Newark gets first downtown hotel in 38 years

By David Jones | February 05, 2010 12:13PM

Mayor Cory Booker and Tucker Development announced plans to develop a mixed-use hotel and retail project under the Courtyard by Marriott brand, next to the Prudential Center arena in Newark, marking that city’s first downtown hotel project in 38 years.

Marriott International will manage the 150-room hotel, while Tucker, based in Highland Park, Ill., will manage the project’s 15,000-square-foot retail space. The project is being done in partnership with the New Jersey Devils hockey team and Robert Finvarb, a Bay Harbor Islands, Fla.-based real estate development firm that has built several Courtyard, Residence Inn and Springhill Suites properties in Florida, Arizona and other states.

Newark officials have been in talks for a downtown hotel for several years, and see the Courtyard property as a sign of renewed investor interest in the city.

“Companies like Marriott International are choosing Newark because the city is a great investment and because they believe in Newark’s future,” Booker said in a statement.

Ray Bennett, senior vice president at Marriott International, said the property will be based on the company’s latest urban prototype, featuring a buffet area, swimming pool, meeting rooms and fitness center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for later this year.

Tucker will lease and manage the retail space at the new Courtyard by Marriott.

“Since our company began investing in Newark we have been witness to tremendous revitalization within the city and we are confident that this new hotel and retail development will help foster further development and business activity downtown,” said Richard Tucker, president and chief executive of Tucker.

In 2008, Tucker announced plans to invest $1.5 billion into the New Jersey economy, which included plans to develop a $150 million mixed-use retail, hotel and office project at the former Lincoln Motel site at 422 Broad Street, across the street from the New Jersey Transit rail station at Broad Street in Newark.