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Newark's Teachers Village gets its first tenant

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Newark's long-awaited Teachers Village project is welcoming its first tenant today, as one of three charter schools that will occupy the complex takes up its space on Halsey Street.

The Discovery Charter School is moving into its space as construction continues on the rest of the mixed-use, five-block project, said Merilee Meacock, a KSS Architects partner who worked on its design. The school will occupy about 10,000 square feet in one of the eight buildings that will make up Teachers Village.

The $150 million project, which is being led by RBH Group, will ultimately have more than 200 apartments and 70,000 square feet of retail to go along with the charter schools and a day care center. Meacock said the project is designed to create continuity among the buildings by offering amenities and homes for the teachers at the schools, which emerged as a winning alternative to having office space above the ground-floor retail.

Previously: Teachers Village construction starts new phase

"In order to make the development successful, including the housing in the mixed-use component really makes it more powerful," Meacock said. "And in this case the housing is specifically for teachers."

Students, staff and others at Discovery, which occupies space on nearby Washington Street, were scheduled to have a move-in ceremony today by carrying items from one location to the other. Meacock said they will occupy about 10,000 of the building's 80,000 square feet of space.

She added that the design incorporates the hands-on style of the charter school's director, Barbara Weiland, with a common area that's surrounded by specialty classrooms like a science lab, a culinary classroom and a woodshop.

"She wanted a space that was really organic and welcoming so that students felt like they were at home in their school," Meacock said.

The Teachers Village project is being financed with the help of a $39.5 million Urban Transit Hub tax credit, helping to revitalize a section of Newark mainly along Broad, Halsey and William streets. At a groundbreaking last year, developer Ron Beit said the retail areas are expected to be open this summer, while the apartments are expected to open the this fall.

Reporter Joshua Burd is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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