From downturn to renaissance, is that the fate of that fascinating island city, Newark, NJ? Yes, this casino friendly city was hit hard by the real estate boom that ended in bust as well as the economic meltdown of 2008, but this is a place that’s known for its resilience, and signs are strong that a return and even a renaissance could be in the cards for Newark. In a town that’s known for its casinos, reading what’s in the cards matters.
One of the most interesting and exciting signs to come along of late is the news that Shaq O’Neill is partnering with Wasseem Boraie of Boraie Development, LLC, to launch an upscale housing development called The Beach at South Inlet. This $61 million project was initially proposed back in 2013, but the shakiness of the local economy at the time (two casinos in the area, The Revel and The Showboat closed, and the Trump Taj Mahal was showing signs of extreme financial stress) lead the Casino Redevelopment Agency to step in and stop progress on the development.
Fast forward to 2016, and once again O’Neill and Boraie are showing a strong interest in reviving the planned upscale housing development. The loan on the project is facing an extension, which will allow the CRA to review the plans and the current state of the area. It’s the hope of the two key players, O’Neill and Boraie, that the development will indeed go forward.
The Current Momentum
Boraie recently spoke at the CRE Summit in Newark, and noted that today there are several large projects going on in the city that could be key to a real economic renaissance here. He noted that in the past the city seemed to champion single large developments, but this strategy often lead to disappointment. In his view, having several projects in development at once is the key to success in attracting more money and more economic activity to the area.
From where Boraie sees it, Newark is very much ready for a comeback. If the CRA echoes this view, there could be good news all around.