A rendering of Ironside Newark, the new office and retail complex that will result from an $80 million redevelopment of a historic warehouse by Edison Properties. — Courtesy: Edison Properties
By Joshua Burd
More than 60 years after the birth of what would become Edison Properties in Newark, the firm on Tuesday marked a milestone in its plans to dramatically reshape its footprint in the city.
Company executives joined city officials to kick off the $80 million redevelopment of a historic warehouse at Edison Place and McCarter Highway, the first piece of what will be a new mixed-use neighborhood and public plaza between Newark Penn Station and the Prudential Center. As soon as fall 2018, the building is slated to be rehabilitated with 456,000 square feet of modern loft-style office space, plus two floors of retail and restaurant space just steps from the train.
The eight-story building, completed in 1907 by the Newark Warehouse Co., is about a block west of where Edison Properties founders Jerry and Harold Gottesman began their parking lot empire in 1956. The firm has rebranded the building as Ironside Newark, an ode to the elevated railroad tracks that run alongside it and at one point delivered freight to the warehouse.
It will anchor what’s known as Mulberry Commons, a $100 million, 22-acre project to redevelop surrounding sea of parking lots owned by Edison Properties and J&L Parking Corp. Slated to break ground this summer, the project aims to create a dynamic, mixed-use park area that connects Newark Penn Station, the downtown, the Prudential Center and the Ironbound section.
But the work at Ironside Newark is well underway, prompting Edison executives on Tuesday to welcome Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and other officials for a kickoff ceremony. To commemorate the event, Baraka and others swung sledgehammers to break apart a stack of cinderblocks on the building’s cavernous second floor.
“I think this is outstanding and it’s going to be an incredible opportunity for people to come to Newark, not just to see a great building, but I think this will be a destination,” Baraka said. “Folks will want to come from around to see how we transformed a building with this kind of historical and architectural value and what it will look like now.”
Designed by Perkins Eastman, the building will include loft-style and penthouse offices across six upper floors, with access to a rooftop featuring green space and sweeping views of both Newark and Manhattan. The project also calls for two floors of retail and restaurant space fronting directly on the planned Mulberry Commons area.
Michael Sommer, Edison’s executive vice president of development, said “we have a lot of interest on both fronts,” adding that the firm is in active discussions with several prospective tenants.
The Newmark Grubb Knight Frank team of Timothy Greiner, Frank Recine, Jamie Ragucci, Harrison Russell and Andrew Sachs will serve as the exclusive leasing agent for Ironside Newark’s office space. Marta Person Villa of JLL has been named the exclusive leasing agent for the building’s retail space.
Hollister Construction Services will serve as the sole construction manager on the project.
Businesses at Ironside Newark will be able to access affordable high-speed internet service via Newark’s underground fiber network, which is part of Edison’s pitch to creative and technology-driven companies. The building is also steps from the transit hub of Newark Penn Station.
The redevelopment and the overall Mulberry Commons project are a long time coming, but stakeholders announced a breakthrough last year between the property owners and City Hall. During Tuesday’s kickoff ceremony, Sommer reiterated the fact that the plan has been one of Baraka’s priorities since he took office in 2014.
“Newark is undergoing a renaissance and it’s no coincidence,” Sommer said. “Every successful venture requires qualified leadership at the top, whether we’re talking about a team, a company or, in this case, New Jersey’s largest city. The current leadership is certainly no exception.”