Newark educational development ruffles feathers

Beleaguered Newark, N.J. is giving an experimental sort of mixed-use building a shot in its decaying downtown: combining educational and living spaces, an ambitious plan that broke ground last month, as The Real Deal reported at the time. But some residents are not wholly pleased with the development’s plans, the New York Times reported.

The Richard Meier-designed development, Teachers Village, which is slated to cost $149 million and take two years to build, will have three charter schools and affordable housing for teachers. But residents are upset that only charter schools, as opposed to public schools, are planned to rise in the development, which they say was planned without their input.

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Donna Jackson, a local community activist, told the Times that the planning process involved only business owners. “The problem is this new development continues to drive out Newarkers,” she said, “Most of us in Newark feel that again this is another prime example of segregation and building for only a certain few.”

Teachers Village is only the first phase of a larger development in the area by the same lead developer, New York-based RBH Group. “Our vision for Newark is really sort of a middle-income utopia, very much like how Queens and the outer boroughs have succeeded tremendously with their retail,” said Ron Beit, chairman at RBH Group. [NYT]