Posts tagged with "Newark":

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Queen Latifah is building affordable housing in Newark this year

Hometown star and Newark, New Jersey-born native Queen Latifah is a developer now. The rapper, actress, and producer is investing in a $14 million development of market-rate and affordable units as co-president of the Blue Sugar Corporation, alongside Jersey-based Gonsosa Development. The project will consist of 20 three-family townhomes with market-rate units and a three-story mixed-use building. That building will contain 1,900 square feet of commercial space for local nonprofits, as well as a fitness center and 16 units of affordable housing. Latifah, through a spokesperson, has indicated that she wanted to address the need for affordable housing in Newark, where more than 20,000 families paid over 50 percent of their income for rent, according to a 2017 study. The project was initially proposed as two mixed-income buildings with more affordable housing, totaling 115 units. But the developer was denied the low-income tax credit by the state, and the project scope was shifted to include more market-rate housing, in which rents will start at $1,800 a month. Renderings for the as-yet-unnamed development show a facade of connected townhouses with alternating bays of wood-faced main volumes and recessed gray brick entrance areas. Initial site plans show the development will take over an entire block bordering Springfield Avenue and South 17th Street. The project is scheduled to begin construction this summer, and the 60 units of market-rate housing are expected to be completed by December 2020. The mixed-use building will be done the following year in 2021.
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Riverfront Square will stitch Newark, New Jersey’s tech corridor together

Could Newark, New Jersey, be the Northeast's next big tech hub? It already boasts the region's most advanced fiber-optic network and serves as home to digital giants like Audible.com, an Amazon company. No wonder it was a top contender for HQ2. Though it didn’t win the bid, one major project that’s been in planning for three years could raise the city’s status to the next level. An upcoming development in the heart of downtown Newark promises to be a vital, mixed-use community for innovative companies. Riverfront Square, envisioned by local firm Lotus Equity Group, will be built steps away from the Passaic River and feature up to 2.3 million square feet of office, residential, hospitality, cultural space, and more within the city’s burgeoning tech sector, the Broad Street Corridor. Lotus has tapped TEN Arquitectos, Michael Green Architecture, Minno & Wasko, and Practice for Architecture & Urbanism (PAU) to design individual buildings for the 12-acre site as part of a masterplan by PAU. Built out in seven phases, the project will sit atop the old Newark Bears baseball stadium, which will be demolished later this year to make way for the first housing structure, a curved linear building built over a five-story, mixed-used base clad in brick. Designed by PAU, the elongated structure will be set at the edge of Riverfront Square along the Essex Freeway.  In an interview with AN in 2017, Vishaan Chakrabarti of PAU said the city lacks a "connective tissue" to link its many cultural and educational institutions together. Riverfront Square, he said, will be a sort of "renaissance for Newark" with a focus on tech. Initial renderings reveal the first four phases of construction, which will add 1,300 workforce housing units and half-a-million square-feet of commercial office space to the site. Phase 1 of construction is set to break ground this summer. At the core of the development will be a mass timber building, touted as the tallest of its kind in the United States, by Vancouver architect Michael Green. The 12-story office structure appears in renderings to be three separate structures, but in reality, the building features a continuous floorplate connected by a full-height atrium. With 500,000 square feet of office space, it will also include ground floor retail, a café, and restaurants to help ignite what the developers want to become a 24/7 district. It will be built on the site’s southwestern corner. David Linehan, Lotus’s architect and development manager for Riverfront Square, said setting up a sustainable environment to benefit Newark (and lure people in) is a key component of the project, one that the city understands and is committed to backing. “It’s difficult to get newer products and ideas like using mass timber for large-scale projects through current codes, especially in New York,” he said. “For Newark, we’re working with the State of New Jersey to take a look at existing codes that allow timber to be used at this level. The city sees it as an opportunity to be at the forefront of what’s clearly going to be a major part of the future construction industry in the U.S.” During the second phase of construction, four rectangular towers will be raised at the southern edge of the site along Broad Street. Enrique Norten will design the buildings, which will be offset slightly from each other in order to maximize light, air, and views of New York’s skyline. They’re likely to feature a metal panel and glass facade. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will provide a plan for the site's green spaces, which will turn a very urban, concrete area into a nature-filled leisure and cultural retreat for residents and local workers. The landscape will aim to increase downtown's connection to the adjacent Newark Riverfront Park, an on-going landscape development that received an award-winning initial design by Lee Weintraub in 2013. James Corner Field Operations is slated to create an additional 15 acres of space for the park in the coming years. 
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Retro-futurist tower set to make its mark on eastern New Jersey

Development along New Jersey’s PATH transit line continues to boom, and the latest town to feel the effect is Harrison, Newark's eastern neighbor. As first reported by Jersey Digs, Manhattan’s GRO Architects have been tapped to design a multi-block, mixed-use development that includes what will become the town’s tallest tower. The office tower, with its sloping, biomorphic massing, is set to rise 20 stories and will sit on top of a “floating” retail podium. Both sections will feature rounded punch windows and filleted corners, as well as linear metal fins, used as horizontal louvers on the tower portion. The tower itself will contain an as-of-yet unspecified amount of hotel space and 242,276 square feet of offices, with 15,027 square feet of retail below. The building is just one piece of the Harrison North of Guyon (NOG) project, an 11-acre redevelopment of the land just north of Harrison’s New Jersey PATH station. A large glass wall has been carved from the office tower's skin and will offer up views of the rest of the project to the north along with sweeping views of the adjacent Passaic River, which wraps around and bounds Harrison. The development will include three mixed-use buildings which will all contain residential and commercial space—up to 518 residential units and 85,000 square feet of retail—as well as three or four eight-story parking structures. A public square has also been included, potentially with a movie theater and bowling alley. NOG will be constructed in two phases and will adhere to the Harrison Waterfront Redevelopment plan, which, according to New York YIMBY, advises “neo-traditional downtown styling.” The seven-story buildings will be without front setbacks to encourage walkability, with the ground floors of each set aside for retail. The residential portions will likely contain a mix of studios and one-bedroom apartments. The development will also include a new glassy Harrison PATH Station entrance and capital investments in the surrounding roadways. According to Richard Garber, Partner at GRO Architects, the aim of the project was to create a sense of place in a location frequented by commuters from all over the tristate area. One of the challenges will be to attract residents from Jersey City and Hoboken, other cities along the PATH that are easily reachable from Manhattan. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with no completion date given at the time of writing.
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Adjaye Associates delivers a high-design switching station in Newark

Switching stations, a necessary part of our electrified lives, are normally ugly as hell. From afar, the assemblage can look like sculpture, all painted metal and catenaries, but up close, the infrastructure in harder to appreciate, and even harder to accept in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Out in Newark, electricity provider PSE&G heard neighbors when they demanded the company's new switching station be a) beautiful and b) a real community asset. It took four years of planning to get there, but on a recent Wednesday, a stylish crowd of Newark residents gathered to celebrate the opening of an Adjaye Associates–designed switching station in the city's Fairmount Heights neighborhood. The 177,000-square-foot Fairmont Heights Switching Station commands a good chunk of a full city block, but it harmonizes easily with its more modest, three-story neighbors. To strike a coolheaded balance between the industrial structure and the existing residential fabric, Adjaye Associates' New York office worked with local firm WSM Associates to encase the switching station's unsightly components behind an art wall, a 1,790-foot-long concrete and aluminum edifice embedded with permanent works by 14 artists. While two of the works anchor the concrete portion of the facade, most of the pieces are mounted up high, near the top of the 30-foot walls, in niches that interrupt tastefully gold and subtly curved perforated aluminum screens. The most remarkable feature, however, is a concrete-columned agora at the front of the building whose two rows of 34-foot-high red columns support geometric canopies that cast complicated shadows on the sidewalk below. The arrangement can hold other artworks in suspension, but it also defines an otherwise throwaway cutout in the perimeter that can now be used for a market or other community events. In his remarks, Mayor Ras Baraka joked about Newark's seemingly forever-ongoing revitalization. Alluding to the process that created the building he stood in front of, Baraka called art and collaboration—between public and private, between community and architect—the "secret sauce" of successful neighborhood revitalization. Like other new, high-design public amenities in the tristate area, this project was brought on by Hurricane Sandy. In the immediate aftermath of the 2012 storm, local utilities took a beating, leaving around nine in ten of Newark's residents without power. In response, PSE&G began upgrading its infrastructure to anticipate overloads, and it planned a switching station in Fairmount Heights to improve its resilience in the face of extreme weather events. Adjaye Associates worked with the company, arts groups, and elected officials to deliver a design that exceeded expectations. "What I've learned in architecture and design is that, when the opportunity seems complicated, that's when your creativity has to rise to that opportunity," firm principal David Adjaye told the crowd. "One gets opportunities to work in amazing places, but it's actually much more rewarding to work in places people think design will not come to. [Here] we wanted to create something that would make a place." Outside Newark, Adjaye's firm has a number of projects in process or recently completed. The architect just revealed updated designs for a new public library in Winter Park, Florida, and earlier this month, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spotted crews working on 130 William, Adjaye Associate's first New York skyscraper. Although the firm is best known for its work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its latest commission, a Manhattan espionage museum, opened to the public in Feburary.
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Michael Green Architecture brings mass timber tower to New Jersey

Half a million square feet of mass timber office space is coming to downtown Newark, New Jersey, thanks to international firm Michael Green Architecture (MGA) and New York–based developer Lotus Equity Group. Lotus has described the project as the largest timber office building in the United States, and the tower will anchor Riverfront Square, a massive 11.8-acre, mixed-use development in Newark’s Central Business District. The building itself will forgo the typical steel and concrete core, instead using cross-laminated timber (CLT) beams and panels, and rise from a concrete foundation. Most of the project’s space seems horizontally aligned, as the building is composed of three stepped volumes that top out with the 11-story tower. This makes sense, as mass timber high-rises are still a touchy regulatory topic; the Wall Street Journal notes that the tallest timber building previously approved in New Jersey was only six stories tall. While the core, slabs, and wall panels will all be made from wood, the facade of the building will likely be clad in brick, metal paneling, or more wood. The structural elements will remain exposed throughout the interior and create a warm, welcoming environment inside. Outdoors, employees will be able to make use of several roof decks and related amenities. “Good buildings are good neighbors and we envision a sustainable, efficient and architecturally-stunning future for Newark,” said Michael Green, founder and principal of Michael Green Architecture, in a press release sent to The Architect's Newspaper (AN). MGA is no stranger to timber construction, as 95 percent of the studio’s projects are in wood. Part of their commitment is driven by environmental concerns, as concrete and steel production accounts for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Conversely, timber buildings sequester carbon dioxide in the wood and can reduce a project’s environmental footprint. The development of Riverfront Square is being led a number of high-profile architecture firms, including TEN Arquitectos, Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, and MGA. Once completed, Riverfront Square should bring up to 2,000 residential apartments, 2 million square feet of Class A office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, 185,000 square feet of hotel space, 31 maker spaces, and a 30,000-square-foot arts and cultural area to downtown Newark. The drive to attract tech talent to Newark is likely motivated in part by Amazon’s search for a city to build their second headquarters in; Newark made the 20-city shortlist released last month, after promising $7 billion in tax incentives to the tech giant.
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Newark development-oriented rezoning fiercely disputed in public meetings

At a Newark City Council meeting last Wednesday, tensions ran high as residents loudly protested the Council's discussion of new zoning proposals intended to increase density in the city. Among the measures on the table was a riverfront rezoning proposal that would allow for developments up to 40 stories high in some areas. Another would allow construction in the Ironbound (an unincorporated community near Penn Station) to rise to 12 stories. Both areas include a good deal of vacant property that would be redeveloped as high-rise buildings if these proposals pass. By the end of the meeting, the riverfront zoning proposal was moved to the next step of approval, while the Ironbound proposal was deferred. A separate inclusionary zoning ordinance devoted to incorporating low- to middle-income housing in new developments was also deferred, despite Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's months-long pursuit to push it forward. It would require buildings with 30 or more units to devote 20 percent or more for low- and middle-income residents, or contribute the funds required to build those units in other projects. Mayor Baraka expressed his concerns that the two separate measures – the go-ahead for new development and the ordinance promoting affordable housing – would be passed at separate times, allowing developers to forgo any responsibility to set aside affordable housing in the new buildings. "I do not think we should pass anything if we can't pass everything," he remarked at the meeting. The Council's audience agreed. A group of residents were escorted out of the hall by police. https://twitter.com/karen_yi/status/910745981788008448 Community activists like Nancy Zak (of the Ironbound Community Corporation) told NJ.com that she felt this move on the city's part was a "betrayal" to the locals who had worked for years with the city and developers on Newark's master plan and its riverfront development plan.
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Newark’s Bears stadium will be replaced by a 2.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development

Is it finally Newark’s time to shine? Recent projects, like James Corner Field Operation’s Passaic Riverfront Park revitalization and now the redevelopment of Bears & Eagle Riverfront Stadium, have slowly been pushing the city into developers' line of sight.

Ever since the minor league Newark Bears baseball team folded in 2014, the stadium once touted as a “saving grace” has been left largely empty. It was then sold for $23.5 million in 2016 to developers Lotus Equity Group, who will lead the redevelopment of its site in hopes that the project will spur a revival of the city's downtown. 

Lotus chose Vishaan Chakrabarti of New York–based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) to lead the master plan as well as a portion of the architectural design. The master plan includes turning the eight-acre site into a 2.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development. It aims to be, as Chakrabarti said to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), a “renaissance for Newark.”

He said the city is currently anchored by its institutions: the Newark Museum, Newark Library, Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). What the city lacks, however, is a connective tissue, according to Chakrabarti. Wide streets designed for automobiles create “a kind of physical archipelago,” he said, describing how “every institution is an island onto itself.”

What will be replacing Bears stadium is a dense, mixed-use development made up of residential, office, retail, and cultural space, with an emphasis on community-centered programming. Two housing blocks and one commercial office block will make up the master plan's superblock; a piazza in the middle will hold retail shops and host public programs. There are also plans to bring another cultural venue into the site, which will tie the development back into the city and the surrounding institutions.

Pedestrian movement will be prioritized. Parking garages will be relegated underground, streets will be designed with the pedestrian and non-automobile transportation in mind, and there are plans to only have one shared street for automobiles running through the site.

Chakrabarti, Michael Green of Vancouver, British Columbia–based Michael Green Architecture, and Enrique Norten of New York–based TEN Arquitectos will be leading the design for the three main buildings. “We wanted three different architects from three different places, with each one bringing different sensitivities,” Ben Korman, founder of Lotus Equity, said, adding that the mix of designs will bring a “creative tension.” 

The site’s proximity to educational institutions, certain tech industries, and transit infrastructure (Penn Station is 15 minutes away by train) will help attract Manhattanites looking to move out of the city as well as those who work in Newark, according to Korman.

“It is a transforming project,” Korman said. “Ultimately the vision is to create a significant project that would serve as a model for others to follow.”

The designs and plans are scheduled to be completed by mid-2018, with groundbreaking tentatively aimed for early 2019.

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Richard Meier’s new project is for students and teachers in Newark

Who could possibly make Richard Meier work in anything but white? Someone with a good plan and a strong vision (well, also this guy). Deep in downtown Newark, New Jersey, Richard Meier & Partners, working for developer RBH Group, has put another round of finishing touches on a multi-building development called Teachers Village. Though technically "mixed-use," the Teachers Village spirit is more in line with a cheery contemporary mill town, or a little Columbus, Indiana. In a postindustrial twist, the project's affordable and market-rate residences were marketed first towards teachers and their families (though other workers are welcome, too). The complex's three apartment buildings by Meier feature 123 residential units. Each unit is sunny, owing to the ring of (to-be-developed) surface parking surrounding much of the Village and to the floor-to-ceiling windows in the common spaces. The scheme has proved popular so far—as of mid-February, the buildings are almost fully leased. Some of the residents teach at the development's three charter schools (two designed by Meier). On a recent tour, reporters ascended an outdoor stair on a skywalk between the two schools, topped by a few circular skylights, and filed along a catwalk above the spacious gymnasium. After school hours, residents can play basketball on the indoor courts, which barely need overhead lighting thanks to ecclesiastic south-facing windows. RBH Group wanted the project to integrate with Newark's beautiful but worn streets nearby. The design team worked with the city's Landmarks & Historic Preservation Commission to envision structures that would reflect Newark's scale and vernacular. The result: Meier used red brick for the first time since the 1960s. Well, not true red brick. The material, used on one of the schools, is inflected with iron, projecting a soft metallic glow in the right light, a still-earthy foil to white aluminum panel– and stucco-clad buildings nearby. Some of the window-adjacent brick is arranged in a sawtooth pattern, establishing visual continuity with the low-slung commercial storefronts nearby detailed with decorative brick and terra-cotta tiles. This is deeply intentional. Teachers Village harmonizes with the surrounding city, but it's more than a patch in the urban fabric. The project on target to receive LEED Neighborhood Development certification, a hard-to-get designation awarded to community-scale projects that evince sustainable design and smart urban development. Lined with street-level retail, buildings along the Halsey Street corridor are not more than four stories tall, in keeping with Newark's low-rise character and growth goals outlined in the latest master plan. Teachers are less than a 15-minute walk to the nearest PATH and NJ Transit stations, near the Prudential Center and three city parks. All told, the six buildings of Teachers Village's first phase include three schools, 65,000 square feet of retail, and residential programs spread out over 23 acres south of Market Street and west of Broad Street. The development is part of what could be, by 2050, a 15 million-square-foot development with a 200-room hotel, 550,000 square feet of retail and cultural programming, 4.75 million square feet of office space, and up to 8,000 residential units. The project broke ground in 2012, and buildings have been coming online for the past four years. A mix of residential and retail, Building VI (243 Halsey Street) has just recently opened its doors to new tenants. "Newark doesn't have the best reputation," said Meier, who was born in the city. "It needs this kind of development to help others realize that Newark's an important city. Any project we can do to help the whole city—we're proud to do it." Editor's Note: This article initially stated that 206 units were constructed in Phase One. There are 123. In addition, the article was updated to include the project's overall development capacity.  
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Newark Public Library hosts a community-created architectural model of Newark

The Newark Public Library is celebrating the city's 350th anniversary with a study of its urban planning history. Every Block in Newark is an exhibit made possible through a collaboration among 150 local artists, architects, and community members that aims to give insight into the many decisions and processes that led to the city's current form. The centerpiece of this installation is a 14-foot-wide scale model of the city of Newark, the first complete model of its kind. 30,000 individual models were crafted from styrene and cardboard; their bright colors designate the use of each structure. Built at 1:250 scale, the average two-story home is roughly 1/8 inches tall. The entire model is built on a surface of milled plywood that shows the hills and valleys of Newark's landscape. Architectural students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and volunteers from the community took several years to build the model. The Mayor's Office of Arts, People Power Planning Newark, and Newark Celebration 350 also collaborated with the library to bring the project to life. The exhibition will also feature geographic quilts and historic planning materials from the public library's archives, including master plans, community plans, and urban renewal reports. These documents will give insight into the processes that led to the city's modern day shape. Also on display are some of the artworks of Bisa Washington, a sculptor, printmaker, and writer who lives and works in Newark. Newark was originally founded in 1666 by Robert Treat and other Connecticut Puritans from the New Haven Colony. It is currently the second-largest city in the New York Metropolitan area, and contains the largest container shipping terminal on the East Coast. The Newark Public Library is located at 5 Washington Street and will have the model on display until September 15, when the exhibit will move to Newark City Hall. The contributing architects were: Damon Rich, partner, Hector Urban Design, Planning & Civic Arts, and founder, Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) Tony Schuman, associate professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology Jae Shin, partner, Hector Urban Design, Planning & Civic Arts
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Richard Meier In For the Long Haul In Newark

As construction continues at Richard Meier’s Teachers Village in Newark, renderings have surfaced for a significant batch of glassy towers that could rise alongside it. At first glance, the master plan looks like Hudson Yards' glossy, younger sibling who is vying for attention on the other side of the Hudson. But the project remains as ephemeral as its glassy renderings. The SoMa—or "South of Market"—Redevelopment Project, as it's known, is also designed by the starchitect and Newark native, and is being developed by RBH. Field Operations and Arup are also lending their skills to the project. The plan is in its early days and Meier’s office told AN they are focused on finishing the current phase of Teacher’s Village. Three new residential buildings at the site are expected to open this year. As for SoMa, the entire project is aiming for a 2025 opening, so mark your calendar now. [Via YIMBY.]
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Richard Meier Opens First Phase of New Complex in His Hometown of Newark

Richard Meier has returned to his roots with the opening of his latest project in the heart of downtown Newark, New Jersey.  Government officials gathered Thursday to cut the ribbon on the first phase of a mixed-use development called Teachers Village. The 90,000 square foot structure is now home to two charter schools, with retail planned for the ground floor. The sprawling development—part of of revitalization program to revive downtown—will consist of retail space, a daycare center, three charter schools, and 200 apartment units for teachers. The Newark-born architect was tapped to design five of the eight buildings in the complex with KSS Architects in charge of the remaining three. "Project Teachers Village was conceived and started in 2008," said Vivian Lee, project manager at Richard Meier & Partners. "The original context of this area was mostly parking lots and a lot of abandoned buildings, and Ron [Beit] really had a vision to revitalize this part of downtown Newark and provide housing as well as retail to really liven up this part of the city." AN took a tour of the four-story, brick-and-metal-clad building, which is a departure from Meier's signature glass and stark-white buildings. "From early on the project we understood that this is not the typical project that our office does," said Remy Bertin, project architect. "We really wanted to integrate it into the fabric of Newark—not just in plan, not just in making things in line, but also through the material. Newark is the brick city. It is a very vernacular material for the city traditionally." The firm worked closely with a mason to create a sawtooth brick design on the facade. While Meier & Partners experimented with a new palette of materials, they still made light a priority in the overall design scheme. "In keeping with Richard Meier's design philosophy, we wanted to bring in a lot of natural light, and obviously it promotes learning," said Lee. Bertin said that zoning, specifically the height limits for buildings in the area, presented initial challenges to the design. "When we were designing the school, the big issue that we were dealing with was all the programs, all the schools that were in the space," said Bertin. "We really wanted to create a sense of inter-connectivity with public spaces within the building even though we had so much to pack into a 60 foot package that limited us."
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Party on the Passaic: Super Mayor Cory Booker Cuts the Ribbon on Newark’s Newest Park

A new four-acre park opened this past weekend in downtown Newark providing public access to the Passaic River for the very first time. Flanked by the bay and river, the city is home to one of the nation's largest containers shipping terminals, yet residents have long been cut off from the waterfront. This new stretch of parkland occupies the former site of the Balbach Smelting and Refining Worksone and is now part of the Riverfront Park that neighbors the 12-acre Essex County Riverfront Park. Designed by Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture and the Newark Planning Office, the park features an orange boardwalk made of recycled plastic, a floating boat dock, sports fields, walking and biking paths, and an area for performances. Once a dumping site, the polluted river is an EPA Superfund site and in the midst of an intensive clean-up process. The project--a joint effort between the City of Newark, Essex County, and the Trust for Public Land--cost $9 million in private and public funding. An additional 3-acre segment of the park is in the works and planned to break ground in the near future once all the funding is secured.