Is Newark finally cleaning up its act?

A bevy of development portends a promising future for New Jersey’s largest city

Newark, N.J.
Newark, N.J.

For many New Yorkers, Newark is an exit and a last resort. Travelers ride the train in and fly out.

But increasingly, people are coming to Newark and staying put. Currently $2 billion in commercial and residential development is underway in the industrial town and that means big changes.

Roughly 1,500 units of housing are under construction and another 4,000 are planned in Newark, according to the New York Times. So is Newark going to become a destination? Is it about to lose its bad reputation? Real estate investors seem to think so.

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“This is the largest city in the state and for too long it’s been hamstrung by people’s discomfort with its reputation,” Jonathan Cortell, the vice president of development for L & M Development Partners, told the Times. “And now, maybe it’s premature to start calling it a rising star, but there’s positive action happening here.”

Still, roughly a third of the city’s residents live in poverty, and it’s less likely to become another Manhattan commuter town like Hoboken. It will most likely remain a harder sell for developers.

“Newark’s not trying to be the next Brooklyn, or the next Jersey City,” Baye Adofo-Wilson, Newark’s Deputy Mayor for Economic and Housing Development, told the Times. “We have our own richness and our own culture here that isn’t just an expansion of Wall Street, but really an expansion of Newark and an expansion of New Jersey.” [NYT]Christopher Cameron