From New Jersey Business, “Newark’s Glass Half Full“:
“There were 20 economic development and housing development ground breakings and ribbon cuttings in 2008, half of them in the last quarter,” says Stefan Pryor, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development. “The pace is accelerating.”
The city’s improbable confidence is based in part on a theory that Newark will benefit from the downturn by attracting newly cost-conscious businesses.
“Newark’s time is now. The city is a low-cost alternative to Manhattan,” says Ted Zangari, an attorney with Sills Cummis & Gross PC, who specializes in commercial real estate. Zangari says he has two clients now eyeing 40-50 acre industrial sites in the city, each promising to bring nearly 1,000 jobs from higher-cost locations inside and outside of the state if they sign on. He’s also representing a landlord who is in discussions with a prominent national retailer.
The state’s recently adopted Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, designed to spur development in communities near commuter rail stations by providing businesses that locate near them with tax credits based on capital investments and jobs, makes the sale even easier, he says.
While rents for commercial real estate in Manhattan are around $80 per square foot, they are in the $20-range in Newark. Added incentives, such as the new tax credit program, “bring net effective rents into the single digits,” Zangari says.
“If Newark doesn’t undergo a renaissance now, I don’t know when it ever will,” he adds.
The story mentions the Coffee Cave on Halsey Street, one of the new businesses to have started in the city recently. I had a drink there earlier this year and heartily recommend it.