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Updated: Edison Properties, Baraka break ground on Mulberry Commons

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A rendering of Mulberry Commons and Ironside Newark.
A rendering of Mulberry Commons and Ironside Newark. - ()

Michael Sommer of Edison Properties thinks the late Jerry Gottesman, the co-founder of Edison, would have been proud of the milestone both the city of Newark and Edison Properties reached last Monday.

Mayor Ras Baraka and members of his administration joined Edison Properties and J&L Companies at the official groundbreaking of Mulberry Commons in downtown Newark.

“It’s a shame that [Jerry] wasn’t physically with us to experience the groundbreaking,” said Sommer, the executive vice president of development for Edison Properties. “Needless to say, we are intent – and I know the city and the stakeholders are as well – in fulfilling what originally was his vision for this area and the area between Newark Penn Station and the arena.”

Mulberry Commons, which will transform 22 acres adjacent to Prudential Center, is a $10 million public-private partnership connecting Newark Penn Station to downtown Newark and is expected to bring 5,600 jobs to the area.

“The creation of Mulberry Commons is a defining and signature moment in the history of Newark,” Mayor Baraka said in a news release. “We have long insisted that the creation of the Prudential Center not be a stand-alone project in our downtown, and that this entertainment facility provide more than just world-class events – it must bring real estate development, jobs, and prosperity to our entire city.

Baraka projected that the area will be a “thriving 24/7 neighborhood” with housing, shops and restaurants that will attract visitors and new residents, all of which will empower the economy and strengthen Newark. “I congratulate the entire team that made this day possible and look forward to seeing the final results,” the mayor said.

The developer expects a net fiscal benefit to the city and the state of over $400 million net present value. Mulberry Commons is expected to open September 2018.

“Today represents a critical milestone not only in the construction of Mulberry Commons, but in the city of Newark’s revitalization led by Mayor Baraka,” Edison Properties’ COO Ben Feigenbaum said in a news release. Earlier this year, Edison kicked off the redevelopment of Ironside Newark, a mixed-use project that is expected to bring jobs, dining and retail to the city. “Mulberry Commons Park will add critical green space to the mix, beautifying the area while creating a destination where residents, workers and visitors will congregate,” Feigenbaum said.

Edison Properties is also set to deliver 465,000 square feet of mixed use space on the east side of park. Sommer said both the 3-acre park section directly adjacent to Ironside Newark will benefit from one another.

The plans for Ironside Newark include 100,000 square feet of ground-level retail space and over 300,000 square feet of luxury office space at the former Central Railroad of New Jersey warehouse located at 110 Edison Place.

“The lines are blurred to the point where future tenants of buildings such as ours are looking for the same type of lifestyle and the same type of amenities,” Sommer said. “CEOs who are looking for space for their companies are looking for people to go and have lunch at a nice location either in a building or an immediate area. They have employees that are interested in being able to exercise either before, during or after work and somewhere where they can experience some of the culture of the area. We’re finding that the park is the perfect complement to our project.”

Edison Properties said it expects the project, designed by Sage and Coombe Architects, and Supermass Studio Landscape Architect, to open land for additional residential and office development in the downtown area.

Hollister construction has been selected to manage construction.

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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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