Some of the biggest names in politics, finance and real estate broke ground on Teachers Village, a mixed-use development in downtown Newark.
The project will create two school buildings, which will house three schools and a daycare center; more than 200 moderately-priced rental apartments for Newark teachers; and more than 20 on-street retail establishments, which will include restaurants, medical offices and local and national stores.
Ron Beit, managing member of lead developer RBH Group, was joined by Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker and deputy mayor for economic development, Adam Zipkin; Governor Chris Christie; Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, which is a capital provider in Teachers Village; international investor Nicolas Berggruen, president of Berggruen Holdings and a major partner in the project; and Richard Meier, the Newark-born, nationally renowned architect, who created the master plan for the project.
The first phase of a larger development, Teachers Village will result in 460 temporary construction jobs and 460 permanent jobs, according to estimates.
Retail tenants will be able to begin building out their spaces by the end of this year and open for business in the summer of 2013, and the first residents will be able to occupy apartments in the fall of 2013. The residential units cover about 200,000 s/f and the units are being pre-marketed to Newark-based teachers. Centrally located on Halsey Street, Teachers Village will also allow for the expansion and relocation of three charter schools — Great Oaks, Discovery Charter School and Team Academy — as well as the CHEN School daycare.
The two school buildings will represent about 90,000 s/f and serve about 800 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. CHEN will occupy about 11,000 s/f and will service about 150 children.
“What began as a vision is now becoming a reality, and that doesn’t happen without the support, wisdom, loyalty and commitment of individuals and groups not only from Newark, but from around the state and beyond,” Beit said.
“My partners and our financial partners, elected and non-elected officials, community leaders and all those who have touched this project in one way or another — they have been and continue to be the foundation on which Teachers Village will be built.
“We look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when Newark students are sitting in brand new school buildings, their teachers are living in moderately priced housing nearby, and all of them – and their Newark neighbors – are enjoying retail establishments that truly make a neighborhood a neighborhood.”
Among the partners are Berggruen Holdings, BRT Realty Trust, Frederick Iseman and Steel Partners Ltd.
The design team includes Richard Meier and Partners, Princeton- and Philadelphia-based KSS Architects and Newark-based Mikesell and Associates.
The financing team includes New Jersey Economic Development Authority, City of Newark, Brick City Development Corporation, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, TD Bank and New Jersey Community Capital.
Representing RBH Group was the commercial mortgage broker Singer & Bassuk; the commercial real estate brokers Dudley Ryan of CB Richard Ellis and Christian Benedetto of Hopkins, Sampson & Brown; and the law firms Herrick, Feinstein; Meyner & Landis; McManimon & Scotland; and Sills Cummis & Gross.
“This project is the kind of catalyst that will forever change the landscape of Newark’s business district, and is another sign of the work we’ve been doing to start the New Jersey Comeback,” said Governor Chris Christie.
“At the heart of Teacher’s Village is a shared commitment to innovative educational policies that Mayor Booker, the City and my Administration feel so strongly about – providing choice in education for the students and families that feel they have no choice. No matter what their zip code, each and every child should have access to a quality education.”
“I was born in Newark and have vivid memories of visiting my families’ business in downtown Newark,” said Meier. “This is a sort of homecoming for me and an opportunity for me to apply a lifetime of skills learned in the world arena to the revitalization of a major area of the city’s downtown.”
Photo credits: Newark Press Information Office, Anthony Alvarez