New office tower coming to Newark

October 28, 2008 6:05:31 PM PDT
Newark officials say the city's economic renaissance is continuing with the downtown area's largest premium office project in 16 years. Tucker Development Corp. detailed its plans for the $150 million Liberty Plaza on Tuesday night.

The Highland Park, Ill.-based company will build the 22-story tower - containing 410,000 square feet of office space - on a tract across from the Broad Street train station. The 3.5-acre site is near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Newark's Penn Station.

Officials also said the building's tenants may qualify for tax breaks under the urban transit tax credit program, a state initiative meant to encourage development near transit hubs.

"As people and businesses become more cost conscious, it opens a door for us," said Joe Ritchie, chief executive officer of the city's Brick City Development Corp. "The Class-A office market is very tight, and we were ready for a new building."

The site will feature a fitness center, a rooftop garden, a bank, retail space and 750 parking spaces. And a second, optional phase could boost its total square footage from 440,000 to 1 million.

Robert Corrales, a spokesman for Gov. Jon Corzine, said the administration's economic assistance and recovery plan emphasizes projects that stimulate economic activity by creating jobs.

"(Liberty Plaza) is exactly the kind of development needed," Corrales said. "It will create jobs and ultimately position New Jersey for a strong recovery."

Corzine said the economic slowdown may actually help Newark and Jersey City, as cost-conscious executives explore cheaper locations close to Manhattan. Liberty Plaza is a 20-minute train ride from downtown Manhattan and not far from Newark Liberty International Airport.

"Newark's economy has experienced very stable growth security despite the extremely challenging market," Mayor Cory Booker said. "As cities and states across the nation find themselves faced with new challenges not seen since the early 1990s, Newark - a city that was already in transition - finds itself better poised to attract new residents, secure employment opportunities and retain businesses."

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