Waving an evergreen branch and American flag over Broad Street from seven stories high, hard hat-clad Mayor Cory Booker and others celebrated Thursday the "topping out" of the new Courtyard by Marriott, the first hotel constructed in Newark in 40 years.
The traditional ceremony, held when the last beam is placed on top of a building, marked the completion of vertical construction of the hotel located at Broad and Lafayette streets. Though now skeletal with purple-colored siding and equipment strewn about, the seven-story hotel, to be completed by September, will eventually house 150 rooms, as well as a restaurant and four to five retail stores on the ground floor. The hotel is situated adjacent to the Prudential Center and blocks away from Newark Penn Station.
"This hotel project is a symbol of growth and hope," said Adam Zipkin, deputy mayor of economic and housing development.
Tucker Development Corporation will lease and manage the approximately 15,000 square feet of retail space below the hotel. The firm also manages the Springfield Avenue Marketplace on Springfield Avenue and Jones Street in Newark.
The project has created roughly 175 construction jobs, more than 30 percent of which have been given to Newark residents, officials said. Once open, the hotel is expected to bring as many as 75 permanent jobs. Newark WORKS, the city's one-stop career center, is facilitating hiring for both phases.
For North Ward resident Daniel Jimenez, the site of the new hotel is a familiar one.
"This is something I pass at least a hundred times a year," he said.
Now, the plot of land bears slightly more significance. Two weeks ago, Jimenez, 23, got a job as a construction worker at the hotel and has already had a hand in putting up exterior sheetrock and installing windows.
"Hopefully I'll be here for the whole job," the lifelong Newarker said. "It'd be nice to say I was a part of this."