A rendering of Spring Street Commons in Newark — Courtesy: Sterling Bridge Investment Partners/Comito Associates
By Joshua Burd
A development group is set to break ground on 84 new apartments just north of downtown Newark, a project that will revitalize a busy corner just off Interstate 280.
The team, led by Sterling Bridge Investment Partners, gathered Tuesday to mark the start of the market-rate project known as Spring Street Commons. Located on Clay Street between Spring Street and McCarter Highway, the property is also slated to include ground-floor retail space and is projected to be complete by fall 2019.
The developers at that time will look to capitalize on a location that is only a few blocks from Newark’s Broad Street train station, just north of the busy I-280 interchange and a short walk from the city’s central business district, where other projects are flourishing.
“We’ve also been drawn by the unbelievable support of the city,” said Lou Reynolds, managing partner of Sterling Bridge. “We’ve found that the city has been nothing but accommodating, very much on our side and helpful in all of the aspects of getting this project both approved and through to this stage, as it is today. So we’re very thankful to the city.”
Designed by Comito Associates, Spring Street Commons will redevelop a former industrial property along McCarter Highway. And the project comes amid a development boom in Newark that has been drifting northward in recent months. The site is just north of the former Newark Bears Stadium, which is now slated for a 12-acre, mixed-use development by Lotus Equity Group that could result in some 2,000 residential units and 400,000 square feet of office space.
To the west is a 3.7-acre site at University Avenue and Orange Street, where SJP Properties and Aetna Realty have unveiled plans for up to 2 million square feet of commercial and residential space at the former Westinghouse Electric Co. factory.
The high-profile projects are among the many reasons that Marc Chase, also a managing partner with Ho-Ho-Kus-based Sterling Bridge, said the firm feels comfortable with the city’s trajectory.
“It’s been validated by many of other groups that are coming to town, like Lotus and SJP,” Chase said. “I think we’re very comfortable with what we’re doing in the area here, and hopefully it will spawn other developers to come to Newark and really get into the mix of what this great government and municipality has done in supporting developers, supporting the community and having a vision for the future.”
Plans for Spring Street Commons also call for nearly 90 parking spaces and features such as a gym, office and lobby. The retail space is expected to total more than 4,600 square feet.
Sterling Bridge, which has been advised in the project by Connell Foley and Epstein Becker Green, has hired BuildPro Construction as the general contractor. The principals also cited the involvement of Meridian Capital Group and TD Bank.
The project comes as Newark continues with a $30 million plan to build a five-mile Riverfront Park along the Passaic River. Franklyn Ore, senior vice president of real estate at the Newark Community Economic Development Corp., said a portion of the project is already complete and will serve as another amenity for what could be the city’s next frontier for investment.
“One of the things we projected about three years ago is that this should be and will be the next area that gets redeveloped exponentially,” Ore said. “The greatest availability of land is within this area.