A $1 Billion Real Estate Boon Near Newark Commuter Station

Newark broad street station

(Bloomberg)—SJP Properties and Aetna Realty are planning to spend as much as $1 billion on a project beside a Newark, New Jersey, commuter-rail hub, the latest in a spree of upscale developments that have brought new optimism to the long-suffering city.

SJP and Aetna, both based in New York, envision offices, stores, a hotel, homes and a large public plaza next to the Broad Street hub. The station is one of two in New Jersey’s largest city, the other being Newark Penn Station, about a mile to the southeast.

Steven J. Pozycki, founder and chief executive officer of SJP, said it will be critical to find a company to move in and anchor the development. The location, which is accessible by mass transit and car and minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, should act as a magnet, he said. The 2 million-square-foot (185,000-square-meter) project will run along University Avenue and Orange Street, at the site of a former Westinghouse Electric Co. factory.

Riots back in the 1960s scared developers away from Newark. With a reputation for crime and poverty, the city, just 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Manhattan, has largely missed out on the urban revival other U.S. cities have enjoyed. The new project, on which the developers plan to spend $700 million to $1 billion, is the most recent sign that Newark’s fortunes are improving.

Other projects include the construction of a new Prudential Financial office tower, the development of an abandoned department store into a mixed-use property that includes a Whole Foods supermarket, and the conversion of the old New Jersey Bell skyscraper into apartments. SJP helped build the Prudential tower and a headquarters for Panasonic Corp. Newark is among 20 cities shortlisted by Amazon.com Inc. for its second North American headquarters.

Mayor Ras Baraka, in a statement to be released Monday, said his administration is committed to building “transit villages” around the city’s train stations to increase ridership, reduce pollution and create more affordable housing. New Jersey has been encouraging high-density residential development around its stations.

To contact the reporter on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at [email protected] Peter Jeffrey

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