NBA icon Shaq now a busy Jersey developer

Downtown Newark and Shaquille O' Neal
Downtown Newark and Shaquille O' Neal

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is involved in several commercial and residential development projects in the New Jersey area, using his money and clout to partner up with Boraie Development, a New Brunswick, N.J.-based developer. Their latest project is a $60 million rental complex at One Rector Street, in Downtown Newark — the beleaguered city’s first housing tower to be built in half a century. O’Neal, who grew up in Newark, will attend the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and other elected officials.

“Our team is focused right now on Jersey’s urban downtowns,” O’Neal told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t want to be all over the place.”

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O’Neal and Boraie are also moving ahead on a mixed-use complex in Atlantic City that will combine market-rate housing, a theater and retail, and are planning three more developments in Newark, according to the newspaper.

O’Neal is a co-developer in the ventures and receives an equity stake. Though he sees the projects as giving back to the local community, his partners see them as solid business. “If you build the right product, the dollars are there,” Wasseem Boraie, vice president of Boraie Development, told the Journal. [WSJ] –  Hiten Samtani