Looking down from the roof of the Hahne’s building on Halsey Street in Newark, one can see the change and progression of a city. The stand of trees in Military Park. The shiny mirrored façade of the new Prudential Building. The old buildings blending in with new.
Halsey Street is in transition, and the Hahne’s building is the heart of that change.
The Hahne’s building is an iconic structure in Newark. It once drew shoppers to downtown from all over. The building also provided memories for people who lived in the city.
“There are some people that we have here that are Newark residents who have some tie to the building,” Michael Handler, Project manager of the Hahne’s building said. “They were here as children when their parents took them to get graduation clothes, or for christening, or weddings, bar mitzvahs or etcetera. I’ll often hear stories ‘I remember when my parents took me here.’”
The repurposed building will be a brand new version of its former self and is expected to bring in more walking traffic to Halsey than ever before. It will include retail stores, apartments, and Rutgers arts programs as well as a Whole Foods market. The building is scheduled to be completed by the end of December 2016.
The changes in Halsey Street are affecting Newark as a whole. It’s becoming a place where many people and even the students in Newark can be proud to call home.
“Before they started doing construction, Halsey was kind of sketchy,” Rutgers Student Jerry Singh said. “Not many students would go out there. They were kind of hesitant to get out of campus. So with the new building that they’re making now [Hahne’s Building], hopefully it’ll get students to get out of the campus more.”
With the transformation in progress, the neighborhood is becoming a safer place, too. People stroll to sidewalk bistros for lunch without worry. Places like, Art Kitchen, Burger Walla, and Green Chicpea, where students, academics, and business professionals meet.
Small business owners are hopeful that the evolution of Halsey will bring even more people to its shop and cafes.
“Why would these small businesses be here if they didn’t think they had a chance at success?” asked Mark Bonamo, editor of Newark Inc. “It’s not just the Rutgers students anymore, whether they’re graduate or undergraduate. It’s business people who are realizing not only we can work in Newark, we can live in Newark.”