NEWARK, NJ - A new four-story, mixed-use development with 60 affordable housing units was praised today as a catalyst for other projects along Broadway in the North Ward.

Local lawmakers, the developer and state officials broke ground on the the Carrino Plaza Apartments at 416-426 Broadway, the site of a former Boys & Girls Club. Construction is scheduled for completion in December, said Larry Regan, the president of the development company for the project, Reagan Development.

“This Boys & Girls Club was sitting vacant for eight years, just rotting away,” Regan said. “We did the environmental clean up and we were able to then take and recreate something new, which is the synergy for this North Ward of Newark to recreate itself and strengthen itself.”

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The residential units will feature one to three-bedroom apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space. The Mental Health Association of Essex County will provide services to residents who are living in 10 units dedicated for people with mental health needs.

The former Boys & Girls Club was closed because it was underfunded, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos  said. The city opened The Waterfront, a facility that offers sports and college prep services about a mile away from the former Boys & Girls Club.

Ramos said the project would spark more redevelopment along Broadway. The city recently designated over 130 properties as part of a blight study, which will be used to leverage more development along the North Ward’s business corridor, Ramos said.

The apartments will be named after Anthony Carrino, a former councilman who represented the North Ward for 28 years. Regan Development and councilmen commended Carrino for his help on moving the project forward and his service to the community.

Anthony Carrino is one of the "great contributors to the development of this city,” Ramos said.

In the late 70s, Mayor Ras Baraka’s father had pushed for public housing in the North Ward with Kawaida Towers. Baraka, when asked about it, said there was some irony in Carrino, who was a new councilman at the time, opposing that project in the 70s. 

“It's a different time period,” Baraka said “Different things are happening in the city. It's just the irony of the situation, that's it. What we're really concerned about is the fact that there's affordable housing going up and we're happy about that.”

All the apartments in the building will be affordable housing and feature one to three-bedroom apartments. The development will also feature a community room, laundry facilities and an on-site manager's office. Rents will range from $947 to $1,298. 

The entire project will cost $23.1 million and received over $10.5 million in financing from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The project also received $3.9 million in tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and a $720,00 low-interest loan from the city.

Baraka touted that Newark residents are helping to construct this new development, and said that current residents are top of mind when it comes to new developing throughout the city.

"We're not finished,” he said. “Downtown is the beginning, it's not the end. It is the tip of the iceberg to show what Newark can do, what Newark can become. As soon as these projects are finished, and the ribbons are cut, and the people are moving in, we think they're going to support other projects that are going to go up and are also going to develop.”

Those interested in applying for a unit at Carrino Plaza Apartments should email rentals@regandevelopment.com.

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