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Newark welcomes first downtown hotel in nearly 40 years

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As downtown Newark today saw its first new hotel opening in nearly four decades, city officials and the Courtyard by Marriott developer hold high hopes it's a sign of things to come.

"The completion of this world-class hotel and retail center is the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration between the city of Newark and Tucker Development Corp.," company President and CEO Richard Tucker said in an e-mail. "As the first new hotel in 40 years in downtown Newark — which has a daytime population increase of more than 50,000 people — we have every reason to be confident in the hotel's success."

Located in close proximity to the Prudential Center, the seven-story, 150-room hotel includes 4,122 square feet of meeting space and 14,000 square feet of retail shops facing Broad and Lafayette streets.

The project broke ground in March 2011, and according to Tucker, the hotel's development process "was seamless, and that can be attributed to the willingness of both city and state officials to collaborate with us on every aspect of the project — from the planning stages through today's ribbon-cutting ceremony."

In a statement, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said the hotel opening is "proof that people are coming to Newark to do business and be entertained."

"This beautiful new building on Broad Street … will host thousands and thousands of Newark visitors," Booker said in a statement. "Visitors want to be part of the Newark story. They will bring more life to our streets and tell friends when they return home what a great city Newark is."

Adam Zipkin, Newark's deputy mayor for economic development, said in a statement the hotel will create jobs for the city's residents and "become an anchor of commerce and life on Broad Street."

"Every day, downtown Newark is becoming more and more of a 24/7 place to live and work — and now with this new hotel, downtown will be even more of a destination," Zipkin said in a statement.

Although the hotel's cornerstone sports venue for luring potential overnight guests could stay dark in the event of a full-season lockout by the NHL, Tucker said the lack of New Jersey Devils' games would not impact the hotel's first year in operation.

"While the Prudential Center is important, it will only drive a portion of the hotel's guests," Tucker said. "With a location within walking distance to Newark Penn Station and within close proximity to Newark Liberty International Airport, we anticipate and are already experiencing extremely strong demand despite the NHL lockout."

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