NEWARK, NJ — Developers looking to grow Newark beyond the city’s bustling downtown gained momentum on Wednesday with the approval of tax abatements for three projects set to add hundreds of units of housing to the South Ward.
This includes the mixed-use Tucker View Apartments, whose original developer, Kiburi Tucker, pleaded guilty in 2019 to tax evasion and defrauding his nonprofit The Centre of more than $330,000. Tucker’s company, Bergen Street Redevelopment Urban Renewal, received $1.3 million and $1.9 million in federal HUD HOME loan and grant funds for the project.
City officials said Tucker has been removed from the project, which will supply 42 residential units, commercial space and a community center at ground level. Council also moved forward measures for the Jelliff Senior Estates project, which will construct 50 sorely needed senior housing units along Jelliff Avenue.
“Some of these projects are 10 to 15 years old, and we’ve been working hard over the last couple months to get them done. Because of that, we’re going to be able to provide affordable housing to the residents of the South Ward, and new senior housing,” South Ward Councilmember Sharpe James Jr. said on Wednesday.
A 30-year tax abatement will help finance an East Ward residential project being built by Boraie Development, LLC and NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal. Slated to be the latest residential project in Newark, the 32-story complex will offer 370 units of housing, 74 of which will qualify as affordable.
O’Neal himself will live in one of the building’s penthouses, according to the city. The project is expected to create 500 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs for local residents, who will be trained and hired to work on the site.
“Housing construction in Newark continues to be guided by our commitment to equitable growth — creating more homeownership, more places to live that residents can afford, and more minority and women contractors to participate in the rebirth of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. “I am grateful to the council for its partnership in creating a more just and equitable city.”
A building proposed by another Newark notable, Queen Latifah, received 25- and 30-year tax abatements. RISE, a mixed-use complex, will offer 76 residential units on Springfield Avenue and along 19th Avenue, South 16th Street and South 17th Street. About 20 townhouses are included in the project, each of which includes three units.
At the ground level, 1,900 square feet of space will be leased to local nonprofits.
Council also authorized the sale of city-owned property on Wednesday for additional rehabilitation and development projects to create affordable rental or for-sale housing elsewhere in the South and North Wards.