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Mayor Baraka and the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (comprised of leaders from Edison Properties, J&L Companies, Inc., and Prudential Center) announced the development of Commons earlier this year. The 22 acre commons will be a $100 million financial investment from private investments and $10 million from public funding, which will bring new businesses, residences, a park, and a footbridge, linking downtown Newark to Penn Station and the Ironbound.
Triangle Park is a 2 acre plot lies adjacent to the Newark Warehouse Building, and situated by the Prudential Center, bounded by Edison Place, Lafayette Street, McCarter Highway, and Mulberry Street. The original park was to act as a city square for residential and commercial buildings in the district.
The first phase of the project is to create the 3 acre Mulberry Park along Mulberry Street and Edison Place over the existing Triangle Park by summer of 2018. Plans for Mulberry Park started back in February 2015; Municipal Council of Newark heard proposals of the park, which would include retail and entertainment areas.
In March 2016, Newark announced a new plan for the park and a pedestrian bridge. Renderings of the commons show open spaces with modern sitting areas and walkways. There are no specific statistics on how many residences will be built, but Baraka states that a portion of the area will be affordable for lower income residents. Baraka does not plan on leaving out local residents out of this plan; he says that the city is creating two injunctions: one for affordable homes for lower income residents and the other to incentivize business to hire Newark residents by waiving the mandatory 1% payroll tax if more than 51% of a company’s staff is local.
“This park will bring much-needed green space to the city of Newark and with its success, economic vitality,” says Jennifer Sage of Sage and Coombe Architects, the company in charge of developing the commons. “We will establish a place to play, to meet and to connect, to rest, to read and perhaps most important, make Newark proud of the tremendous urban energy it has engendered.” This project is expected to create jobs for many people and a new image of Newark that is far from what people see as it now.
“People are going to work here, people are going to live here, people are going to play here,” says Ben Feigenbaum, chief operating officer for Edison Properties, which owns several parking lots that will be replaced by the park.
Mayor Raj Baraka states that Triangle Park is a “very valuable piece of land” that will help bring the Renaissance Newark deserves. “It creates public safety, it creates economic vibrance, it puts people into the arena,” he says. “It is one step closer to where we want to be in the city of Newark.”