(Politico) – Newark is building again. Yes, that Newark—the city in Jersey that burned after the ’67 riots, the one that helped to define “white flight,” that struggles still with almost impenetrable unemployment and homelessness and crime. That city is building.
And here it all is—its past and present and future—pouring through Irene Hall’s floor-to-ceiling windows downtown: the whites and browns of the Old First Presbyterian Church, founded in 1666; haggard red brick facades with windows sealed off by cinderblock; the neon blue lights of Hotel Indigo, which opened last year in a long-vacant, century-old building near the busiest intersection in Brick City.
“The colors are amazing,” Hall declares on this late February morning.
Though the five-year-old Courtyard Marriott, just up the block, doesn’t take Hall’s breath away, it is the first new hotel built in Newark’s downtown in 40 years.
If the story of Newark’s revitalization is all about buildings, Hall, a 60-year-old principal at a charter school here, is living inside one of its newest characters. Her eclectic, fifth-floor apartment is one of the residential units in Teachers Village, a $150 million, mixed-use project financed through a consortium of private and public investments and blessed with mammoth government tax credits.