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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Building Near West Side Park in Newark Could Become a Charter School


Newark, New Jersey: A building in Newark could become a charter school.

According to a legal notice, a school is planned for 571-585 18th Avenue, between South 16th Street and South 17th Street in the South Ward. The property is located just across the street from West Side Park in the Central Ward. 

The notice states that the NSA 18th Avenue, with the same address as the headquarters of the Robin Hood Foundation in Manhattan, has applied to the Newark Central Planning Board for project approval. However, Victoria Grantham of Robin Hood told Essex County Place that Uncommon Schools, a chain which operates 44 schools in six Northeastern cities, including the North Star Academy schools in Newark, is behind the project. Currently, a four-story industrial building sits at the site. 

The proposal calls for demolishing part of the existing building and building an extension to it, resulting in a 77,236 square foot North Star Academy charter school for use by students in grades K-8. In addition, NSA 18th Avenue's proposal calls for a new parking lot across South 16th Street at 563-569 18th Avenue. 

Millburn-based developer Fidelco was the owner of both of the lots until recently. According to records from the New Jersey Economic Authority, the authority approved the building's sale and renovation in December. The project will be financed in part by a $7,145,000 taxable qualified zone-academy bond from the authority, which will also be used to purchase furniture and fixtures. 

Barbara Martinez of Uncommon Schools told Essex County Place that the building will be a replacement for another charter school for 800 students.

"If we are allowed to build at 571 18th Avenue, currently a vacant, eyesore building across from West Side Park, these 800 students will finally have a permanent home that they don’t have to keep being moved from", said Martinez.

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