Who Benefits From Newark’s $5 Billion Opportunity Zone Come Up?

CBx Vibe:Bout That Cash” President

By Michael Anderson

  • There are over $5B worth of projects slated to be developed in Newark, NJ
  • Newark now has its lowest Black population since the 1960s

Billions of dollars are pouring into Newark, NJ’s new developments from institutional investors and tax subsidies. According to Forbes Opportunity Zone Summit, there are over $5 billion worth of projects slated to be developed in the city. Can Newark temper developers who are expanding a nationwide model that leverages the court system to increase cash flows, and evict people of color without investing in community improvements?

Why This Matters: In order for these opportunity zones to work in Newark Landlords have to move tenants out so that the properties can be sold to developers. Specifically, Newark’s Essex County’s Landlord/Tenant court is ground zero for systematic disenfranchisement. Over 30%, or 140,000 Newark residents cannot afford to pay their basic bills every month. A single landlord evicting 5-10 defenseless tenants per day, is par for the course in the area.

Over 30%, or 140,000 Newark residents cannot afford to pay their basic bills every month

Eviction is an endless black-hole for tenants, often forcing them out of the city, leaving them penniless. It also enables landlords to keep security deposits, enhancing their returns. A prominent example of mass evictions is one of the largest housing Public Private Partnerships in Newark history, the Teacher’s Village Qualified Urban Renewal Project, managed by Callelo Agency.  According to experts, the model is to build such complexes as fast as possible, and generate turnover.

Situational Awareness: Public officials and institutional investors that invest through community block grants, tax abatements, or debt/equity finance must halt massive displacement. Newark now has its lowest Black population since the 1960s riots, as shady developers are raising billions of dollars to expand in additional communities. Without Public, Private, and Philanthropic intermediation, Black displacement is all but guaranteed.

CBx Vibe:Bout That Cash” President

CONTRIBUTOR

Michael Anderson

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