Baraka, partners officially announce new 66-unit apartment building, Kawaida Towers

NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras J. Baraka, along with a three-organization development team and education leaders, officially announced Kawaida Towers, a 16-story, approximately 66-unit apartment building that will replace a deteriorated city-owned building at 17-21 Halsey St., at the corner of Central Avenue, at a ceremony on-site on March 17. 

Kawaida’s combination of features is unique to Newark, as it is the only 100-percent affordable-housing development in downtown Newark; a partnership with a minority co-developer with Newark roots; a community space with ongoing education and cultural program for community residents; and features studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for families of all sizes.

These features were part of the vision 50 years ago for the never-completed community-backed development named Kawaida Towers. 

Kawaida Towers will be built under Baraka’s Equitable Growth Principles and benefits from the advice of elder advisers with intimate knowledge of the originally proposed project. It will feature space for technology education provided jointly by the National Action Network and Rutgers University–Newark, incorporate retail as well as permanent exhibition space, and serve as a model for other development. 

Kawaida Towers is a joint venture between Omni America LLC, the designated redeveloper; Mid-Atlantic Alliance, minority co-developer and 10-percent partner; and the National Action Network, a 10-percent partner. NAN and Rutgers will operate Cisco cybersecurity and other STEM-related courses such as coding, website design, 3D printing and more on-site.