People are Moving in… and Staying

More than 1,000 new places to live have sprung up  in the last year. Who lives there and is it affordable?

On July 16, 2018, Chris Keys moved into a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Newark that overlooks NJPAC. “I work long hours, sometimes 13 hours a day at the restaurant, so I want to get home fast and be in a space that I enjoy and can relax in,” says Keys, who is the general manager of Marcus B&P on Halsey Street.

Keys didn’t move from New York. He moved to the new luxury apartments at One Theater Square from the other end of Broad Street where he had lived for the last eight years.

“Newark has this amazing vibe and culture. There is a really strong sense of community here that is unlike anywhere else. We all watch out for each other, we root for the new startups, and we support each other’s dreams,” says Keys, explaining why he stays in Newark. “There’s something bigger than just us happening here. It is a transformation for everyone.”

Since 2017, almost 1,000 new apartments have been completed, and more than 300 of those have been deemed affordable housing units, according to the 2018 City of Newark State of the City report.

Some of those new developments include Riverview Arms, which has 128 affordable housing units, and the Hahne and Co. Building, which has 100 market-rate units and 60 affordable-housing units. One Theater Square has 244 apartments, including 24 affordable housing units. The developer of One Theater Square held a lottery in August for applicants who make less than the average median income. The lottery enabled a broader pool of Newarkers to have a chance at obtaining some of the residential units.

Keys staked a claim to his home well before any lotteries. He secured his market-rate unit two years ago and waited patiently as the construction crew laid the foundation, topped off and finally finished the 22-story glass and brick sensation.

“I absolutely love my apartment! There’s ­nothing like brand new everything or sitting on my ­balcony and seeing the New York skyline.” Chris Keys