Newark’s historic Bell Building set for renovation
The 21-story art deco building located at 540 Broad St. in downtown Newark is considered a gem of the Brick City skyline.
Now the historic brick and sandstone New Jersey Bell Building will be restored through a private-public partnership between 540 Broad Street LLC principals L+M Development Partners, Prudential Financial Inc. and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. Groundbreaking was Monday.
The conversion of the 436,000-square-foot tower anticipates a mixed-use, mixed-income development featuring approximately 265 residences – 20 percent of which will be affordable – and more than 80,000 square feet of Class A office and retail space.
The building is currently home to Verizon’s regional offices, which will continue to occupy the building’s fourth floor.
Built in 1929 and designed by famed architect Ralph Thomas Walker, the building’s majestic lobby and exterior were added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
"The rehabilitation of 540 Broad St. is a milestone in our strategy to reinvent a downtown where nobody once lived as a mixed-use neighborhood incorporating affordable and market rate housing as well as a thriving office and retail hub,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. “540 Broad is a majestic symbol of Newark’s past and Newark’s present with its magnificent landmarked art deco design, history as the nerve center of New Jersey Bell, and future as a vital mixed-income, mixed-use architectural treasure."
The project received a tax abatement from the city to will help to spur job development, local hiring and affordable housing development.
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency provided $15 million in tax exempt bonds, with Citi Community Capital providing approximately $70 million in debt construction financing and approximately $14 million in equity from the sale of historic tax credits through the National Trust Community Investment Corporation.