NEWARK, NJ — Nonprofit organizations can now lease city-owned property in Newark to use for arts, culture and educational programs, according to a recent municipal ordinance. 

Rent will come at a token of $1 per year and tenants will have an opportunity to purchase the land.

The ordinance bans tenant organizations to use the land for any commercial, political, partisan, or sectarian purpose.

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“Newark has a long history as a center of the arts and culture and nonprofits that serve an essential role to our community,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka.  "We can now begin to turn blight into light, and turn these properties into cultural centers that will both write new chapters in our artistic history and energize our present and future neighborhoods and generations of artists.”

Department of Administration Business Administrator Eric Pennington will create and implement the leasing program to allow nonprofits to submit a proposal to lease city-owned property being made available.

Pennington will review the proposals and choose those he deems, in his sole independent discretion, as being in the city's best interest.

All lease agreements will be an initial one-year rent of $1, with four one-year options to renew at the same annual rent, each subject to Municipal Council approval.

At the fifth year, the tenant will have the opportunity to purchase the land from the city at fair market value of the property at the time they rented it; or before they began site improvements that would normally increase a property’s value.