237-249 South Orange Ave. in Newark — Courtesy: The Blau & Berg Co.
By Joshua Burd
A real estate investment firm has acquired a retail property across from Newark’s University Hospital, with plans to make a series of improvements geared toward attracting retailers, medical offices and other users.
The Blau & Berg Co., which represented both parties in the sale, announced that JJ Operating Inc. had acquired the freestanding, 54,126-square-foot complex at 237-249 South Orange Ave. The seller was New Community Corp., a Newark-based community development organization that provides affordable housing and other support services to area residents.
Alex Conte, Jason Crimmins and Peter J. Murano of The Blau & Berg Co. were the procuring brokers in the deal. Terms were not disclosed.
The property, which was formerly occupied by a Pathmark, is across the street from the independent, 500-bed hospital with a medical staff of more than 600 and more than 3,000 employees. In a news release, the brokers said JJ Operating plans to redevelop the building to enhance the exterior, add visibility on Bergen Street and provide customizable space opportunities to retailers, medical offices and other complementary businesses.
“There was a tremendous demand for the asset, given its location in the heart of Newark near University Hospital and other businesses entering the market as part of a larger revitalization of the surrounding area,” said Conte, a senior executive director with the Short Hills-based firm. “JJ Operating is well-positioned to enhance the neighborhood by providing higher quality retail and services at the property.”
There is currently a 2,100-square-foot Dunkin Donuts store that leases a corner space in the property, the news release said. And Blau & Berg and the buyer pointed to the other national retailers that have joined the area, including Marshall’s, PNC Bank and Rite Aid.
“The building has tremendous potential,” said Jack S. Jemal, partner with JJ Operating. “With the heavy amount of foot and car traffic on the Bergen and South Orange (Avenue) corner, we believe the building is primed for redevelopment.”
The New York-based, family owned firm is in discussions with several users, Jemal said. It hopes the have the property fully leased by the end of the year and expects to make a multimillion-dollar investment into the project.
The seller, meantime, touted the impact of the deal and the planned improvements at the property.
“The proceeds of the sale will be recycled back into the community to help residents of inner cities improve the quality of their lives to reflect individual dignity and personal achievement,” said Richard Rohrman, CEO of New Community Corp.