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Groundbreaking gives backers chance to tout perseverance behind One Theater Square project

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Former Gov. Tom Kean was among the dignitaries at the groundbreaking for One Theater Square.
Former Gov. Tom Kean was among the dignitaries at the groundbreaking for One Theater Square. - ()

Newark's first luxury residential high-rise in more than 50 years has begun construction and is anticipating significant interest from a priced-out New York City and Hudson County resident market.

One Theater Square, across the street from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, is a 22-story, 245-unit residential complex, which will also include 25 affordable housing units, as well as 12,000 feet of street-level retail space.

A groundbreaking ceremony Monday set the tone for progress on a nearly 25-year-old project.

“NJPAC, against all the deniers and doubters and critics and naysayers, being deeply rooted and taking on the role of urban redeveloper, has been a huge accelerator,” said Lawrence Goldman, chairman of One Theater Square. “The astounding thing, to me, is that has gone through three mayors, eight governors, several county executives, four board chairs at NJPAC and a new executive team, led by John Schreiber.”

The long-delayed project did have its challenges in the past, said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

“I was get advised over and over again to walk away, and it’s not a project the city needs to do,” Baraka said.

But with all the ongoing projects around the city, he feels confident that One Theater is a complement to the growth.

Schreiber, CEO and president of NJPAC, said the delay of the project may have inadvertently set the stage for a more positive result.

“I wouldn’t have said so at the time, because there were so many bumps along the way when things were frustrating and difficult, but the market is now ready for this product, I think,” Schreiber said. “I believe Newark is next in line for this type of residential property. And as it turns out, in two years, I think we are going to rent out really quickly. Jersey City, Hoboken, these are now getting overcrowded and overpriced.”

Carl Dranoff, founder and CEO of Dranoff Properties, said that, with the current migration out of New York City, Newark is well positioned to pick up the individuals seeking more space for the same price as Hudson County residences.

“What’s driving it is people are getting priced out of New York City,” Dranoff said. “First they were going into Jersey City, then they were going into Brooklyn, then they were going into Yonkers. All these places are getting ... everyone is being priced out. So, now, we are this renaissance city. I mean, look at this bull’s-eye location.”

Studios will be priced in the upper $1,000s, one-bedrooms in the lower $2,000s, two-bedrooms in the high $2,000s and three-bedrooms in the $3,000s, Dranoff said. The affordable housing, which will be studios and one-bedrooms, would be in the $800 range. The apartment complex is slated to open in 2018.

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Anjalee Khemlani

Anjalee Khemlani


Anjalee Khemlani covers health care. You can contact her at anjaleek@njbiz.com.

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Luis Arroyo November 23, 2016 9:32 am

The "Shaquille /Shaq tower" as locals jokingly call it, is the Rector Street tower.

It was one of two high profile groundbreaking ceremonies (the other Liberty Plaza) that never got built.

The Rector street proyect Groundbreaking was an insult to common sense. Rather than stick shovels on the property to [break the ground],
A dump truck was leased to dump dirt from God knows where in the middle of the street!

The Elites placed their shovels on it, took media photos,left & the city workers at hand told to clean up the mess!

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