NEWARK, NJ — Officials gathered today to break ground for an idea that has been more than four years in the making - the first hotel in Newark's Ironbound section.

The Pestana Hotel Group and the Seabra Group partnered to build the new 110-room Pestana Ironbound Hotel at 114-126 Monroe, St. The boutique hotel will feature a sky-lit atrium and a rooftop lounge. The design is intended to fit into the style of the adjacent Investors Bank building and the four-story Air Portugal building.

There have been some doubters in the community about the project. “It’s indeed a pleasure to be here and finally finalize the dream that we had about three or four years ago,” Councilman Augusto Amador said during the ceremony. “When we talked about a hotel in the Ironbound because of the growth of the Ironbound, people looked at me and said, ‘you’re crazy.’

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“(The Pestana Ironbound Hotel) is a huge investment in this community,” Amador said. “The Ironbound is growing, the future is absolutely fabulous, but we need to work at it and it’s going to happen.”

Dionísio Pestana, Pestana Group owner and chairman, said he was amazed about the potential of the destination upon his first visit. He spoke in favor of the site’s close proximity to New York City and said he is hopeful for dynamic development in Newark’s future.

He said the Pestana and Seabra groups come from families of similar backgrounds, values and ethics, making for an even stronger bond beyond the commercial venture. 

The Pestana Hotel Group is celebrating 47 years with 15,000 rooms in its portfolio. The group is in 15 countries. The Pestana Ironbound Hotel will mark the group’s third hotel in the U.S.

The Pestana Hotel Group portfolio has four brands: Pestana Hotels & Resorts, Pestana Collection Hotels, Pestana Pousadas de Portugal – Monuments & Historic Hotels and finally Pestana CR7, a 50-50 investment partnership with footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

“This is really a dream come true. We always dreamed about having a hotel on this side of the city,” said Antonio Seabra, the chain’s president and owner. Seabra said that though his family members were born in Portugal, they now have deep roots in the city of Newark. 

Seabra said he is delighted to partner with The Pestana Hotel Group.

Armando Fontoura, Sheriff of Newark, said Newark went into “survival mode” for many years. 

“We are clearly in a renaissance mode (now)” he said, congratulating the business partners.

Allison Ladd, Newark’s acting deputy mayor and director of economic and housing development, celebrated the “fantastic economic development in a neighborhood, not just downtown” that will continue the growth of the city.