The Hahne & Co. project in Newark was the downtown’s largest infusion of new market-rate apartments in more than a decade. — Courtesy: L+M Development Partners
One industry executive described it as “the conspicuous comp”— referring to Eleven 80 — aptly so, given the building’s somewhat infamous place in downtown Newark’s recent history.
He was, of course, talking about the 36-story, historic office tower at 1180 Raymond Blvd., which Cogswell Realty Group converted and reopened in 2006 as 317 luxury apartments. It was downtown Newark’s first large-scale offering of market-rate rentals in 45 years, a well-intentioned idea that we now know was at least a decade too early, meaning it’s tough to use the building’s performance to help guide other projects.
These days, downtown Newark seems like a vastly different place. The city’s dedicated group of blue-chip employers and anchor institutions have virtually all expanded or made commitments to grow, leading to billions of dollars’ worth of new commercial development. It’s a major reason why developers believe the time is right to, once and for all, bring new market-rate apartments to Newark’s central business district.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, that market is now taking shape in its earliest form. It’s now been two years since an investment group led by L+M Development Partners, Prudential Financial and The Goldman Sachs Group completed their rehabilitation of the historic Hahne & Co. department store on Broad Street, which includes 96 market-rate rentals. Last fall, Dranoff Properties and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center opened One Theater Square, a long-awaited, 22-story project that is Newark’s first ground-up luxury apartment building in more than 50 years.
Both projects are providing important cues about what’s to come in the downtown, as will a handful of other large-scale developments that have opened for leasing. Developers say they’re encouraged by the early returns and are hopeful that the projects will attract the renters that can create the type of 24-hour, seven-day neighborhood that has long eluded the central business district. But only time will tell how the downtown will support the influx of additional units that is now working through Newark’s pipeline.
Our June edition also includes a Q&A with Stephen Waters, a top executive with Morgan Properties and the current board president of the New Jersey Apartment Association. With about seven months left in his two-year term, the industry veteran said he hopes to continue his focus on educating and professionalizing the apartment sector’s on-site employees, while continuing to advocate on the industry’s behalf with lawmakers and policymakers. Both jobs will remain critical in a time in which the apartment industry continues to grow and as Trenton faces no shortage of political uncertainty.
Elsewhere in this issue, we highlight the impressive growth of Planned Cos., a Parsippany-based company that provides cleaning, security, maintenance and other services to building owners. The multifamily residential sector has been a major catalyst over the past decade for the fourth-generation company, with additional growth seemingly on the horizon.
You can find those stories and more in the latest edition of Real Estate NJ. We’re expecting and hoping for another busy stretch as we head into the heart of the summer, so we hope you’ll continue to follow along in these pages and online at www.RE-NJ.com. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with your story ideas, questions and feedback.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!