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Rutgers University-Newark Partners with RBH Group to Develop Honors Living-Learning Community

Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) has joined with RBH Group (RBH), a Newark, New Jersey based social impact development company, to create a state-of-the-art learning and residence facility with dining, recreational, and academic spaces that will host upwards of 400 talented undergraduate students.


The approximately $70 million, 400-bed Honors Living-Learning Community will be a mixed-use development that will include residences, classrooms/work spaces, street level retail and parking, as well as a vibrant, open space that will be a gathering place for RU-N and the surrounding community. The estimated 320,000-square-foot project will include 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail. It will be located on the block bounded by New, Washington, Halsey and Linden Streets in downtown Newark. Perkins Eastman, an international architecture, design and planning firm, will design the project. Construction is expected to begin in late 2016 and be completed in 2018.


The Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC), is a transformative college access and success program that fosters the academic, social, and personal development of talented students from all walks of life with a desire to make a difference in their communities and beyond. With an innovative curriculum centered on themes of “Local Citizenship in a Global World,” The HLLC is an innovative RU-N initiative that is revolutionizing the notion of “honors” by creating intergenerational and interdisciplinary learning communities comprised of students, faculty, and community partners focused on tackling some of the nation’s most pressing social issues. Dynamic students are selected to join a living-learning community and intergenerational network across all intersections of identity focused on cultivating knowledge, fostering understanding across and within groups, and activating social, institutional, and cultural change. The current, inaugural cohort of 30 students will be joined by 60 more in fall 2016 who were selected from over 750 applicants. HLLC cohorts are planned to reach a steady state of 100 students per year by 2018, including first-year students and community college transfers.


The University selected RBH Group as the developer of this exciting urban learning community based upon a number factors including its commitment to social impact development in Newark and other emerging urban centers, as well as its development of Newark’s Teachers Village, a national model for transformative urban living and learning. Teachers Village is a mixed-use development comprising 204 workforce-housing units, three schools, an early childhood learning center, and over 60,000 square feet of retail space.


RU-N Chancellor Nancy Cantor said, “We see the creation and development of the Honors Living-Learning Community as the physical embodiment of our aspirations for higher education—not only how we need to get much better at identifying and cultivating true talent in students, but in how faculty and staff both nurture and learn from that talent, and therefore advance and increase the impact of their scholarship and professionalism. This unique living space will catalyze all of that and we could not think of a better partner than Ron Beit, and RBH Group, with whom we clearly share a deep commitment to leveraging Newark’s tremendous assets—first and foremost its people—to continue driving the city’s and region’s revitalization.”


RBH founder and CEO Ron Beit, said, “We are truly excited to have been chosen to help express the vision of Chancellor Cantor and the faculty and students of the Honors Living-Learning Community. The development of the HLLC complements our mission to develop projects in Newark in partnership with a full range of community partners. We are dedicated to creating affirmative social good by developing innovative and sustainable spaces in urban cores.”


Perkins Eastman’s Eric Fang AIA, AICP, LEED AP, Principal-in-Charge of the project, said, “We are thrilled to be able to work with this top-notch team led by RBH and the leadership of Rutgers-Newark to advance the groundbreaking mission of the Honors Living-Learning Community. The HLLC builds on our ongoing work with urban colleges and universities throughout the country to ‘engage the city,’ and our continuing commitment to match pioneering programs like the HLLC with innovative design.”


Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said, "The creation of the Honors Living-Learning Community is a holistic approach to the continuing transformation of our downtown in both economic and educational terms. This project will create economic opportunities and prosperity for Newark entrepreneurs through the construction process and the retail stores it creates. It will also provide housing and classroom facilities for more than 400 of our very best undergraduate students, who will use the facilities to tackle major issues that affect our City, state, and nation, and write the plans and agenda by which we will build our future. Here, in the Honors Living-Learning Community, these young men and women will make a shining reality of former Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson's epochal statement: 'Wherever America's cities are going, Newark will get there first!'"


The leaders of the HLLC include Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Shirley M. Collado, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences Sherri-Ann Butterfield and HLLC Associate Dean Marta Esquilin.


About RBH Group


Ron Beit is the founding partner and CEO of RBH Group, LLC and president of RBH Management, LLC, asset and property management companies. RBH has acquired, developed, rehabilitated, and/or operated over 1 million square feet of existing commercial and residential real estate in numerous projects throughout the U.S. It has over 6 million additional developable square feet in institutional-grade sites throughout downtown, Newark, NJ.


RBH Group has been an active participant in helping the City of Newark become New Jersey’s business and entertainment capital and a downtown, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week attraction. It has acquired 79 parcels through 30 separate transactions in Newark’s downtown core. The company’s efforts there to date have been in land assemblage and land entitlement in order to create a large-scale platform for institutional-grade development. RBH is currently developing the groundbreaking Teachers Village, Makers Village, and Four Corners Millennium projects in the historic core of the city.


About Rutgers University-Newark


Rutgers University - Newark is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s cultural capital.  Approximately 12,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, the School of Law-Newark, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.


At a historical moment when our cities, our state, our nation, and our world desperately need higher education to fulfill its promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility, Rutgers University-Newark is exceptionally well positioned to fulfill that promise. It has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. It has the right mix of disciplines and first-rate interdisciplinary centers and institutes to take on those questions and challenges.  It is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges undertaken with partners from sectors resonates powerfully throughout our urbanizing world.  Most importantly, Rutgers University - Newark brings an incredible diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—making it more innovative, more creative, more engaging, and more relevant for our time and the times ahead. For more information please visit www.newark.rutgers.edu.


About Perkins Eastman


Perkins Eastman is among the top design and architecture firms in the world. With almost 1,000 employees in 15 locations around the globe, Perkins Eastman practices at every scale of the built environment. From niche buildings to complex projects that enrich whole communities, the firm’s portfolio reflects a dedication to progressive and inventive design that enhances the quality of the human experience. With work in 46 states and more than 40 countries, the firm’s portfolio includes high-end residential, commercial, hospitality, retail, office buildings, corporate interiors, schools, hospitals, museums, senior living, and public sector facilities. Perkins Eastman provides award-winning design through its offices in North America (New York, NY; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Stamford, CT; Toronto, Canada; and Washington, DC); South America (Guayaquil, Ecuador); North Africa and Middle East (Dubai, UAE); and Asia (Mumbai, India, and Shanghai, China).


Perkins Eastman is also working with Rutgers University on the new School of Nursing and Science Building on the Camden campus and the new Athletics Multi-Use Facility on the New Brunswick campus.





• RBH Group, Goldman Sachs, Prudential Financial, City of Newark, NJEDA and AeroFarms® Partner to Redevelop Former Industrial Site into State  of the Art Indoor Vertical Farm

• 69,000 Square Foot Space to Serve as AeroFarms’ New Global Corporate Headquarters, bringing new jobs to Newark

• First Phase of Project to Open Later this Year


(Newark, NJ – Monday, March 9, 2015) RBH Group and its investment partners, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial Inc., and AeroFarms, together with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), announce the closing of a $30 million project to redevelop a former industrial site in the Ironbound community of Newark, NJ into the world’s largest indoor vertical farm and global corporate headquarters for AeroFarms, the leading commercial grower for vertical farming and controlled agriculture.


RBH Group and AeroFarms are building a state-of-the art 69,000 square foot indoor vertical farm and global headquarters in a converted steel factory located at 212 Rome Street that is owned by RBH Group. Currently under construction, the first phases will open in the second half of 2015, creating approximately 78 jobs in a local community with an unemployment rate that is twice the national average.  Additionally, AeroFarms has partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation to create a recruiting and job training program targeting local residents.


Ron Beit, founding partner and CEO of RBH Group, said, "We are delighted to introduce AeroFarms, a farming and technology leader, to the City of Newark, creating jobs for local residents and greater access to locally grown produce for our community. AeroFarms will anchor our broader “Makers Village” development project in the Ironbound neighborhood that will compete toe-to-toe with the Brooklyn Navy Yard in terms of a superior cost structure and greater transmodal access, bringing 21st century “maker-type” businesses to Newark and the State of New Jersey."


David Rosenberg, CEO for AeroFarms, said, “We are excited to redefine not only the Garden State but also agriculture overall. Partnering with RBH, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, the City of Newark and NJEDA allows us to bring our global headquarters and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm close to where the consumer is, offering a fresher, more nutritious and delicious product while also creating jobs in the community. We are also happy to build on our deep ties within the Newark community over the last 4 years, where we have had one of our working farms in the cafeteria of Philips Academy Charter School, offering the shortest farm to table experience around for the students.”


Mayor Ras J. Baraka said, “Newark is excited to partner with RBH Group, AeroFarms, Goldman Sachs, Prudential Financial and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority on the creation of the world's largest indoor vertical farm.


“Newark is increasingly becoming a destination City for high-tech and environmentally-friendly commerce, and this $30 million project in the East Ward will bring jobs and prosperity to our City.  It will also expand the role of urban farming and locally-produced vegetables in our City.  This will provide greater access to healthy and inexpensive food choices for our residents, helping them live healthier lifestyles.


“This development initiative is a win for everyone involved, and will have a major impact on our City’s economic and physical health, and our efforts to transform Newark into a City we can all believe in.  I congratulate RBH, AeroFarms, our Economic Development team, and all other partners on making this project happen.”


Margaret Anadu, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, said, “AeroFarms’ innovative vertical farming technology will help boost the local economy, promote healthy food options locally, and support environmental sustainability. Importantly, the project will also create high-quality, accessible local jobs, marking an important step in the continued revitalization of the Ironbound neighborhood.”


 “We expect AeroFarms to build on Newark’s history as a hub for manufacturing and innovation by attracting and retaining businesses that will grow through the 21st Century,” said Lata Reddy, vice president of corporate social responsibility and president of The Prudential Foundation.  “Next generation agri-businesses, such as AeroFarms, represent economic opportunity for Newarkers and development that will benefit the entire region.”


The building is located on a 3-acre industrial site in the center of the Ironbound community in Newark, NJ. It is adjacent to elevated truck Route 1 and 9, a freight rail right of way, and to other industrial businesses along Rome and Christie Streets.

When completed, AeroFarms will have the capacity to grow up to 2 million pounds per year of baby leafy greens and herbs in an environmentally controlled, safe, and sanitary facility. It will provide healthy foods to the local community as well as to other markets. AeroFarms is a model for successful, sustainable farming offering 75 times more productivity per square foot annually than a traditional field farm while using no pesticides and consuming over 95% less water.


 “The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act is effectively working to spur growth in our cities and create new job opportunities for our residents,” said NJ Economic Development Authority President and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Lizura.  “The transformation of a vacant warehouse in Newark into a headquarters and manufacturing facility for an emerging company is exactly the kind of project the Act was created to advance. The novel technologies that AeroFarms is developing could affect growers around the world, placing New Jersey once again at the forefront of innovation.”


About RBH Group


Ron Beit is the founding partner and CEO of RBH Group, LLC and president of RBH Management, LLC, asset and property management companies. RBH has acquired, developed, rehabilitated, and/or operated over 1 million square feet of existing commercial and residential real estate in numerous projects throughout the U.S. It has over 6 million additional developable square feet in institutional-grade sites throughout downtown, Newark, NJ.


RBH Group has been an active participant in helping the city of Newark become New Jersey’s business and entertainment capital and a downtown, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week attraction. It has acquired 79 parcels through 30 separate transactions in Newark’s downtown core. The company’s efforts there to date have been in land assemblage and land entitlement in order to create a large-scale platform for institutional-grade development. RBH is currently developing the groundbreaking Teachers Village project and the Four Corners Millennium project in the historic core of the city.


About AeroFarms


Founded in 2004, AeroFarms® is a mission-driven company and environmental champion leading the way to address our global food crisis by building, owning, and operating throughout the world responsible farms that grow safe, nutritious, and delicious food, setting a new standard for culinary freshness and flavor. AeroFarms has been fundamentally transforming agriculture and disintermediating the supply chain by enabling local farming at commercial scale all year round. Led by CEO David Rosenberg who has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the “Transformational Leaders in Agriculture”, AeroFarms was just profiled by Bloomberg TV for their annual program Year Ahead 2015 highlighting companies that are poised to disrupt business. AeroFarms is a Circular Economy 100 company, was voted Most Innovative Company at the Future Farm World agriculture conference and the Best Growth Company to invest in at the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference. AeroFarms is also the past Winner of Red Herring’s Top 100 North America and Global Finalist for Innovative Companies, Finalist for Silicon Valley’s TiE50 Awards for Energy/CleanTech, Finalist for World Technology Awards for the Environment, and Finalist for CleanEquity Monaco for Technology.


About the City of Newark


Newark is enjoying a strong revival. With its world-class entertainment venues (e.g., the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Prudential Center, the Newark Museum), and its art galleries and restaurants, Newark is increasingly becoming a destination for visitors. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence, and major corporations like Panasonic USA, Manischewitz, Wakefern, PSE&G, Prudential, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield are based here.


In July 2014, Mayor Ras J. Baraka appointed Deputy Mayor Adofo-Wilson to oversee the City of Newark’s Department of Economic and Housing Development.  The mission of this Department is to create economic opportunity for Newark residents and enhance the vibrancy of the City.  The Department seeks to position Newark to take advantage of its unique assets, including its strategic location, a diverse and under-utilized workforce, a large amount of developable land, concentration of corporate and business service firms, several major universities, and a wealth of arts and cultural assets.


About Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.


The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.


Established in 2001, the Urban Investment Group deploys capital to benefit urban communities. Through its comprehensive community development platform, UIG is a catalyst in the revitalization of underserved neighborhoods. UIG has committed more than $4.1 billion, facilitating the creation and preservation of over 14,000 housing units - the majority of which are affordable to low, moderate and middle-income families - as well as over 1,700,000 square feet of community facility and over 5,000,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.


About Prudential Financial


Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1.1 trillion of assets under management as of December 31, 2014, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.  Prudential Financial Inc.’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential Financial, Inc.’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit www.news.prudential.com.



Media Contacts


For media inquiries for RBH Group, please contact Lonnie Soury at (917) 519-4521, or Lsoury@soury.com   www.rbhgrp.com


For media inquires for Goldman Sachs, please contact Leigh Farris at (212) 934-4389, or Leigh.Farris@gs.com


For media inquiries for Prudential, contact Lisa Villareal at (973) 367-2503 or lisa.villareal@prudential.com


For media inquiries for AeroFarms, please contact Marc Oshima at  (973) 242-2495 or MarcOshima@AeroFarms.com


For media inquiries for the city of Newark, please contact the Press Information Office at (973) 733-8004 or PressOffice@ci.newark.nj.us




Education as a Revitalization Agent in Newark

Category: School-Based Neighborhood Revitalization

Partners: Brick City Development Corporation, GS Urban Investment Group, New Jersey Community Capital, Prudential Financial, Inc., RBH Group LLC, TD Bank

Smart-Growth Challenge: Can education, rather than commercial uses, serve as an effective anchor for neighborhood revitalization?

The Newark Teachers’ Village project will transform 11 blighted blocks in the city into a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented community featuring retail establishments, affordable workforce rental housing, and, as a linchpin, state-of-the-art LEED certified space for the relocation and expansion of three local schools.


As the primary developer, RBH Group LLC recognized the need in the area for increased educational opportunities for children, new retail establishments, and moderate-income housing stock. To fulfill its vision the firm acquired 77 different parcels in 30 separate acquisitions along Halsey and William streets in the Newark central business district, all in close proximity to existing public transportation options.


Teachers Village will be developed in two phases. The first phase will include 25,000 sq. ft. of retail space; an 11,000-sq.-ft. affordable early care center; and 90,000 sq. ft. of space for three state-of-the-art schools.  The schools and day care center will open this summer, along with several retail establishments.  The anticipated arrival of a small grocer represents one of the first new grocery stores to open in downtown Newark in many years.


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