Business & Finance

Baraka touts Newark's redevelopment at regional business meeting

Mayor Ras Baraka and Newark Regional Business Partnership President and CEO Chip Hallock discuss business in Newark. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka told an assembly of regional business leaders that both the business community and city residents must work together for Newark's economic redevelopment to have a positive impact. 

"We should have a collective vision going forth," said Baraka on Tuesday before more than 200 members of the Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP), a pro-business group that includes nearly 450 corporations, professional firms, small businesses, educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations, all dedicated to strengthening the region’s business infrastructure and revitalizing New Jersey’s largest city.

"We should have one narrative about where the city is, and where's it's going," Baraka said. "And we have to tell that story." 

Sign Up for E-News

Chip Hallock, President and CEO of the NRBP, and Baraka went back and forth about the ongoing redevelopment in Newark from the dais in the newly-refurbished Crystal Room at the downtown Robert Treat Hotel.

The recent revitalization of Military Park and the Hahne & Co. building apartments, as well as the introduction of an upscale Whole Foods market, was noted. Other soon-to-be-completed projects were discussed, including the Mulberry Commons park near Penn Station and the One Theater Square luxury apartments being built across from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). 

These initiatives, along with the Teachers Village residential complex and new entertainment ventures on the way such as Barcade, which will offer craft beers and classic video games, are meant to make downtown Newark not just a destination point.

"We want to make downtown a neighborhood," Baraka said. "Millenials want to live in a downtown next to trains and entertainment, and we have to provide for them. The country in turning back to cities, and the city is where it's happening." 

Baraka also expressed a desire to ensure that redevelopment radiates throughout Newark. The expansion of both riverfront park access along the Passaic and the potential construction of a PATH station in the South Ward near Newark Airport and Weequahic Park are ways that he believes the city can make this happen.

More importantly, Baraka added that the ongoing effort to enact inclusionary zoning ordinance that would require developers to set aside a percentage of their residential units for affordable housing is critical for the future of Newark.

Baraka underscored that in his mind, Newark is not the next Brooklyn, the New York City borough whose name has become a catchword for urban gentrification. 

"Newark is Newark - we can't be something else. We have our own story," Baraka said. "Many people in Brooklyn who were there [before redevelopment] aren't really so happy about it. We have to get tough on that. You have to develop people in the city so that they can be part of development. The inclusionary zoning ordinance leads us in that direction." 

Joseph J. Maraziti, Jr., a prominent New Jersey lawyer whose firm, Maraziti Falcon, is based in suburban Short Hills, liked the urban vision depicted in the discussion. 

"Mayor Baraka has hit all the right bases," said Maraziti. "What's great about it is that it's not just about the community and it's not just about the business side of things. It's the interface between the two that he stresses over and over again." 

With the nexus of politics and business almost inevitable, the question of Baraka's re-election in next year's municipal election came up, with the mayor expressing confidence that he would get another four years from the city's electorate. 

When it was pointed out to Baraka that most of the people in the room were not Newark residents and therefore have no say regarding his re-election, Baraka was blunt. 

"I'm not here to get people to vote for me. I'm here to get them to do business in the city," Baraka said. "These people can help build our economy and get people jobs. If that makes the city better, and in turn people feel good about their city, then maybe they'll vote for me."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


McGovern's summer renovation closing party celebrates change

June 16, 2018

It always takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when you walk into McGovern's Tavern in Newark, a downtown fixture since 1936.

But this Friday afternoon, there were two immediate sights that demonstrated something was different.

First, most of the photos, portraits, and articles that cover the bar's walls were removed, the relics of decades of history gone.

Second, you ...

Mothers Mobilize in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

June 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

Newark men honored for serving as role models by the Marion P. Thomas Charter School Foundation

June 11, 2018

Newark, NJ—Three local men and one corporation received awards from the Marion P. Thomas Charter School (MPTCS) Foundation at its annual “Fathers for our Children” Awards Ceremony and Scholarship Fundraiser.

This year’s award recipients are Modia "Mo" Butler, political strategist; the late Dr. Fabian Rice of RWJ/ Barnabas Health’s ...

Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan dies

June 20, 2018

Kevin Ryan, a former Assemblyman from Nutley who served as an Essex County Undersheriff, has died.

Ryan, 49, served for nearly two decades in the Essex County Sheriff's Office, rising to the rank of undersheriff. He also served a year beginning in January 2011 as State Assemblyman before redistricting changes.  

Ryan was a close confidante of Essex County Sheriff ...

Newark native releases debut single

June 22, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - Elizabeth resident and Newark native Gail Campbell has released a highly anticipated debut single, "Bloody Waters."

This first single for Campbell, has a Rock-N-Roll and soulful vibe and is currently available on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Tidal and all streaming services. 

The music, paired with Campbell’s soulful ...

Got junk? Rutgers students do

June 1, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - On a thin tripod of supports, the black charcoal grill sat on top of love seat that was half on the street, half on the curb, outside a Delafield Street apartment.

As the college year ends, and this generation of Rutgers students empty out of apartments, their well-used but now discarded remains line city curbs, and sometimes spill into ...

Newark native releases debut single

June 22, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - Elizabeth resident and Newark native Gail Campbell has released a highly anticipated debut single, "Bloody Waters."

This first single for Campbell, has a Rock-N-Roll and soulful vibe and is currently available on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Tidal and all streaming services. 

The music, paired with Campbell’s soulful ...

Hearing Loss Common in School-Aged Children

May 30, 2018

With close to 15% of U.S. children ages 6–19 experiencing hearing loss, New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) notes that May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month is the ideal time for parents to learn more about the sometimes-subtle signs of hearing loss, ways it can affect school-aged children, and where to find help.

“Some children are born ...

Ensure Safe Sleep While Traveling with Baby

June 6, 2018

As we approach the summer, there will be plenty of expected travel for families, from visiting grandma at the beach to heading out on a long, well-deserved vacation. 

When staying overnight at a friend’s or family’s place, it is important to maintain the same sleep practices as you do at home. Your baby should be sleeping in a safe, modern crib that meets the latest ...