Newark Mayor Ras Baraka revealed a plan Wednesday to redevelop the downtown Newark area at the foot of the Prudential Center.
Mulberry Commons, previously referred to as Triangle Park, will be a 22-acre redevelopment project that includes a park, retail and commercial space through reuse of a warehouse along McCarter Highway, and will connect the Ironbound to Newark Penn Station.
“We view this project as a way to connect citizens, drive economic activity and serve as the center of gravity for the city,” said the acting CEO and president of the Newark Community Economic Development Corp., Aisha Glover.
Edison Properties, principal owner of the project site, will continue to work alongside J & L Properties, the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. and the Newark Downtown District. Sage & Coombe will lead the architectural design for six of the 22 acres.
Mulberry Commons has received more than $100 million from private investors, and is scheduled to receive an extra $10 million in public funding.
“This project represents another step towards showing the best of what our city has to offer. The 22-acre site will not only enhance our tax base and boost our economy, but it will also bring jobs, commerce, housing and green space for all Newarkers to enjoy,” Baraka said in a news release.
The city expects the project to return over $500 million after development. And while the mayor said a timeline could not be given because the project is still in the design phase, Deputy Mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson stated that the addition of a skating rink to the park is under consideration. The City of Newark press office said the project’s targeted completion date is late summer 2018.
According to Baraka, Newarkers can expect job creation to be protected through the city’s residency requirement. The mayor also stated that he planned to continue pushing for affordable housing in the downtown area.