East Orange, state officials break ground on Crossings redevelopment

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — Officials from East Orange, Essex County and the state were joined by residents and others on Monday, Nov. 28, for the historic groundbreaking ceremony for the Crossings at Brick Church Station in East Orange. The $500 million project marks a major investment in jobs, housing and scholarship opportunities for residents of East Orange over the next six years. Josh Weingarten, a developer at Triangle Equities, served as the guest speaker for the event. Esteemed guests included Gov. Phil Murphy, Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, East Orange City Council Chairperson Christopher Awe and Mayor Ted R. Green.

The groundbreaking ceremony came with promises of affordable housing, as well as renovations to the ShopRite on Main Street and the East Orange train station. A goal of the redevelopment project is to provide a local shopping option for residents while creating jobs, so that people don’t have to go to New York or surrounding cities for jobs and other opportunities. This project will include 820 units of mixed-income rental housing and 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and commercial space, as well as a public plaza and a 1,200-space parking garage.

Another goal of this project is to develop a nightlife that is currently missing in the city.

“Residents deserve to dine out, go to the movies and enjoy this community,” Green said at the event.

In addition to creating jobs, the ShopRite renovation project will also include a scholarship program that will provide training and assistance for people in college.

“The construction jobs come with a scholarship program aimed at helping rising scholars in college. This program will provide training and create permanent jobs in the community,” Weingarten told the Record-Transcript. Triangle Equities is one of 17 funding organizations, including Goldman Sachs, involved in this project.

Talks for this project took more than a decade, with the city council members advocating on behalf of the community to ensure that this change would have a positive impact on residents and not displace them when new community members arrive.

“We advocate for the residents; we’re going to make sure that this project has a positive impact on the residents. As developers come in, we make sure to point out what will and will not be best for the community,” Awe told the Record-Transcript. “A lot of people are concerned about out-of-town residents moving in; now they can come in and be a part of our community with people who have been here for generations. This makes East Orange an anchor, a place where a family can come in and lay their roots; our seniors and young people can thrive here.”

The overall message that was relayed throughout this event was a collective focus on providing opportunities for and reinvesting in the community and residents of East Orange.

“Places like this have been overlooked for far too long and deserve an opportunity,” Murphy said at the event. “For residents to find a new place to live, or a new job, to have healthier food — this community is no longer on the sidelines.”

City council members and politicians who grew up in the city said this development will be transformative for East Orange — and for the surrounding areas as well.

“East Orange has for a long time been considered the railroad of New Jersey,” Oliver, an East Orange resident, said at the event. “The Crossings are long overdue. The possibility for growth in this city and its surrounding municipalities is immense and will bring change that will boost New Jersey for years to come.”

This new development is seen by East Orange and state leaders as a sign of progress for both the city and New Jersey as a whole.

“It’s good that our residents don’t have to get on a train to New York for shopping; they can do it right here,” Awe told the Record-Transcript. “We advocate for the grocery store being modernized, affordable housing, as well as places to eat and recreational centers — this development will give us that.”

Photos by Javon Ross