Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Governor Phil Murphy, and partners Shaquille O’Neal and Boraie Development held the topping-off ceremony for 777 McCarter. The ceremony took place on Edison Place between McCarter Highway and Mulberry Street in Newark. Built under Newark’s Inclusionary Zoning, with 20 percent of the 370 apartments affordable, this is the largest 80/20 mixed income project in New Jersey. Informally called “Shaq Tower 2,” a penthouse apartment in 777 McCarter will become the home of the NBA Hall of Famer.
The ceremony is an important milestone in fulfilling Mayor Baraka’s vision of making Newark’s business district a 24/7 walkable and environmentally sustainable downtown, with mixed income residential and retail spaces that are active day and night, infusing downtown with life. With a location across from Newark Penn Station, many of the residents are expected to commute by train to New York or to work in Newark.
“Today, when we have billions in development going on, it may be easy to forget that not so long ago, Newark was a city where developers feared to come and invest, where the entire city had a heavy red line around it,” said Mayor Baraka. “This is a time to honor those who had the vision to invest in Newark when others did not. Today is a day to salute Boraie Development, Shaquille O’Neal, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, and our new finance partners to the City of Newark, Citibank and Bridge Development Group for their continued investment in our city.”
“Newark has proven to be a City of Opportunity within our State of Opportunity, and with the many upcoming developments in this area, I am proud that the top priority remains for there to be quality affordable housing for the residents who call this city their home,” said Governor Murphy. “I applaud Mayor Baraka, Boraie Development, and the many community leaders who have made affordable housing available to the families of Newark.”
“Boraie Development is humbled to have the opportunities to develop in the great City of Newark under the incomparable leadership of Mayor Baraka and his administration, along with the esteemed Municipal Council,” Boraie Development said in a statement.
“When I first met Mayor Baraka we talked about restoring my favorite city to its past glory. Today, looking around Newark, you can see what teamwork and commitment looks like under true leadership – and that’s why Mayor Baraka is my favorite Mayor,” said Mr. O’Neal.
The Boraie-O’Neal partnership showed their faith in Newark by becoming involved in other transformative projects. They built CityPlex 12, a complex of 12 new movie theaters that opened in 2012, the first new theater in three generations. They were pioneers in creating Mulberry Commons. They gave Newark 50 Rector, downtown’s first high-rise in more than 50 years. Now, they are creating 777 McCarter and they, along with their current finance partners, are about to begin on 930 McCarter, a spectacular residential tower that will transform a long-neglected section of the Passaic River waterfront. And there’s more. They are about to partner in the revitalization of the Dayton neighborhood, with new mixed income housing on the site of the deteriorated Seth Boyden public housing with Goldman Sachs and NJEDA.
777 McCarter is expected to create approximately 500 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs. Many of the construction workers are participants in Project IMPACT, a training program for Newark residents that enables them to obtain positions in local labor unions. 777 McCarter will have a range of amenities including a roof deck lounge, fifth-story gym and outdoor pool, 24/7 concierge, and 12,000 square feet of retail space for fine restaurants. The project received New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) tax credits awarded in 2018 and a 30-year tax abatement awarded in 2020 from the City of Newark.