SOCIAL ISSUES

Grand opening in downtown Newark may augur gentrification

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

In downtown Newark, officials cut the ribbon on the restored landmark Walker House, a new mixed-use building. As Newark’s reputation as a technology hub grows, so does the number of startups choosing the Brick City as a place to grow roots.

As a result, rent — while still lower than nearby Manhattan, Jersey City, or Harrison — is climbing.

According to the most recent American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, median gross rent in Newark was $981 a month in 2016 and $1,014 dollars a month in 2017. While the report doesn’t include data from 2018 or 2019, sources like Trulia estimate the current average asking rent to be $1,500.

But census data shows Newark is the third-poorest city in the state based on median income, which is something the people behind this project also took into consideration. Twenty percent of the units at Walker House, or 53 apartments, were set aside for low-income residents.

There was a lottery and the managing director of L+M development partners says the demand was at least six times the availability. There’s currently a waitlist. The developers have plans to renovate Zion Towers in the South Ward. That’s 268 units that they plan on keeping under Section 8 contract. They say that project should get going in the next few weeks.