14B — July 28 - August 10, 2017 — Architecture & Engineering — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


A rchitecture & E ngineering Richard Meier designed the community’s master plan KSS begin work on the interior of the TEAM charter school

an a community of edu- cation act as a catalyst for urban revitaliza- tion? Can where teachers live affect the relevance and vibran- cy of a neighborhood? Without capes, masks or super-powers, the teachers of Newark, New Jersey are transforming both the broad horizon of education and the more intimate future of their community. As resi- dents of the newly constructed Teachers Village, these educa- tors proudly teach in the City’s public, private, and charters schools, patronize local shops and eateries, and live in pur- pose-built, teacher-oriented res- C

idential towers. These buildings serve as a foundation of support for the teachers—fostering an exchange of experiences and ideas, and affording the oppor- tunity to put down roots and rise to the occasion of Newark’s urban renewal. While the concept of charter schools has become reality, the new idea of teachers and education-based communities as purveyors of urban renais- sance requires a new incarna- tion of a public-private partner- ship—such as the one developed by Ron Beit, CEO of the RBH Group, Newark. To fulfill its vision and mission, RBH—as

leaders in real estate financing, development, and management services, acquired 77 different parcels of land along 11 blighted blocks of Halsey and William Streets. In a complex, virtually one-of-a-kind public-private partnership, development as- sistance and financial backing came from a wide variety of financial and lending institu- tions, individual investors, and city, state and federal govern- ments. The project also received one of the largest residential Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit allocations in the State of New Jersey. The amalgamation of these financial arrangements

resulted in the $150 million needed for the eight-building project. The Halsey Street corridor and neighborhood, also known as an enclave for galleries and artists, is surrounded by five universities and is in close proximity to public transporta- tion. To be ideally situated in an area conducive to creativ- ity and higher education, RBH proposed a built solution to add re-vamped primary education to the mix—with the addition of one big, previously overlooked component—the community of teachers needed to not just sustain the schools, but to both

anchor and drive the surround- ing community forward. Research conducted by The RBHGroup showed that just 19 percent of Newark teachers live in the city proper; 29 percent live in the New Jersey suburbs, 19 percent live in New York City, and 10 percent live in Jer- sey City. But when surveyed, Newark teachers were enthu- siastic about housing options with shorter commute times and proximity to restaurants, movie theaters, bars, museums, and shopping. The proposal: Teachers Vil- lage – a mixed use educational, residential, and retail environ- ment to include three char- ter schools, a private daycare center, 214 units of affordable rental housing marketed to teachers, and 65,000 sf of high quality retail in over 20 differ- ent businesses. The strategy: by investing in the needs and wants of the teachers, the teach- ers become invested in not just their students, but in their sur- rounding community as well. Richard Meier , Newark- born and world-renowned archi- tect, designed the community’s master plan. KSS Architects was invited to the project to lend their expertise in charter school understanding and de- sign, utilize their experience with mixed-use properties, and share their passionate commit- ment to urban renewal through meaningful architecture. KSS began work on the interior of the TEAM charter school, serving students K-4, and the Discovery Charter School, serv- ing middle school students 5th through 8th grades. Making the most of their building’s assets, these two schools, who share the building, also share a common gymnasium and exer- cise room which is also opened to the residential community by membership after school hours. The Great Oaks Charter School has been specifically designed to support a cur- riculum of general class time in the morning followed by robust tutoring sessions in the afternoons. A multipurpose room transforms into a Tutor- ing Hall, complimented by a Commons Area, which is bet- ter suited for lower ratio tutor and student break-out sessions. The Chen School, providing daycare for infants, toddlers, and Pre-K students has also been specifically designed to meet the needs of an urban daycare center. n

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