NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced March 3 the selection of two teams to redevelop 3.28 acres of city-owned land near the historic West Side High School in the city’s West Ward in accordance with the Fairmount Commons Redevelopment Plan. The first of the selected teams is a partnership between RPM, a New Jersey affordable housing development firm, and the Urban League of Essex County, a community housing development organization active in the Fairmount Heights community. The second team is made up of MCI Development Inc., a local minority-led development firm, and Richman Affordable Housing Corporation, a national affordable housing developer. The two teams were chosen in a competitive process that evaluated proposals submitted by 12 developers.
This project is the result of contributions from various community stakeholders. The redevelopment area, which consists of two blocks in the West Ward’s Fairmount Heights neighborhood between South Orange Avenue and 13th Avenue, from South 11th Street to West Side High School and Fairmount Cemetery, is an assemblage of city-owned lots and lots that were transferred to the city by the New Jersey School Development Authority. The Fairmount Commons Redevelopment Plan was completed in the fall of 2019 with pro bono support from the urban planning team at Bloomberg Associates and from the urban planning and architecture team at Interboro Partners. On the local level, residents, neighborhood businesses and institutions, including West Side High School, provided vital input during the preparation of the plan to ensure that redevelopment of the area meets the community’s needs.
“The Fairmount Commons redevelopment project is another step forward in our equitable growth focus on neighborhoods that suffer from disinvestment and have not yet benefited from Newark’s ongoing revitalization,” Baraka said. “It represents a collaboration involving the Fairmount community, local developers and Newark’s community-oriented team of city planners.”
Key features of the project include: total investment of $60 million in the redevelopment area; conversion of 42 vacant city-owned lots into predominantly affordable housing; three lots adjacent to West Side High and South Orange Avenue to be used as public park space, enhancing community interaction and walkability within the area; and additional ground-level retail space along 13th Avenue and 11th Street.