NEWARK, NJ - The City Council on Tuesday took one step closer to advance plans to redevelop the long-abandoned and historic Krueger Scott Mansion in the city's Central Ward.

The nine-member panel unanimously approved a 35-year tax exemption to Newark Makerhoods, which plans create 66 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, a 4,000 square foot courtyard and 20,000 square feet of commercial office space it wants to turn into a business incubation center.

Sixteen of the 66 units will be designated affordable housing. The ordinance also authorizes the city to issue a bond of up to $2.5 million for the project, which sits on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Court Street.

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Council members, who approved the bill unanimously, welcomed the potential to advance a project for a structure placed on both the New Jersey and National Historic Register that has sat dormant for decades.

“There will be something that will capture the history of Krueger Scott Mansion so it’s not a dinosaur,” Councilmember At-Large Luis Quintana said. “The history of this city is very important to its citizens.”

Council members also noted years of neglect and mismanaged taxpayer money that has left the property vacant for more than two decades. 

Council member Augusto Amador said as part of passing the ordinance, an investigation should be conducted on where money previously allocated for the project has gone over the years.

“We haven’t done that and I’m sure that we will be completely surprised,” Amador said.

The mansion was built in 1888 on what was then known as High Street by German beer baron Gottfried Krueger at a time when Newark was renowned for its production of lagers and ales. 

It was purchased by local entrepreneur Louise Scott-Rountree in 1958, who used the site to run a cosmetology college and other businesses and that became a community hub in the Central Ward. 

It has sat dormant and been the site of lootings since the city bought the property in the 1980s.

Newark Makerhoods notes its goal is to recruit 18 small businesses owners to work, live and grow their businesses on the property. It hopes to target two industries: food and fashion, according to its website.

Project completion is expected in early 2021.