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Proposed Newark high-rise would become city's tallest building -- (Poised to get back in the game?)
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Proposed Newark high-rise would become city's tallest building

By Philip Read/The Star-Ledger
February 28, 2010, 6:00AM

The Goldman Sachs Tower in Jersey City is currently the tallest in New Jersey with 42 floors and is 781 feet tall. A proposed high-rise in Newark will not surpass it.

Newark, once home to New Jersey’s tallest high-rise but overtaken time and again by the waterfront towers along Jersey City’s Gold Coast, is poised to get back in the game.

Carl Dranoff, the Philadelphia developer who unveiled plans in January 2008 for a 28-story luxury apartment high-rise across from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, now pegs his new Two Center Street at 44 stories — still far short of the state mantle but enough to overtake the circa 1931 National Newark Building at 744 Broad St. as Newark’s tallest building.

"It will become a transformational project," Dranoff said of the $190 million project. "We expect it will have an enormous impact. We’ve seen this in other cities where we build a big anchor project. Usually, others follow. We sort of have the play-books to make it happen."
Graphic of New Jersey's tallest buildings

Site plans for the milestone project note that Two Center Street’s 44 floors, topping off at 482 feet, 2 inches beats National Newark Building’s 465 feet by 17 feet, 2 inches.
"Redefining Newark’s Skyline" reads the plug on the company’s online portal, where the developer touts its location across from NJPAC and near historic Military Park and the new light-rail line.

An announcement about the now long-delayed high-rise — and the latest artist renderings — is to be officially made in April, with a start date of sometime next year.

Lawrence P. Goldman, NJPAC’s president and CEO, selected Dranoff to develop the 1.17-acre site on the arts center’s 12-acre campus because of Dranoff’s track record, which includes developing The Symphony House, a luxury high-rise by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and the conversion of the historic RCA Victor factory on the Camden waterfront into luxury loft apartments.

Goldman was out of town and couldn’t be reached for comment, but he said in a 2009 that "NJPAC was always meant to be a great arts center, But it was also meant to be an engine for the redevelopment of Newark’s downtown."
James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said the tower will have an impact, but just how much — and when — is yet to be seen.

"If built and successfully occupied, it may not be a game changer, but it would certainly alter the skyline in dramatic fashion and would probably serve as a new Newark icon and potent symbol," Hughes said. "But its stimulative impact will have to wait until the nation’s and state’s real estate markets overcome some deep-seated problems. That will be a multi-year process."

Plans, which received preliminary approval from the city in October, include restaurants and shops, more than 300 apartments and parking for 600 cars, . A mechanical room, with a 22-foot ceiling, will top off the structure, enough to put it over the top as Newark’s highest.

For two decades now, the "Gold Coast" along Jersey City’s waterfront has been the hotbed of high-rise development, with four new towers joining the state’s Top 10 of tall buildings in the past two years alone.

The National Newark Building — whose top is modeled after the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World — was the state’s tallest from 1931 until the completion of Jersey City’s Exchange Place Centre in 1989.
For Newark to retake the state’s crown, it would have to erect a tower surpassing the Goldman Sach’s building in Jersey City, which has 42 floors and is 781 feet tall.

Jeff Kolodkin, a broker at commercial real-estate agency Grubb & Ellis in Fairfield, was jolted when told of Two Center Street’s 44 stories.

"Wow. If he can bring people in and keep people on the streets after 5 p.m., that’s a big positive for Newark, and that’s what Newark needs," Kolodkin said.

Posted on: 2010/2/28 12:04

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