Major Downtown Newark Development Offers Opportunities for Small Businesses

Newark, New JerseyThe New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) announced in late December that it is moving forward with an $80 million plan to develop a “Greek Village” for its undergraduate students on its Newark campus. Newark’s planning board approved construction of six buildings as part of the project, including five three-story duplexes and a six-story “Honors College building,” according to NJ.com. The new buildings will house dormitories, mixed-use commercial space, a dining area, and a fitness facility. NJIT’s campus near downtown Newark is currently home to about 1,600 students, and the new development will create room for 600 more. The new buildings will replace a 2-acre parking lot.

A private corporation created by the school to manage the development is working out financing and hopes to complete construction by March 2013. By creating a private entity, NJIT has the opportunity to apply for tax benefits under the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program. This program provides tax credits up to 100% for certain capital investments made by individuals or businesses in designated urban areas, in an effort to promote private equity investment in development projects. Since the school is a public entity, it may also be able to raise funds through a bond election.

The corporation’s president describes the development plan as a “community development initiative” not limited to the benefit of NJIT. The Greek Village project is the first phase of a billion-dollar “Campus Gateway Redevelopment Plan” that will eventually redevelop about 23 acres around the NJIT campus.

The Greek Village is intended to replace the aging buildings on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard used by the school’s Greek organizations. The school hopes that the existing buildings will be replaced by mixed-use developments, combining retail or office spaces at street level with residence above. The development therefore offers opportunities to create new businesses in both an as-yet-unused part of the campus and an older, established but slightly run-down part of Newark.

As of late December, eight of NJIT’s eighteen Greek organizations had agreed to move to the new location. Many students had mixed feelings, citing the existing Greek area’s history despite the often-poor condition of many of the buildings. Non-student residents of that area seem more receptive to the idea, as it brings in new development to the neighborhood and moves the frat parties to the NJIT campus.

With new development projects come new opportunities for small businesses. Both the new Greek Village project and possible redevelopment plans for the “frat row” area include mixed-use retail and office space, with an extensive built-in customer base nearby. Along with other development plans in Newark and other cities in north New Jersey, this may prove to be a good time to look into business opportunities.

The New Jersey business lawyers at Samuel C. Berger, P.C. offer fixed-fee legal services to businesses and investors who conduct business in north New Jersey and New York. To speak to a member of our skilled legal team, contact us today online or at (201) 587-1500.

More Blog Posts:

State Small Business Credit Initiative Creates Loans for New York and New Jersey Small Businesses, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, January 10, 2012
New Jersey Cities are “Blank Slates” for Redevelopment, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2012
New Jersey Offers Support to Prospective Entrepreneurs, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 27, 2011
Photo credit: Newark, New Jersey by Doug Kerr (dougtone), on Flickr.