The city is seeking businesses of all kinds, particularly because there are more residents living in Newark. Moreover, there’s a downtown office population who need to buy lunch, want to shop during their breaks, or run errands. By adding even more housing units (the goal is to triple the number of people living downtown in the coming years), the city’s downtown area aims to become another “city that never sleeps.” Besides the downtown area, Newark stretches on for miles. Everything from dry cleaning services to boutiques to convenience stores are in demand.Moreover, Richardson says he and the Mayor are in talks about the ways in which the city can attract hi-tech and creative companies.
Even though Newark is a stone’s throw away from New York, retail and office space costs 40 to 60 percent less than its neighbor, Richardson estimates. The BCDC asks that business owners coming to them for assistance have 20 percent of the project cost on hand.
“If someone has that, an idea and some passion, we’ll help them figure out the where and the other details,” he says, adding that the organization wants to provide “access to capital, access to contacts and access to contracts.”
Tami Brown is one of the people who has taken advantage of the BCDC’s services. Founder and proprietor of Loft 47, a restaurant and supper club offering live music in the downtown district near the Prudential Arena, she’s been in business for a year. Brown owned a sports bar for five years prior to opening Loft 47, but wanted to try something different and saw the opportunity to move. The BCDC provided the building’s landlord with financial assistance and Brown received a small loan to help equip Loft 47′s kitchen.
Brown says that the down economy and last year’s basketball lockout didn’t help, but overall, she’s seen a “good revenue flow.” Activity at the arena is pushing a steady stream of customers through her door.
“I see that people are looking to do business in Newark,” she told Madame Noire. “I see it being a destination, so people are saying, ‘I’m going to Newark to listen to music and enjoy myself.’ ”
Brown also serves on a small business advisory council in the city and sees great promise for Newark and its entrepreneurs, both current and future.
“Newark has different nationalities. Panasonic is coming. People are there,” says Brown. “We just need a variety of businesses so people will stay.
“Don’t go to Hoboken [N.J.] or New York. Stay in Newark,” she adds.
Below are the addresses and phone numbers of the organizations mentioned in this story.
Brick City Development Corporation (BCDC): 744 Broad Street, Suite 1110, Newark, New Jersey 07102 ;(973) 273-1040
New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC): 59 Lincoln Park, Suite 50, Newark, NJ 07102; 973.841.2674
Loft 47: 47 Edison Place, Newark, NJ 07102; 973-642-8400
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