Dranoff Plans $200M-plus Apartment Tower Near Newark Arts Venue

Dranoff Properties Inc. CEO Carl Dranoff (pictured) outlined plans today for the first phase of a decade-long, master-planned development program in Newark, N.J. The New Jersey Perfoming Arts Center and Dranoff Properties confirmed this morning that they have signed a letter of intent to develop Two Center St., a high-rise residential tower adjacent to the major regional arts venue. Carl Dranoff, the Philadelphia-based developer’s founder & CEO, told CPN this morning that he expects groundbreaking in the next 12 to 18 months, to be followed by two years of construction. Development costs will be in the $200 million to $250 million range, he estimated. The tower would rise between 30 and 40 stories and incorporate at least 250 rental units. Twenty percent of those units will be reserved for artists, an acknowledgement of Newark ’s growing arts community. The building will also feature 30,000 square feet of street-level retail. Dranoff (pictured) speculated that the project could lure tenants from a variety of sources. Some 50,000 people work in Downtown Newark, and the development might also attract residents who feel priced out of Manhattan’s expensive residential market. Two Center Street will be located three blocks from Newark’s rail hub, which is about 15 minutes from Downtown Manhattan by train. Dranoff said that Cogswell Realty Group L.L.C.’s successful redevelopment of 1180 Raymond Ave. has demonstrated the potential for Newark’s high-rise residential market. Cogwell Realty has already leased more than two thirds of the units at the property, which it renamed Eleven80 and transformed from a vacant 37-story office tower. Dranoff has the first development rights for two nearby parcels, and future phases could include a condominium tower on the same scale as the apartment project plus a hotel. Plans are proceeding despite widespread concerns about the economy and a shaky national residential market nationwide. “These cycles are part of real estate, and if you build a quality product in a great location, you will always be successful,” Dranoff said.