Newark CRE 360 Pt I: What’s in the Pipeline and the Future of Incentives
by Josh Anderson
NEWARK, NJ – We all know that saying “Newark is humming along” is an understatement. Newark insiders and officials are bullish on the market and looking forward to future growth. So the next thing we want to know, naturally, are what’s in the pipeline specifically, and how far are we from not needing incentives anymore? In this first part of a Newark CRE 360, we heard from Newark insiders about what to expect (stay tuned for part two, where we will hear from three more).
To begin, we spoke with Anne Babineau, Attorney at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, who says that the renaissance in Newark has just been building, and that momentum is in large part due to the current administration, people like Baye Adofo-Wilson, Deputy Mayor/Director of Economic and Housing Development for City of Newark, and Mayor Baraka. “It is challenging to do any projects in older cities, but if you have support from the top, it helps immensely,” she says.
“In terms of what is in the pipeline, the reason that I’m bullish about Newark is because I’m working on projects in the pipeline,” Babineau continues. “I have had a substantial amount of experience getting the entire redevelopment of industrial warehouse projects structured and over the finish line, for a few building in the eastern section of the city.”
Babineau says that it’s been a very rewarding product to bring to market. “I think that there is a huge amount of demand for this product,” she says. “and I think that do I see more of it in the pipeline. We are working on new sites, and with the support of the city, we will continue to see strength there.”
We next checked in with Baye Adofo-Wilson himself to get his thoughts. “We are just getting started,” Adofo-Wilson curtly replies. “One thing Newark is doing that will prolong the revitalization of Newark is continuing to develop the infrastructure of the city. Newark is fundamentally a transportation town with the port, airport and train station. We have the third busiest train station in the country, an international airport, numerous train stations. To have that in a town of only 280,000 people is significant.”
Adofo-Wilson says that the city is working to increase its capacity with projects such as the recently improved PATH extension, a new train stop with a $1.8 billion investment in the capital plan that will go to New York City from the park. “It’s a 10-year project, but long term it will have a huge impact on continuing the momentum. Newark has to remain affordable and be part of the New York metropolitan area,” he says.
It’s impossible to compete with NYC and what its provides, says Adofo-Wilson, but where Newark has a competitive advantage is the infrastructure that comparable boroughs don’t have. “The other thing that’s really significant is the port,” he continues. “We’re in the process of really trying to come up with some plans to bring the port to its highest and best use, increasing the amount of activity at the port, and doubling the size of the port from 1,000 acres to 2,000. It’ll really be a huge shot in the arm.”