MAYOR BOOKER AND TUCKER DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION CELEBRATE TOPPING OUT OF COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT AT THE PRUDENTIAL CENTER;
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT WILL BE THE FIRST NEW HOTEL TO OPEN IN CITY’S DOWNTOWN IN OVER FOUR DECADES;
Newark, NJ – February 2, 2012 – Mayor Cory A. Booker, the Newark Municipal Council, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Brick City Development Corporation Chairman Adam Zipkin joined Tucker Development Corporation President Richard Tucker at a topping out ceremony today for the new Courtyard by Marriott at the Prudential Center Hotel located at the corner of Broad Street and Lafayette Street in Newark’s Downtown. The Courtyard by Marriott will be the first new hotel to open in the City’s downtown in over four decades. Also in attendance were Brick City Development Corporation CEO Lyneir Richardson, Essex County Building Trades President Marty Schwartz and Rock Entertainment Management President Robert Sommer.
As part of the ceremony, Mayor Booker, Deputy Mayor Zipkin and members of the Newark Municipal Council joined President Tucker on the roof of the building for the ceremonial raising of the American flag, followed by the raising of an evergreen branch, which symbolizes good luck and economic prosperity. The topping out ceremony marks the completion of vertical construction for the Courtyard by Marriott at the Prudential Center. The mixed-use hotel and retail project is a significant catalyst to the economic growth of the downtown Newark area which will bring added new investments, ratables and employment to the Brick City.
“The topping out of the Courtyard by Marriott at the Prudential Center, Newark’s first new downtown hotel in four decades, is literally a new high point in the redevelopment and growth of our City. Visitors have been flocking to the Prudential Center since it opened, and now they’ll have a brand new place to stay the night right next door. People from all over the country will be able to have a complete, on-the-ground Newark experience that will keep them coming back again and again. This project would not have been possible without the dedication and vision of Tucker Development, the State of New Jersey, the Municipal Council, local labor leaders, and my Economic Development team. This hotel not only allows us to show off our City’s vitality, but it amplifies the energy and excitement,” said Mayor Booker. “I’m excited to shop at the retail coming to the ground floor and to recommend that our guests spend the night right downtown. I’m proud that we have Newark natives like Local 825’s Business Agent Lino Santiago and Newark residents including Labor Steward Paul Blanding and Laborer Daniel Jimenez working on this project. They can proudly say they have made a brick and mortar contribution to building a stronger, safer and prouder City.”
Under Mayor Booker’s leadership, the administration has placed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) requirement into all of the major projects that have received a tax abatement, city land or other subsidy. So far more than $300 million of construction work have been given to the Essex County Building Trades from Mayor Booker.
Deputy Mayor Zipkin said, "For anyone looking for proof that Newark is on the rise, look no further than the new Courtyard by Marriott at the Prudential Center. The construction crew has topped out the building, but we are only starting to see the many benefits that Newark’s first downtown hotel in 40 years will bring to this City. The Marriott means permanent jobs for our residents and construction jobs for local labor. More visitors will stay the night when coming for events at The Rock, adding vitality to our streets and pumping more dollars into the local economy. With our lofts coming online, new downtown towers in the works, and new hotels, downtown Newark is being transformed in front of our eyes."
Tucker Development Corporation, a leading developer of shopping center and mixed-use properties throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, is developing the project, and will lease and manage the development’s approximately 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
“It’s extremely gratifying to see our vision for downtown Newark becoming a reality, and we are excited to mark this topping out milestone with the individuals who are working every day to see that this great city is delivered a world-class hotel and retail center,” Tucker President and CEO Richard Tucker said. “The project is on track to create 175 construction jobs, many of which are being filled by Newark residents. Investing in the future of Newark has proven to be a wise decision, and we look forward to celebrating a ribbon-cutting later this year.”
The City of Newark and Brick City Development Corporation helped to orchestrate this transaction through close collaboration with the hotel’s development partners. Specifically, the City worked with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the State’s lead agency for this project, to secure an Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant and a Redevelopment Area Bond. Brick City Development Corporation provided a key $500,000 loan to ensure site control.
“The steady progress of construction has created anticipation of the Marriott Hotel’s grand opening. We look forward to the ribbon cutting celebration,” said BCDC CEO Lyneir Richardson.
“It has been inspiring to watch the brand new Courtyard Marriot’s progress. The City of Newark deserves to be able to have and host the best. I am sure that this hotel, the first in Newark, in 40 years, will provide great accommodations for all that have the opportunity to eat, work, rest and visit,” said Council President Payne, Jr.
Located at the northeast corner of Broad Street and Lafayette Street, the development is adjacent to the Prudential Center, home to the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils and host to approximately 200 sporting, concert and family events every year. “The Rock” has been a major draw for downtown Newark since its opening in 2007, attracting as many as 18,000 spectators per night for sporting events and playing an important role in the city’s revitalization.
“We look forward to having visiting teams as well as sports, family entertainment, and concert fans staying at the Marriott. This is the latest in many exciting projects around Prudential Center. We are happy to be partners with Tucker Development and pleased to see Newark moving forward,” said Devils Arena Entertainment Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek in a statement. The hotel development is expected to be completed and open by September 2012. Marriott International will manage the hotel operation and NewarkWORKS, the city’s one-stop employment center, will facilitate hiring for both components of the project. The development will generate a total of between 50 and 75 permanent jobs through the hotel and retail operations. “One of the most important things about this building being built here is that it’s putting people to work. For about eight months before coming here, I was unemployed, working a day here or there,” said Paul Blanding, who has lived in Newark for 28 years. “This job put me back to work, and I feel like I’m contributing to Newark by building a hotel that will provide jobs to residents who are looking to feed their families.” The hotel and retail project is within close proximity to Newark Penn Station, offering easy access to New Jersey Transit, NJ PATH, Newark Light Rail and Amtrak. The development’s presence on the heavily traveled Broad Street presents a unique opportunity for retailers to take advantage of existing foot traffic, as well as offering an opportunity to become a new retail destination for Newark residents, visitors and patrons of the Prudential Center.
“Before starting here, I probably had about 70 days of employment in two years, so this project is extremely important to me,” said Daniel Jimenez, a lifelong Newark resident who works on the project as a laborer. “It’s always great to be able to say you built something in your hometown. This is a place that I’ll pass by hundreds of times in a year. Everybody will see it on their way to the airport, or if they have to get on Route 22, and I get to say, ‘Hey, I built that!’”
Since 2006, the executives of major companies such as Pitney Bowes, Standard Chartered Bank, Audible.com, Mimeo.com, CGC Genetics, Panasonic, Marriott, Manischewitz, Damascus Bakeries, Bartlett Dairy, and others have chosen Newark as home for new corporate headquarters and major operations centers. They’ve been joined by entrepreneurs, including dozens of companies that received start-up capital or other assistance from Brick City Development Corporation, such as Dental Kidz, Brick City Bar and Grill and The Sixth Boro. Last year Panasonic Corporation of North America announced that it will move its national headquarters to Newark. The electronics giant will build a new, state-of-the-art, sustainable high-rise office building to be constructed adjacent to Newark’s One Riverfront Center. The structure will be home to 1,000 of the corporation’s employees and contractors beginning in 2013.
Economic development has also benefited from the 2007 opening of the Prudential Center, which brought New Jersey Devils hockey, New Jersey Nets basketball, and New York Liberty WNBA basketball to the City’s downtown. It also spurred the development of numerous downtown restaurants and bars as well as the construction of a new Marriott Hotel adjacent to the arena.
Economic development has also taken place in all of Newark’s neighborhoods, with projects like the redevelopment of the Newark Screens multi-plex movie theater in the City’s Central Ward, by a group headed by Newark native and NBA basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.