Newark, New Jersey: A historic building on the campus of Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark's Central Ward could soon be rehabilitated.
The four-story structure designed by prominent Essex County architect Jeremiah O'Rourke has towered over the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Central Avenue since 1871, making it Newark's oldest hospital building, but it has sat vacant for nearly a decade. Now, several local organizations are planning to revitalize the building to once again make it a center of the University Heights community.
Plans by the Community Asset Preservation Corporation (CAPC) of Halsey Street, in partnership with the Downtown-based Hanini Group, Lincoln Park-based Crawford Street Partners, and Chatham, Morris County-based CTS Group, call for transforming the building into an 88,000 square foot "arts and cultural incubator for Newark nonprofits and educational institutions", according to CAPC Real Estate Director Jeffrey Crum.
“Bringing a creative theme to that section of Newark will really have a positive impact and only expand what’s already starting to happen in that area of the city”, said Crum in an interview with Essex County Place.
Crum stated that once the rehabilitation is complete, an arts-focused charter school will take up close to 35,000 square feet, though the school operator has not yet been revealed. In addition, GlassRoots, which currently operates a glass blowing studio and gallery on Bleeker Street in Downtown Newark, is set to take around 18,000 square feet. Other parts of the building, including a former chapel, could be occupied by local art galleries that are currently being affected by the increased cost of rent in Downtown.
"We’re hoping to offer an affordable space that non-profits and artist groups can occupy long-term”, Crum explained.
Newark's Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission heard the proposal on Wednesday night, and developers are hoping that the Newark Central Planning Board will hear the plans by early March. Construction is set to begin in the summer, and could be completed by late spring of 2018. The project is not slated to receive city funding, but is set to receive funds from the New Markets Tax Credit program and historic tax credits due to the building's location in the James Street Commons Historic District, according to Crum.
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