Plans for 777 McCarter in Newark call for around 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and new amenities for residents, under a plan by Boraie Development and Shaquille O’Neal. — Courtesy: Boraie
By Joshua Burd
Boraie Development has reached a key milestone in its construction of a 370-unit apartment tower in downtown Newark, with plans to debut the building next spring under its latest partnership with city native and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.
The team on Monday welcomed Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Gov. Phil Murphy and other officials for a topping-off ceremony at what will become 777 McCarter, highlighting a project that will include 20 percent affordable housing. It will also bring new amenities and some 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space to the central business district, as the builders prepare for a May 2023 delivery and additional projects under the joint venture.
The 33-story tower will open across from Newark Penn Station.
“Today, when we have billions in development going on, it may be easy to forget that not so long ago, Newark was a city where developers feared to come and invest, where the entire city had a heavy red line around it,” Baraka said. “This is a time to honor those who had the vision to invest in Newark when others did not. Today is a day to salute Boraie Development, Shaquille O’Neal, Goldman Sachs, Prudential and our new finance partners to the city of Newark, Citibank and Bridge Development Group, for their continued investment in our city.”
The partnership on Monday noted that the structure, known informally as Shaq Tower 2, will include a penthouse apartment for the NBA Hall of Famer. Plans also call for perks such as a roof deck lounge, a fifth-story gym and outdoor pool and a 24/7 concierge.
The Boraie- and Shaq-led team are building 777 McCarter with the help of tax credits from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and a 30-year tax abatement from the city. Both subsidies are supporting what will be the largest so-called 80/20 mixed-income project in New Jersey.
“Newark has proven to be a city of opportunity within our state of opportunity, and with the many upcoming developments in this area, I am proud that the top priority remains for there to be quality affordable housing for the residents who call this city their home,” Murphy said. “I applaud Mayor Baraka, Boraie Development, and the many community leaders who have made affordable housing available to the families of Newark.”
The project is on track to employ some 500 construction workers, many of whom participate in the training program for city residents known as Project IMPACT, while yielding 50 permanent jobs. It also follows Boraie and O’Neal’s partnership on other developments in Newark, including a 12-screen movie theater complex that opened in 2012, the city’s first such project in three generations, and the 168-unit downtown apartment tower known as 50 Rector.
The team and its financing partners are also planning a new residential building at 930 McCarter Highway that will transform a long-neglected section of the Passaic River waterfront, according to a news release. Additionally, they’re eyeing a project that will spark the city’s Dayton neighborhood with new mixed-income housing on the former Seth Boyden Court public housing site, working alongside Goldman Sachs and the state Economic Development Authority.
“Boraie Development is humbled to have the opportunities to develop in the great city of Newark under the incomparable leadership of Mayor Baraka and his administration, along with the esteemed Municipal Council,” Boraie Development said in a prepared statement.
O’Neal added: “When I first met Mayor Baraka we talked about restoring my favorite city to its past glory. Today, looking around Newark, you can see what teamwork and commitment looks like under true leadership — and that’s why Mayor Baraka is my favorite mayor.”
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