- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A former landmark department store, once a jewel of the city’s downtown and later a symbol of its decline, reopened on Monday after 30 years, repurposed as a combination retail and residential hub.

Officials including Mayor Ras Baraka and his predecessor as mayor, Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, celebrated the reopening of the former Hahne & Co. store building.

The $174 million public-private project, led by L+M Development Partners of Larchmont, New York, features residences, an arts and cultural center operated by Rutgers-Newark and shopping. Planned are a restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson and the city’s first Whole Foods store.

The store, known as Hahne‘s, opened in the early 1900s and was a downtown anchor in Newark along with Woolworth’s and other stores, predating the population exodus to the suburbs and the ensuing shopping mall craze that took hold in the 1960s and 1970s.

Hahne’s was sold and shut down in the late 1980s, and the shell of the once-majestic building alongside vacant spots on Broad Street symbolized Newark’s economic struggles.

On Monday, Baraka, a Newark native, stood in the opulent atrium and remembered being in college when Hahne’s closed and “there was nothing here.”

“A lot of people want to look to the past, but I say, ‘forward ever, backward never,’” he said.

Of the 160 new apartments, 40 percent will be set aside for low-income and working families, he said.

Newark’s central business district has been transformed in the last 10 years with the addition of the Prudential Center arena, home to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils; a new office tower built by Prudential; a 22-story apartment building across from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, currently in construction; and the corporate offices of Panasonic.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide