A rendering of the redesigned façade and entryway at 1 Gateway Center, part of a sweeping overhaul of the landmark Gateway office complex in downtown Newark — Courtesy: Gensler/Onyx Equities LLC
By Joshua Burd
Onyx Equities is taking the wraps off its long-awaited plans for the Gateway office complex in Newark, with a design that calls for new public spaces, retail and dining options that will transform its busy commuter concourse and the surrounding streets.
The developer, which leads a joint venture that acquired 1, 2 and 4 Gateway Center last year, has released new renderings of a redesign that includes the complex’s first-ever street-facing retail space. Spanning roughly 10,000 square feet, that space will be focused around the base of 1 Gateway and will become part of a new grand entryway to the landmark complex.
Onyx and a design team led by Gensler have also envisioned a revamp of the lobbies within the buildings and the indoor pathways that connect to Newark Penn Station, which are used by tens of thousands of daily commuters. That overhaul will include about 5,000 square feet of converted retail space, all of which will be modernized and reconfigured to offer new spaces for tenants and high-end food and beverage options.
The developer also hinted at a sleek color palette, updated windows and modern textures that will complete the look at the redesigned, four-building complex. The project will look to reverse Gateway’s original design, which historically sought to allow commuters to get to work in Newark without ever stepping onto the street.
Onyx and its partners — which include Garrison Investment Group, Axonic Capital LLC, Taconic Capital Advisors and Prudential Financial — also say they hope to complement Newark’s recent residential and commercial boom.
“Gateway is located at the nexus of where Newark’s tech, transit, culture, community and business all come together,” said John Saraceno, managing principal of Onyx Equities. “It was important for us to redevelop the space to support all of the functions it should be serving for the thousands of people who walk through here daily. While Gateway is currently a corridor for commuters, our new plans will help us realize its full potential as a place to begin one’s journey into Newark’s cultural mecca.”
Saraceno is slated to detail those plans on Thursday at Bisnow’s “What’s Next for Newark” event, which is expected to draw a crowd of local officials, business leaders and other stakeholders. The presentation will be the largest reveal to date of what Onyx has in store since the investment group closed on Gateway 1, 2 and 4 late last year, allowing it to take control of what had become a bland, outdated commuter concourse.
Blake Goodman, who is part of the leasing team for the complex, said tenants and brokers have been eager to learn more since that time.
“There’s been a big, pent-up demand of people trying to understand the timeline and what the scope is, what it’s going to look like, what it’s going to feel like,” said Goodman, an executive vice president with JLL. “So being able to unveil that is going to create a huge buzz within the market and I think generate a lot of activity.”
The JLL team is marketing everything from small and midsized spaces to large, contiguous blocks that span multiple floors, he said. For instance, at 2 Gateway, ownership can offer as much as 150,000 square feet across three floors, with the potential to expand that block by an additional two floors.
Those blocks have caught the eye of some large tenants and their brokers, he said. That interest is now poised to escalate with the newly released details about Onyx’s plans.
“Especially when you have a deal of that size and magnitude, you don’t want to sell to your clients that it’s going to be a great opportunity until you truly have faith that it’s going to happen and you know what the final result is going to be,” Goodman said. “So I think that’s going to be a big component and help with the momentum, especially with tenants of that size.”
Onyx also noted that all public spaces in Gateway feature Gateway Connect by Newark Fiber, which provides some of the fastest wireless available with one of the first deployments of a system dubbed WiFi 6 and a dedicated multi-gig Internet feed.