The Junction at Gateway Center in Newark will include a new Market Hall, as depicted in this rendering. — Courtesy: Onyx Equities/Gensler
By Joshua Burd
An acclaimed local restaurateur is coming to Newark’s Gateway Center, in one of several newly announced additions to the office complex’s revamped retail and dining space.
Onyx Equities, which leads the property’s ownership group, said Mökbar owner and chef Esther Choi will open her fourth location inside what’s known as The Junction at Gateway. The eatery will occupy 950 square feet in the Market Hall area of Gateway One, which is among four interconnected buildings at the 2.3 million-square-foot complex.
“I’m very excited to get back to my New Jersey roots!” Choi, a James Beard Award-winning chef, said in a prepared statement. “What better place to open Mökbar, my flagship restaurant, than Newark. I’m ready to get to work and share my Korean culture and cuisine with the downtown residence and workers!”
The announcement comes two months after Onyx detailed new leases with eight restaurants at The Junction, including both grab-and-go and full-service concepts. The deals marked a key step in the firm’s $40 million overhaul of the complex and its signature concourse adjacent to Newark Penn Station, which is part of its strategy at the helm of an investment group that purchased One, Two and Four Gateway in early 2019.
Onyx on Tuesday also announced a lease with One Step Ahead Learning & Performing Arts Center, which will occupy 5,600 square feet of interior space and around 1,000 square feet of exterior space for a private outdoor playground in Gateway One near the Doubletree Hotel. It will be the first daycare center in Gateway, the landlord said, providing a much-needed resource for working parents as companies ease back into in-person work schedules.
Meantime, Seton Hall University will open a 930-square-foot student center in the concourse for its law school and undergraduate students matriculating at its Newark campuses, according to a news release. The Newark Project All Stars, a charity that connects the city’s youth with members of its business community to develop business skills and make career-forming connections, will move into 450 square feet for its corporate offices and meeting spaces for its members.
Onyx noted that it is one of the businesses that works with the organization.
“Newark’s central downtown area has always had the capability to be a center of commerce,” said Jonathan Schultz, co-founder and managing principal for Onyx. “It has the infrastructure and locational attributes needed to become a world-class destination, and a neighborhood that local residents cherish and identify with. It just needed for us to turn Gateway inside-out.
“Our plans to turn the concourse level from a convenient commuter pass-through into a world-class destination is coming to fruition. It’s very exciting to sign tenants in The Junction who share our vision and belief in Newark.”
Onyx in late October also announced a competition for local restauranteurs, in which the final available restaurant space at The Junction will be built out and delivered to a Newark-based operator at no up-front cost to the eatery.
“Just as we’ve brought diverse food options from the other side of the Hudson River to the Gateway Center, it’s important for us to share Newark’s local flavor and culinary talent with central downtown commuters, residents and visitors,” said Matthew Flath, a vice president of asset management with Onyx Equities.
Mökbar and the competition winner will operate at The Junction alongside Serafina, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, Fresh & Co, Greek from Greece Bakery & Café, Farinella, 375˚ Chicken & Fries, Chip City Cookies and The Brookdale.
Jason Pierson and Ryan Starkman of Pierson Commercial serve as the retail leasing agents for The Junction, while Tim Greiner and Blake Goodman of JLL spearhead office leasing at the complex.