- Developers are planning to invest between $700 million and $1 billion into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development in Newark, New Jersey, according to Bloomberg. The move is the latest sign that the town with a reputation for poverty and crime is finally starting to benefit from the urban renewal efforts that has propped up other areas close to Manhattan.
- New York City-based SJP Properties' and Aetna Realty's preliminary plans for the 2-million-square-foot, high-density development next to Newark Broad Street rail and light-rail station includes a public plaza, housing, retail, offices and a hotel. The first order of business, SJP CEO Steven J. Pozycki told Bloomberg, is to secure an anchor tenant for the project, which will be built on the site of a former Westinghouse Electric Co. plant.
- New Jersey is a proponent of high-density developments around rail stations, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has expressed support for transit-oriented megaprojects as a way to beef up mass transit ridership, lessen pollution and increase the city's stock of affordable housing.
No doubt Baraka and other local and state officials are also trying to make the city more attractive to Amazon, which put Newark on its shortlist of 20 possible sites for a $5 billion, second North American headquarters dubbed HQ2. The complex, which the internet retailing giant said would eventually host up to 50,000 employees, would be an economic boon for the city and thousands of local construction workers.
In February, another developer announced plans for a $1.7 billion development in Newark, a transit-oriented project called Riverfront Square, that would feature three mass timber buildings. Since building with wood, according to Curbed New York, is looked upon favorably by tech companies, city and state officials are hoping the trio, the largest of which is an 11-story, 500,000-square-foot tower, will help entice Amazon.
And, of course, the HQ2 hopefuls, including Newark, are also loosening the public purse strings as an enticement for Amazon.
Until Maryland offered up a whopping $8.5 billion of tax breaks and other incentives in an effort to sway Amazon toward making Montgomery County, Maryland, its No. 1 choice, New Jersey and Newark combined had the biggest benefits package of all 20 candidates at a total of up to $7 billion. The state, according to the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, has offered up to $5 billion – $10,000 per job per year for 10 years. To qualify for that break, Amazon must create a minimum of 30,000 jobs. The city of Newark has committed up to $2 billion of tax breaks through long-term tax exemptions – the same given to all new developments – and a state payroll tax holiday. Both state and local packages are contingent on Amazon creating the jobs it promises.