Why Newark, Why Now?
by Josh Anderson
NEWARK, NJ—The sheer number of exciting developments in Newark at the moment is somewhat staggering. Teacher’s ViIlage, Studebaker Lofts, Packard Lofts, Jones Street, Mulberry Commons, Ironside. Across the city, across verticals, and across use-types, firms are building, redeveloping and expanding their presence. It can be easy to get lost in the details, so we connected with Barbara E. Kauffman, Executive Vice President & COO, Newark Regional Business Partnership to gain some insight into the larger question of Why Newark, Why Now?
“We hear the phrase “Cool factor” a lot,” says Kauffman. “Which is, the fact that tenants don’t want to just be in a place. They want an experience. And that’s what I think we’re seeing emerge in Newark and why it’s becoming an attractive place for tenants, because there’s an experience here.” Kauffman recommends looking at Broadridge Financial and thinking about why they decided to come to Newark from Jersey City.
Another company of note is Audible. “Why did that company relocate from Wayne in 2007 in the first place, and why have they chosen to grow here? (and interestingly enough, Audible has also chosen to “incubate” other tech companies in the region)” Fortunately, Kauffman provides an easy answer to that question, which is that Audible found it easier to attract talent from New York City to Newark, which is just off public transportation, than Wayne.
But Kauffman says there’s much more than transit in this equation. “We all know that our history is that a lot of innovation has happened here. Newark has always been a transportation crossroads,” she explains. “But it’s now becoming a crossroads for an emerging technology corridor too, and that’s really contributing to what makes Newark special today.”
All that said, sometimes it’s still the nuts and bolts. After all, with all of this development going on, tenants have the pick of the litter in terms of rentals. “Tenants are looking for connectivity, whether it’s physical or virtual, and it’s true for all kinds of companies, whether it’s virtual or the internet,” says Kauffman. “But they also want these quality, modern office spaces.”
Still, Kauffman stresses that we should look at the big picture. “You have to take into account the fact that many buildings are being converted from residential uses,” she says. “There’s a lot of public private partnership initiatives, such as Hire. Buy. Live. Newark, Newark 2020, and Newark 20 by 25. These are all contributing to everything that’s happening here.”