Newark Arts Commons breaks ground as part of larger mixed-use project
The Newark Arts Commons broke ground Wednesday at the long-abandoned former site of St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark’s Central Ward, with the ground floor of the eight-story building to be converted into an 18,000-square-foot creative hub.
GlassRoots, a nonprofit youth advocacy organization that teaches young adults the art of glassmaking and entrepreneurship, will occupy the space along with several other arts organizations.
“Culture and the arts are the core of our city’s transformation and growth,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. “They are central to our luster as a destination, vital to empowering our economy, and critical to inspiring our youth and residents to achieve their dreams of creative success. This new facility will enable all of these goals to become reality, while also restoring a historic downtown building to productive use.”
The arts hub is part of the larger 90,000-square-foot mixed-use project, with plans to include six floors of fully furnished shared-housing residences, along with two floors of commercial space dedicated to art-focused nonprofit organizations.
The fully furnished shared-housing residences are geared towards younger, mobile professionals, with apartments designed for one to five occupants and shorter leases available.
The historic property was acquired last year by Community Asset Preservation Corp. Director of Real Estate Jeffrey Crum, Anthony Gibbons of Newark-based Crawford Street Partners and Newark-based Hanini Group.
Built in 1871, the building once housed the older portion of the St. Michael’s hospital complex.
The newer portion of the 358-bed facility was purchased for $62 million in 2016 by Prime Healthcare after previous owner Trinity Health filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
Newark Central Ward Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins told NJBIZ the project signals a boon for the area.
“It’s been our bigger mission to turn the Central Ward into the gateway for Newark’s future where all people can thrive and prosper,” Chaneyfield Jenkins said.