Newark Housing Authority demolishes complex to make way for new senior community

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NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras J. Baraka joined the Newark Housing Authority and other dignitaries on May 9 to launch the demolition of 48 units at the vacant 2.3-acre public housing site formerly known as West Side Village. The land will become the site of a new affordable 176-unit senior citizen housing community to be known as Highland Views.

“Abandoned buildings become dangerous eyesores, creating an unhealthy and unsafe environment for our residents,” Baraka said. “Furthermore, we need quality affordable housing for our senior citizens. This development will enable us to address both these critical issues at the same time, creating a city we can be proud of. I congratulate the Newark Housing Authority and its partners on this major initiative.”

Highland Views will be a state-of-the-art, affordable senior community with the latest amenities, such as a media, computer, library and fitness rooms. It will also incorporate a green space concept with views of West Side Park. The two-phase development will be built through a public-private partnership between the Newark Housing Authority and MAR Acquisition Group LLC of Elizabeth.

“Upon project designation, the housing authority challenged our firm to come up with a modern and unique concept that will be a one of a kind in the city of Newark,” MAR developer Ralph Salermo said. “We are proud to be here and mark the beginning of a redevelopment process that will ultimately result in an affordable senior community with the latest amenities and services.”

The affordable complex quadruples the amount of preexisting affordable units and will house a wellness room for doctors, nurses and practitioners to meet individually with residents and provide on-site medical services. Five units will also be set aside for residents currently without addresses.

“The housing authority and its board of commissioners are grateful to get to this point of the development process,” Housing Authority Chairperson Norma Gonzalez said. “We are also ecstatic for the West Side Park neighborhood as we see this project as an anchor for redevelopment of the entire neighborhood.”

Also in attendance were NHA Executive Director Victor Cirilo; Deputy Mayor Allison Ladd; Essex County Commissioner President Wayne Richardson; and Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver.

Photos Courtesy of Victor Cirilo

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