New children’s library at Georgia King Village is one of a series of upgrades after recent sale

A new children’s library is one of a series of improvements that have been made to Georgia King Village, located in Newark’s West Ward, since developer L+M Development Partners purchased the buildings back in 2016.

Construction for warehouse building downtown, to be transformed into ‘Ironside Newark’ retail and office hub, officially begins

Ironside Newark, one of the signature features of the new Mulberry Commons development downtown, got off to its official start earlier this week.

Newark will hold its first-ever downtown living tour in May

What is it like to live downtown Newark? Soon, those who are curious will have an opportunity to get a glimpse of downtown living for themselves.

Newarkers invited to preview of, and Q&A about, Triangle Park development planned for downtown

On Tuesday, January 17th, community stakeholders, including government officials, leaders, non-profit organizations the public at large are invited to participate in a set of live presentations and community feedback sessions about Triangle Park.

A traditional German beer garden prepares to open in Newark this spring

Newly renovated 494 Broad Street revealed to the downtown Washington Park business district

real estateFidelco Realty Group joined Mayor Ras Baraka, and other county, state and city officials, and community leaders to celebrate the addition of 10 stories – including 650 parking spaces, two additional stories for Cablevision’s call center, 4,500 square feet of future retail space, and a renovated lobby — at 494 Broad Street.

The renovation is the most recent project of Fidelco Realty Group’s ongoing renewal projects in the Washington Park market, which they hope to convert into a vibrant commercial, retail and residential destination. The cost of the new building and renovations of the existing structure totaled more than $60 million and includes participation in the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program through the NJEDA; New Market Tax Credits provided by U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, New Jersey Community Capital, City Scape Capital; and financing from U.S. Bank.

“494 Broad Street is a critical location contributing to the ongoing growth and vibrancy of Newark’s downtown Washington Park business district,” said Marc E. Berson, chairman of Fidelco Realty Group. “With the New Jersey Transit Broad Street Station, Newark Museum, Newark Public Library, Rutgers Business School, 1 Washington Park office tower, and multiple light rail stops as neighboring assets, potential tenants from near and far are looking at the North Broad Street area of Newark as an ideal location for their business.”

494 RearThe façade of the existing six-story office building has undergone complete resurfacing – replacing existing marble with black granite panels, and adding black awnings around the bases of the building with additional exterior lighting and signage.

“We are proud of Fidelco Realty Group’s work and the 494 Building Extension project. Fidelco has been an outstanding corporate partner in Newark’s growth and development, and this project will bring jobs and economic strength to Newark,” Mayor Baraka said.

Bordered by the Newark Broad Street station, Riverfront Stadium, Rutgers Business School, Washington Park and Fidelco Realty Group’s flagship property – the 1 Washington Park office tower – the building was originally constructed by Mutual Life in the 1960s, and was designed by the architectural firm Frank Grad & Sons.

“Newark’s Washington Park district is a diverse and flourishing area that is rich in history and filled with cultural, educational and business opportunities. The addition of the newly renovated and expanded 494 Broad Street will further strengthen the area, create jobs and contribute to the vitality of the City,” Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said.

The building now provides a home to a Genova Burns, Cablevision, Fidelco Newark, Leadership Newark, Martini 494 Bistro, Newark Trust for Education, NJ Seeds, and Rutgers University, among other tenants.

Interactive Map: Newark to auction residential and commercial property on November 19th

The City of Newark has announced a public real estate auction to be held Thursday, November 19th at the Terrace Ballroom in Newark Symphony Hall. The auction includes both residential and commercial properties, and starting bids range from $4,950 to $71,730. Properties are available in four of the city’s five wards — no real estate located in the East Ward is included in the auction. This month’s auction follows real estate auctions in September and November of 2014, and a lot sale that took place on Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

Rules of engagement:
  • The city requires all bidders to appear at the auction in person, and purchaser names will not be changed after the date of the auction
  • Any person bidding on behalf of a corporation must present both a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and a letter of authorization of the corporation
  • A person bidding on behalf of a partnership or using a trade name must submit 1) a copy of the Certificate of Trade Name (for those submitting on behalf of a partnership) and 2) a letter of authorization from all other partner(s)
  • All deposits must be made using certified funds only. This excludes cash and personal checks
  • Deposits must be on hand during the auction, as winning bidders will not be able to leave the auction in order to secure certified funds

See the interactive map below for property locations, types (residential vs. commercial vs. vacant lots), inspection times if available, deposit amounts, and minimum bids. The information is also included in a table below. For more information, contact the Property Management office, located in Newark City Hall room 421 (973-733-3914).

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.51.25 AM Click to filter the map by minimum price.

Featured Image: 478 So. 20th Street Newark, NJ. Source: Google Maps StreetView

Sweet smell of success: Handmade body products and African-inspired apparel offered at thriving Halsey Street shop

Patchouli, frankincense and myrrh are some of the scents that might greet you at the doorway to Ancient African Formula on Halsey Street. That is unless the embroidered prints adorning the mannequins in the store’s display window don’t lure you in first.

Aminata Dukuray, a native of Gambia by way of Sierra Leone, runs the health and lifestyle store with the help of her four daughters. At around 1 p.m. on any given weekday, one can find Dukuray bottling samples of her sweet-smelling body oils, or explaining to her loyal customers how exactly her Super Hair Grow formula works.

Dukuray’s Ancient African Formula skincare and hair care products are all handmade by Dukuray herself in the back of the store. Customers who find themselves there will see blocks of her uncut Shea butter soap ready to be packaged and sold.

aminata dukuray

Aminata Dukuray owns Ancient African Formula on Halsey Street. Source: ancientafricanformula.com.

Dukuray opened the Halsey Street store in November of 2014, but she has been in business much longer than that, making her products for at-home use before becoming a wholesaler and stocking local beauty supply stores all over New Jersey with her products.

“I’ve been in business for a long, long time,” said Dukuray when asked about the origin of her line. “I started making my products at home because my daughter had ringworm, and nothing was working. So I decided to try and make something myself, and that’s how it started.”

Less than a year after Dukuray opened shop, she has built a legion of customers that keep coming back for her sweet-smelling products.

“I buy oils. I buy soap. I buy Shea butter. I even buy earrings. I love her products because they are natural. I use them for everything,” said Kecia Richardson-Gilbert, one of Dukuray’s customers.

Beyond skin and hair care, Ancient African Formula is also home to African-inspired jewelry, artwork and more recently, clothing. As Dukuray bagged up another one of her orders, a customer lamented  the sign outside the store informing customers that Dukuray will not be able to take anymore clothing orders for another two weeks due to her busy schedule.

aaf accessories

Ancient African formula offers clothing, accessories, and artwork in addition to body products.

“I overbooked myself. People were making so many orders for the clothes that I barely had time to make my products,” Dukuray explained. “Customers came in and there was nothing on the shelves, nothing to sell.”

The new additions to Dukuray’s brand are bespoke, embroidered outfits made from African prints — prints that her daughter brings back to the U.S. from her trips to West Africa. From the midday rush in Dukuray’s store, it is clear that her store is thriving.

“Everyone comes here, it’s not just African women. Some people come because their friends tell them about it, and some just come because they see the sign,” Dukuray said.

Even though her store is doing well, Dukuray is not one to rest on her laurels. The businesswoman is already in the planning stages of developing an African-inspired restaurant right next door to her existing space.

“I see it [Ancient African Formula] growing. I see us opening more stores, and not just in New Jersey,” she said.


Ancient African Formula is located at 109 Halsey Street. The shop is open from Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Shop online herePhotograph of Aminata Dukuray via ancientafricanformula.com.