With the opening of the new Hahne & Co. building, the groundbreaking of Newark’s first high-rise residential building in more than a generation and other development projects taking shape in downtown Newark, the mood at a recent panel discussion about the city’s real estate was optimistic.
 
“You can’t help but mess with Newark right now,” said Francis Giantomasi, partner of Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, who moderated the Real Estate Market Forecast panel Tuesday, sponsored by the Newark Regional Business Partnership and held at Prudential Financial's new office tower on Broad Street, which opened last year. 

“Hoboken is full, Jersey City is getting extraordinarily expensive, Harrison is filling up,” Giantomasi said. “And now it’s Newark’s turn.” 

Sign Up for E-News

Prior to the panel, Heidi Learner, the chief economist of Savills Studley, provided an outlook on Newark’s economy that forecasted a generally positive future. She cited the decline of unemployment with the advent of construction, the rise of leasing transactions in office spaces, and the increase in the number of sites owned by companies in Newark.

One of the latest projects in Newark that drew the attention of panelists is One Theater Square, which broke ground in November. Owned by the Philadelphia based real estate company, Dranoff Properties, the 22-story residential building’s amenities will include an outdoor patio space, a fitness center, 24 hour concierge, and much more. 

Located across from NJPAC and Military Park, and featuring 12,000 sq. ft. of retail space, the project is a piece of a bigger revitalization of the city, complementing projects in the downtown area. 

“The more concentration we have downtown for residence and offices, the more restaurants, shops, and people will be enjoying Military Park,” said Julia Gutstadt, CIO of Dranoff Properties. “We all benefit from each other’s projects.” 

Also discussed by panelists was the newly renovated Hahne & Co. building, which was opened in January. The building formerly housed a department store, which closed in the late 80s, and remained vacant ever since. Today, it is home to a Whole Foods Market, a Barnes & Noble Rutgers University bookstore and Express Newark, a community “collaboratory” created by Rutgers.

Jonathan Cortell, vice president of development for L&M Development Partners, which designed the Hahne & Co. building, said there is more to come.

“The work we have celebrated so far is only part of the story. By extending from Hahne & Co. northward, we are doing a job of bringing in the institutions that are there, which further the enterprise.” Cortell said.

Among the panel was also Jennifer Carrillo-Perez, Newark native and partner of Connell Foley, Kevin Collins, CFO of C&K Properties, Michael Sommer, EVP of development for Edison Properties, and William Waxman, EVP of CBRE.