Blue Onyx breaks ground on 78-unit multifamily complex in East Orange

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — Blue Onyx Companies, an integrated commercial real estate development and management company, broke ground June 15 on its “14 Summit” multifamily complex in the heart of East Orange. The ground-up, five-story residential building with 78 units will transform two lots and create a new campus — which includes the adjacent “18 Summit” — designed to enhance and support the local community. The construction at 14 Summit St. is expected to be completed by spring 2023.

The project, located between N. Arlington Avenue and N. Walnut Street, totals 77,913 square feet, and will include eight studio apartments, 51 one-bedroom units and 19 two-bedroom units. It features unique amenities, including a coworking space, state-of-the-art fitness center, pet washing station, community lounge, two rooftop terraces and bike storage rooms. Inglese Architecture and Engineering has designed “14 Summit” to blend with the surrounding brick buildings.

“Our existing, neighboring project, ‘18 Summit,’ offers quality, efficient and affordable units to an underserved population. ‘14 Summit’ builds off this communal success by catering to a broader consumer base in this very commuter-friendly and walkable area through a thoughtfully curated mix of diverse apartment types,” Blue Onyx CEO Levi Kelman said. “This amenity-driven and inclusive project is designed with the vision to build a more connected community, which is at the heart of our mission.”

Blue Onyx’s “14 Summit” builds off the success of the company’s other East Orange asset, the adjacent “18 Summit.” Blue Onyx purchased the pre-war vacant and distressed property in 2014 and oversaw a full redevelopment process. The building was completely gut-renovated and restored, with a modern interior. The company also rehabilitated the building’s historic facade, which had been damaged. The building, which opened in 2017 offering 75 units, is fully leased.

“Blue Onyx’s initial ‘18 Summit’ project was a continuation of the standard of excellence that we set for all new construction in the city of East Orange. Their restorative approach maintained the character of the community while giving it a fresh, new look,” Mayor Ted R. Green said. “Their new property at 14 Summit is a great complement to the existing building — a sophisticated, modern housing option for both millennials and baby boomers alike. We are excited about this ongoing partnership and thank Blue Onyx for investing in our city.”

Blue Onyx has properties and holdings throughout New Jersey and in parts of New York.

“Together, our two impressive properties in East Orange will cement the transformation we’ve pioneered in this area, with working families and commuters benefiting greatly from these new living options,” Blue Onyx manager of development Adam Schlitt said.

The project received approval from the East Orange Planning Board in January 2021. March Associates has been selected as the construction manager with work anticipated to begin this summer and targeting completion by early 2023.

Photos Courtesy of Dan Gunderman