Could Newark, NJ Become The Next Black Business Boom Town?

By Majella Mark

  • New Jersey currently identifies 15 Opportunity Zones in the city of Newark with its 46.5% Black population
  • The median price for a home in New Jersey went up almost 3% this year 

The city that Senator Cory Booker put on media outlets’ radar many years ago is finally getting the facelift it deserves, with many developers, entrepreneurs, and celebrities looking at its potential. Now there are 15 Opportunity Zones, a neighborhood in economic distress needing enterprise revitalization, in the city. This has led to a surge to revamp Newark through tax breaks and business incentives. 

Why This Matters: Opportunity Zones were created in 2017 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Black Americans are particularly over-represented in Opportunity Zones, constituting twice as large a share of the zone population as they do the national population. The CEA estimates that in 2019, Qualified Opportunity Funds had raised $75 billion in private capital

Newark, New Jersey, is less than fifteen miles from Manhattan, New York. The home of the late Whitney Houston, Jersey club music, the Jersey Devils, and soon numerous skyscrapers, yoga studios, and Brooklyn-style co-working spaces. 

Specifically, as it relates to Newark housing, in 2020 Queen Latifah’s company Blue Sugar with partner GonSosa Development, announced plans to develop an affordable housing complex. Just last year, Shaquille O’Neal announced a partnership with Boraie Development on the 777 McCarter project, which consists of 370 units at 33 stories high across from Newark Penn Station.  

This could be a real housing game-changer in Newark, a city with a 46.5% Black population. Especially because in New Jersey the median price for a home in New Jersey went up almost 3% this year, with many still leaving New York City in search of more affordable living across state lines.  

Situational Awareness: WRKART is a property management company with creative studio rentals in Brooklyn, NY. This company now gives us WRKART Newark, providing rental space for creatives such as music producers, artists, and filmmakers, but also a mini indoor mall with small retail rental spaces. 

Newark is not trying to be the next Brooklyn, NY but trying to find its own identity. This is why getting in early and becoming a pillar or catalyst in the city as a small business will result in long-term rewards for the local Black community and your pockets.

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