Monday, July 11, 2016

After Being Sold by Housing Authority for $480K, Former Newark Train Terminal Listed at $1.2M

Newark, New Jersey: After being sold to a developer by a city agency earlier this year, a vacant historic Downtown Newark building has been listed for sale at nearly 2.5 times the price that it was sold for.

Trains once ran along the Newark and New York Railroad between the former Central Railroad of New Jersey's Lafayette Street Terminal building, located at 834-836 Broad Street, between Lafayette Street and Edison Place, and the train terminal within Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Both terminals closed in 1967. According to the National Park Service, the building dates to 1869, and was renovated in 1916.

"The last I knew about the facade of the station, the plan was to turn it into an additional entrance to the Prudential Arena", David Lippman of the City of Newark told Essex County Place. "That plan got changed when the area was turned into a parking garage for the arena", he added.

Lippman said that the Newark Housing Authority reported that the building was sold by the authority to 3Js Development Group, LLC, adding that that the details of the sale are with the NHA Legal Department. General Counsel Ellen Harris and other officials with the NHA did not return any requests for comment.

3Js Development Group is based in Morris Plains, and according to Barry Carter of The Star-Ledger, the building was sold to 3Js in January for $480,000. Carter reported in May that due to the station's location in a historic district, the sale of the building might have been illegal, and stated that according to a report, 3Js planned to have a jewelry store, offices, and apartments in the building.

However, Bill Sitar of Sitar Realty Company told Essex County Place that his company has listed the building for sale. A listing posted online by Sitar shows that the 4,200 square foot terminal building was recently listed at $1,195,000. Sitar describes the building as being located "in a rapidly evolving section of Newark", stating that "the facade and architectural detail are sure to appeal to certain retailers who wish to announce their presence with a flourish". 

The Newark Housing Authority remains one of the largest landowners in the city. The Prudential Center, vacant lots along Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Clinton Avenue, and public housing developments across the city are among its assets. Despite this, the authority has not published a single board meeting agenda on the 'Transparency Documents' page of its website in over a year, posted a press release on its website in over four years, or posted its NHA Voice newsletter online in over five years.

According to Data Universe, NHA Executive Director Keith Kinard is paid $222,720 per year, more than any other city employee. Harris is paid $165,408 per year.

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