Construction begins on Dranoff's Newark high-rise project

Philadelphia developer Carl Dranoff began construction Friday on a high-rise rental-apartment building across from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, nearly nine years after the project was first proposed.

John Schreiber, chief executive officer of NJPAC, said Friday that a series of complex financial arrangements and real estate closings were completed last week, paving the way for construction of the $116 million, 22-story building -- downtown Newark's first upscale residential project since 1960.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority provided $33 million in tax credits for the project.

One Theater Square will have 245 mostly one- and two-bedroom apartments, but also studios and three-bedroom and three-bedroom units with dens, ranging in size from 585 to 1,700 square feet. Rents are expected to start at $1,250 for a studio, $2,000 for  one bedroom, $3,150 for two bedrooms, and $4,500 for three bedrooms.

The project includes 24 affordable-housing units that will be marketed as artist residences, although they will be available to anyone who meets the financial criteria, Schreiber said.

On the building's ground floor will be 12,000 square feet of retail space "designed to reflect the neighborhood and enhance it," Dranoff said.

A parking garage will provide 285 spaces for renters and the building's retailers, Dranoff said. The structure is within walking distance of various corporate headquarters and Newark's Penn Station for a quick PATH commute to Manhattan. 

“This is a bull's-eye location in a rising city," Dranoff said. "With NJPAC literally at its doorstep, One Theater Square will redefine what’s meant by ‘home entertainment.' "

Added Schreiber: “When One Theater Square opens in the summer of 2018, it will be the hub of a neighborhood that has grown up around NJPAC, including the Whole Foods market and other residential, educational, and mixed-use projects.”

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said, “The pace of change downtown continues to accelerate as our central business district becomes more of a residential, artistic, and retail hub in addition to its strength as a regional business center.”

One Theater Square is part of a downtown Newark revival envisioned more than a quarter-century ago by performing-arts center founders including former Gov. Thomas Kean; philanthropist Ray Chambers; and Larry Goldman, the center's first CEO, Schreiber said.

“This is a transformative moment in a great city’s advance toward an even greater future,” Schreiber said.

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