Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

From Vacant Warehouse to Modern Workplace Hub

Project Name: Ironside Newark

Transformation of a long-vacant warehouse into a 21st-century office and retail destination with direct connections to transit, open space and nearby attractions

Partners: Edison Properties LLC; City of Newark; Newark Community Economic Development Corporation; Perkins Eastman

 


In 1956, brothers Jerry and Harold Gottesman purchased their first parking lot in downtown Newark, a lot that would mark the beginning of Edison Properties. Adjacent to that lot now sits Ironside Newark, the company’s transformation of a long-vacant, highly visible 110-year-old former industrial warehouse into a mixed-use office and retail building that is serving as an accelerator for the revitalization of Newark’s central business district.

Although Newark has enjoyed significant redevelopment activity recently, Ironside is the city’s first speculative office project in more than 30 years. It sits in the heart of downtown, a critical nexus in an increasingly walkable neighborhood that includes Mulberry Commons park, the Prudential Center, and a growing number of retail, dining, cultural and entertainment options. The development also sports an above-ground pedestrian bridge that connects it, and the surrounding downtown district, directly to the tracks at Newark Penn Station and to the Ironbound district beyond.

Within the building is a wide variety of office types, from lofts to collaborative spaces to a glass penthouse, all geared toward a 21st-century workforce.The ground two floors will be retail and restaurant space. The building is also the first redevelopment project in New Jersey to receive a WiredScore Platinum certification, reflecting the building’s technological capacity. It is already luring key tenants from other parts of the state that want to be in a more walkable, transit-accessible environment, making it a key new job center in Newark’s business district.

When the building is fully leased, it is projected to house more than 1,000 new jobs that will bring additional business to nearby retail and attractions and enliven the neighborhood beyond business hours. And its direct connection to Newark Penn Station means that many of those workers will be able to commute by transit, reducing driving and parking demand and contributing to the city’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Rather than consider individual redevelopment projects discretely, the city has begun looking at Newark’s downtown core as a cohesive economic entity, and focusing on how its assets and opportunities can reinforce and enhance each other. Under that approach, Ironside has become a centerpiece of the greater Mulberry Commons district, which includes the building and the park and a number of surrounding parcels that may be considered for redevelopment in the future — all components of a new vision for the revitalization of this part of the city.

The risk of committing $80 million to a speculative office project was significant. But the success of Ironside speaks to the power of a key location and modern design to attract a modern workforce, and to the power of effective public-private partnerships in project execution. It also represents further confirmation that Newark has become a destination for major employers seeking a vibrant, transit-accessible urban setting with amenities as rich and diverse as a park and an arena, and that offers modern technological infrastructure and a plentiful talent pool. The project provides an emulable model for other urban areas around the state, showing the possibilities that come with transforming a historic asset into a facility that will fuel 21st-century economic growth.

Supporting partners: Langan Engineering and Environmental Services; Jones Lang LaSalle; Pierson Commercial Real Estate; Pearlman & Miranda, LLC; Genova Burns LLC; Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP; Newmark Knight Frank; Antenna Spaces

See all 2019 Smart Growth Awards

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