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CitiBay begins construction of Ironbound mixed-use project

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A rendering of the project at 360 New York Ave., Newark.
A rendering of the project at 360 New York Ave., Newark. - ()

After more than two years awaiting final approvals, CitiBay has begun construction of a mixed-use building on Newark’s New York Avenue. The design by Martin Architectural Group utilized the space where an abandoned warehouse once stood, at 360 New York Ave., and will house 35 units and a preschool.

“We chose Martin Architectural for the Station Commons and New York Ave. projects because of the firm’s rich experience in urban planning and expertise in residential development,” Albino Cerqueira, principal of CitiBay, said. “They are ahead of the curve on trends like transit-oriented designs, creating residential centers that offer ample connectivity for commuters, pedestrians and bicycle riders. They were able to create an unrivaled sense of community in the middle of a transportation hub with a walkable design.”

CitiBay and Martin Architectural Group previously worked together at the Station Commons in Elizabeth, which opened in 2015. Both projects have emphasized transit orientation and the use of sustainable design materials.

“We used metal panels and a round form to accentuate the corners,” Jim Riviello, president of Martin Architectural Group, said. “Generally, at the (street corners), you do something more special within the rest of the façade. (The façade is primarily) hardie-panels and brick. It fits within the materials you would expect from the neighborhood.

“We are extremely proud of our work on this new building. Being able to create a cooperative design that positions the building to act as a community center for this area in Newark is a fantastic opportunity for us.”

Riviello said this was a different sort of project for the firm, too. Martin Architectural sees most of its clientele in suburban areas, and working with the Walters Group for Sandy relief, but working in the Ironbound section of Newark presented unique challenges.

“It’s in a neighborhood where there was a lot of opposition to it, but it is a needed preschool they’re putting in there, there’s apartments and there is parking within the building, and we’ve left the street open for additional parking,” he said. “There’s only two driveways in, so, really, we’ve preserved the whole three sides of the project for parking on the streets.

“What people are expecting is better amenities and they’ll compromise some square footage in their units to get better amenities. In an urban area like New York Avenue, there really aren’t much in the way of amenities other than you’re in a city, you can walk to things. So, the surrounding that you’re in becomes your amenity. If you’re a little more out of the urban core, that’s where you’re going to spend a little more energy creating those amenities so you feel like you’re in an urban core.”

The design itself was also a first-time opportunity for the firm, in terms of having to collaborate with another firm to work out the layout of the preschool in a mixed-use property.

“We (typically) work for private developers and home builders doing any type of housing, retail and speculative office typically,” Riviello said. “The structure itself isn’t anything we haven't done before. As far as the layout of the preschool, we’ve never really done that before (in a multistory building). But if you have an educated client who knows what he wants, you just (guide them through) the process.”

Construction for 360 New York Ave. is set to be completed by the end of this year. The firm and CitiBay included a gym, lounge and game rooms. Unit sizes will range from one-bedrooms starting at 1,200 square feet to three-bedrooms up to 1,350 square feet.

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Mario Marroquin

Mario Marroquin

Mario Marroquin covers real estate. A native of El Salvador, Mario is bilingual in English and Spanish. He graduated from Penn State University and worked in Pennsylvania before moving to New Jersey. His email is mariom@njbiz.com.

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