Business & Finance

Former Newark Pabst Brewery site targeted for redevelopment

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The Newark site of a defunct brewery that included a 60-foot-tall bottle-shaped water tank that was a city roadside icon for decades could soon flow again with activity.

The Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC), an economic development company whose sole client is the City of Newark, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the four-acre site located at 552-572 South Orange Avenue and the corner of Grove Street. Preliminary appraisals indicate a total land value of approximately $3,039,000, according to the RFP. The submission deadline for the proposal, issued last month, is January 14.

"We're interested in any developer who wants to best use the site to help build up the tax base and generate jobs," said Carmelo Garcia, Executive Vice President and Chief Real Estate Officer for NCEDC. "That's the kind of employment-oriented development that we need."

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The West Ward site was the location of the Pabst Brewery, topped by a 55,000-gallon water tank shaped like a giant Pabst Blue Ribbon bottle that soared 185 feet over the city for 75 years. The bottle, originally built in the 1930s for a soft drink company that produced Hoffman Pale Dry Ginger Ale, switched labels when Pabst purchased the plant in 1945. The brewery closed in 1986, but the PBR bottle loomed over the neighborhood and the nearby Garden State Parkway as a familiar New Jersey landmark until 2006, then wound up scrapped in a junkyard in Newark's Ironbound neighborhood.

Subsequent plans for a shopping mall fizzled out. But Garcia, pointing out the need for Newark's growing downtown development to radiate outward to all of the city's five wards, said a mixed-use project as delineated in an evolving redevelopment plan for the area could become a new business symbol for the neighborhood.

"You start from the core outwards, then market forces bleed changes into other areas," said Garcia. "Our goal is a project that generates interest and creates opportunities. This is what matters most."

Earlier this week, Baraka signed a measure that grants five-year tax abatements for newly constructed commercial, industrial or multiple-dwelling properties that are located outside the downtown, airport and seaport districts.

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