NEWARK, NJ – A project previously approved to spur redevelopment in the Central Ward will expand even further after the Newark City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to designate a new developer for properties on Broad and Division streets. 

The developer, May Newark, LLC, plans to construct a mixed-use development in nine phases. The project will consist of approximately 4,200 residential units; up to 3,000 parking spaces; at least 100,000 square feet of a mix of hospitality/destination retail open to the public and office/co-working space for small business, entrepreneurs, and freelancers; and publicly accessible green space.

The project will encompass the properties on 1155-1157 McCarter Highway; 450-466 Broad St.;  5-55 Division St.; 2-28 Division St.; 30-42 Division St.; and 44-56 Division St. 

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The original redeveloper, LEG 450 Broad Street, LLC, proposed to construct a mixed-use development on and adjacent to the former Newark Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium site, consisting of up to 2,526 residential units, 130,000 square feet of retail, 2 million square feet of office space, 48 live/work units and 3,300 parking spaces. 

After LEG completed the demolition of the prior improvements on the property, May entered into a purchase and sale agreement with LEG to now head the project. According to the resolution, the city determined that May, a Lakewood-based developer, possessed the proper qualifications, financial resources, and capacity to implement and complete the project. 

“The project prior to this was predominantly office space, and given the office market today, we believe that the project before you is best given our current market conditions,” Deputy Mayor and Director of the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development Allison Ladd said. “However, should market conditions change in the future, the developer and the city have the opportunity to come back to the council to consider office space should it become viable.

“[May Newark, LLC] have done other work across the state, and we are looking forward to them doing this work here in Newark. They have experience in residential development, and I think they will bring this project to fruition,” Ladd said. 

Ladd noted that the newly proposed project by May will provide for affordable housing units. The initial project proposed by LEG was approved prior to an inclusionary zoning ordinance

“What we are able to do with the developer, being sensitive to our needs here in Newark around affordable housing, is that they agreed to have 5% on-site affordable, which equals 200 units and a 15% payment in lieu [of taxes] - that means $15 million will come to the city,” she said. 

The project will also aim to create more opportunities for workforce development with Newark residents. The developer is planned to have meetings with local unions and implement a 10% required prevailing wage for construction costs, according to Ladd. The developer is also planned to invest $300,000 per each of the nine phases for workforce development and training for residents. 

“We know that our unions do great work in our city, and we need them to continue to help fight for good wages in our city,” she said. “At the same time, we know we want Newarkers to be part of the equitable and economic growth here in our city.” 

After multiple attempts to redevelop the area on and around the former Newark Bears Stadium have fallen by the wayside over the years, city officials expressed their content to see May take charge on the project. 

“We would really like to transform the site,” Ladd said. “It has been vacant for some time… They did demolish the stadium already, and at this point, we would like to find a way and path forward so we could develop it and help our economy grow as we’re coming out of COVID-19.” 

“We are very excited about moving forward especially after being put on hold at times for this project,” Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver added.