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Rutgers-Newark, RBH planning $70M residence hall, honors learning facility

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A new 400-bed residence hall and honors learning facility is coming to downtown Newark under a $70 million project unveiled this week by Rutgers University and developer RBH Group.

The mixed-use project, located a block west of Military Park, will house Rutgers-Newark undergraduates from an elite program focused on addressing social issues as part of the academic experience, according to a news release. As such, it’s expected to help add to the population and economic development activity in the area, along with new street-level retail and open space.

Construction on the 320,000-square-foot, Perkins Eastman-designed complex is expected to begin late this year and be completed in 2018, the organizations said in a news release. It will be located on the block bounded by New, Washington, Halsey and Linden streets in downtown Newark, a block west of the new 20-story Prudential Financial tower on Broad Street.

The current, inaugural cohort of 30 students for what is called the Honors Living-Learning Community will be joined by 60 more this fall, the news release said. The group was selected from more than 750 applicants, and Rutgers-Newark expects the program to add 100 students per year by 2018, including first-year students and community college transfers.

“We see the creation and development of the Honors Living-Learning Community as the physical embodiment of our aspirations for higher education — not only how we need to get much better at identifying and cultivating true talent in students, but in how faculty and staff both nurture and learn from that talent, and therefore advance and increase the impact of their scholarship and professionalism,” Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said in a prepared statement. “This unique living space will catalyze all of that and we could not think of a better partner than Ron Beit, and RBH Group, with whom we clearly share a deep commitment to leveraging Newark’s tremendous assets — first and foremost its people — to continue driving the city’s and region’s revitalization.”

Based in Newark, RBH Group is the lead developer behind the mixed-used Teachers Village project in the city. That development includes 204 workforce-housing units, three schools, an early childhood learning center, and over 60,000 square feet of retail space.

The firm also is involved in projects such as the construction of new headquarters and facility for AeroFarms, an operator of indoor vertical farms, for what will be the largest project of its kind.

“We are truly excited to have been chosen to help express the vision of Chancellor Cantor and the faculty and students of the Honors Living-Learning Community,” Beit said. “The development of the HLLC complements our mission to develop projects in Newark in partnership with a full range of community partners. We are dedicated to creating affirmative social good by developing innovative and sustainable spaces in urban cores.”

The leaders of the HLLC include Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Shirley M. Collado, Senior Adviser to the Chancellor and Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences Sherri-Ann Butterfield and HLLC Associate Dean Marta Esquilin, the news release said.

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