The Link between Rail and Newark’s Revitalization

Newark, NJ

Just a 20-minute commuter rail ride from New York’s Penn Station, rail access was one of the prime reasons Newark was chosen for the Prudential Center. The Prudential Center, which hosts over 200 sports and entertainment events per year, opened in October 2007. At $375 million, it is the largest private investment in the history of downtown Newark. It is located just 2 ½ blocks from Newark Penn Station, and attracts over two million visitors per year. Today, more than a third of Prudential Center patrons choose rail, with some events seeing more than 50 percent of patrons choose rail.

In the decade prior to the Prudential Center’s construction, no residential development occurred in downtown Newark. Following its opening, an additional $2 billion in development has been completed or planned, including two downtown hotels (the first new downtown hotels constructed in 40 years), several thousand apartment units, and dozens of small restaurants and businesses serving residents, workers, and Prudential Center patrons. In fact, in the 2000s, Newark’s population grew for the first time in 50 years, adding nearly 3,600 new residents between 2000 and 2010. A Newark real estate developer, The Hanini Group, LLC, notes that its new residential developments near the rail station are in very high demand, with approximately 50 percent of residents relying on rail for their commutes. The Hanini Group also notes that most of the tenants near the station are new residents who did not previously live in Newark.

Prudential Center, Newark, NJ. Source: Jim Henderson.