NEWARK, NJ - Shaquille O'Neal’s second residential tower passed another milestone yesterday when the city planning board approved site plans for the project.

The 33-story building with 370 studio, one and two-bedroom units will be located steps away from Newark Penn Station at 769-781 McCarter Highway. About 75 affordable units will be sought for the project, said an attorney for the developer.  

Boraie Development and O'Neal, a retired NBA-star and Newark native, are teaming up for this project and another development along Rector Street. That 22-story luxury residential building is commonly referred to as the "Shaq Tower" and is slated to open by the end of this year.

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"In 1992, me and my mother was visiting some relatives,” O’Neal said at an April press conference for the Rector Street project, “and my mother says to me, 'I remember when this city used be beautiful. Somebody needs to come by and invest in the city and make it beautiful again.' And then she gave me that big elbow to the chest like I'm that somebody.”

Although there is no name for the development yet, designs presented to the planning board had Newark Plaza Tower written on them.

There is currently a surface parking lot where the second tower is slated to be built. The project is slated for completion in 2019. 

The project’s plan proposes a parking garage with 222 spots above ground-level retail space. Carlos Cardoso, an architect from Beyer Blinder Belle for the project, explained that atop the parking garage will be amenities, including a pool, artscapes and landscaping.

“There will be some amazing views, absolutely,” from the rooftop, Cardoso said.

Although the city required 370 parking spaces for this type of construction, the project received a variance for insufficient parking. Given the close proximity to Penn Station, officials for the project anticipate that many residents will use public transportation instead.

O'Neal and Boraie Development also worked together on the CityPlex 12, a movie theater complex along Springfield Avenue that opened about six years ago.

The city’s Downtown is seeing a spike in high-rise residential towers, including One Theater Square next to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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