision for NJPAC’s campus: an open, welcoming “public realm” where the arts are activated and experienced both indoors and out. As in Newark’s past, multiple streets and alleys will criss-cross the downtown area, connecting busy thoroughfares and letting in light and air.
The goal of the effort is to integrate cultural assets throughout the Arts Center’s entire campus. In concert with this new development, NJPAC will also break ground in 2022 on its new Cooperman Family Arts Education and Community Center on Center and Mulberry Streets, bringing arts education to the Arts Center’s front yard.
“This is a purpose-designed community that reintroduces a neighborhood fabric lost to mega-block development during the 1950s and 1960s,” said Schreiber. “We are adding streets back to the City where people can live, walk, shop, and dine,” he said.
“The project will create new roads connecting 50 Rector Park with One Theater Square, and the river with Military Park,” said Tim Lizura, the Arts Center’s SVP of Real Estate & Capital Projects. “The buildings on Mulberry Street are limited to six stories to achieve a more human scale,” he said.
“The redevelopment of NJPAC’s campus will be a game-changing step forward for the evolution of Newark’s downtown, creating an ideal live-work-play environment in the city’s heart — and making more affordable housing available for families of all kinds,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
“Newark’s development over the past several years has been a remarkable success story, and this project will amplify that success,” said Steven M. Goldman, Co-Chair of NJPAC’s Board of Directors.
“The addition of new homes, new businesses, and new places for visitors and residents to explore will bring even greater excitement to Newark’s streets. This is the kind of impact that Governor Kean envisioned when he first proposed NJPAC decades ago. It’s inspiring to see that vision brought to life so fully,” Goldman added.
“This exciting venture will help further transform downtown Newark into a livable, walkable community where people can work, live and play,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. “It leverages the neighborhood’s prime location, center for arts, culture, and education, and access to mass transit. The new shops, restaurants, mixed housing, including about 70 affordable units, all anchored by a grand market, will make the area an attractive destination for residents and visitors alike.”
“With projects like Walker House and the Hahne & Co. Building, we’ve seen what a difference the influx of new residents and new businesses can make for Newark’s neighborhoods. This expansion of the Arts Center’s campus will contribute to the reactivation of the city’s streets, and offer Newarkers an affordable and welcoming new place to call home,” said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex).
The development will break ground in 2022, with completion in 2024.
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New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, N.J., is America’s most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and art enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors, and served almost 1.9 million children and families, since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.
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L+M Development Partners
Since its inception in 1984, L+M Development Partners Inc. has been an innovator in developing quality affordable, mixed-income and market-rate housing, while improving the neighborhoods in which it works. A full-service firm, L+M works from conception to completion, handling development, investment, construction and management with creativity that leads the industry. L+M is responsible for approximately $10 billion in development and investment, and has acquired, built or preserved nearly 35,000 high-quality residential units in New York’s tristate area, Washington, D.C., the West Coast and Gulf Coast regions. Community leaders, government officials and institutional investors turn to L+M because of its consistent track record of excellence.
L+M is a double bottom line company, where its success is measured not only in financial returns but also by positive impacts. L+M takes pride in its long-standing partnership with the communities it serves, demonstrated through an annual scholarship fund, workforce development programs, after-school programs, and substantial support for local nonprofits. L+M brings a superior level of commitment to its investments in developments, and equally important, to its investment in people. For more information, please visit lmdevpartners.com.