Prudential: Verizon Building Next Step Toward Vision of Newark as 24/7, Live-Work-Play City
by Josh Anderson
NEWARK, NJ—When you think about companies in Newark, Prudential is often the first to come to mind. It’s a driving factor in the revitalization the community is experiencing. But not many know the intricate history between Newark and this stories firm. Fortunately, Reuben Teague, Director – Impact Investments, Prudential Financial, gave CapRE some insight into this relationship.
“Prudential has been headquartered in Newark for 100+ years,” Teague says. “Several years ago the company needed to make a decision about where it was going to house a number of its employees, and had to go through a pretty extensive site selection process. We eventually settled on building a new tower here in Downtown, very close to our current headquarters building.”
Teague says that, in conjunction with that decision, Prudential did what it has done in the past—but in a very different way –which is to decide to invest a lot of resources in not just building a new asset, but also in the city surrounding that building. “My team and others at Prudential put together a packet of potential investment opportunities, and the biggest one, the one that we led with, was our investment in the redevelopment of the Hahne’s Building.”
Having taken on the Hahne’s project and a number of other projects as well, Prudential remained in a very aggressive growth mode, in terms of trying to add unit counts Downtown, according to Teague. “So when the Verizon Building became available, that was just a very natural fit for our portfolio,” he says (referring to the acquisition by L&M to convert the 540 Broad Street building into a high-rise)”.
According to Teague, Prudential would like to see somewhere on the order of 5000 new units come online Dowwntown, but that’s one goal that a lot of other people share. “Because at this point, additional residential volume is an additive to the overall Downtown picture,” he says. “The Verizon building is a fantastic building with a wonderful history, located quite strategically on Washington Park. We think of Washington Park as another great node for investing, and the Verizon building’s location there made it a perfect place.”
Teague mentions the transformation of Newark’s Military Park as a success story for city and residents alike, as well as a preview of what’s to come in Washington Park. “Newark is lucky in that its downtown contains a significant amount of park space,” says Teague. “But the city has made the right decision in recommitting to that park space, trying to expand it and trying to investing in that park space, because it’s an asset that everyone in the city can share. Whether you’re a Prudential employee who just moved to Newark for the first time or a long-time Newarker who has been here forever, you can come to this park and appreciate what’s going on there. “
Teague says Prudential is committed to their vision of a Downtown Newark that is a 24/7, live/work/play location. “We have 50,000 people commuting here everyday for work, but most of them leave at 5:00 to go back to New York City or other parts of New Jersey,” he says. “So our overall thesis is that for Downtown to be very healthy, it needs a healthy residential population, and it has to have the right mix of goods and services that they would expect.”