City of the Future?

First time Outdoor magazine made it to the front page, great great piece:

Affordable Housing Is the Key to a Thriving City

Almost as long as there have been cities, there have been efforts to revamp their downtowns. But philosophies about how to do that are constantly evolving. In this era of gentrification, income inequality, and climate change, some of the most innovative ideas are coming from a surprising place—Newark, New Jersey—with help from a 45-year-old real estate developer named Ron Beit. His flagship projects—the smartly designed Teachers Village, which provides middle-income housing and curated retail for a community of educators in the city center, and Makers Village, home to AeroFarms, the largest indoor aeroponic farm in the world—embody his belief that development should celebrate diversity and high-quality design while being affordable. We talked with Beit about where the fight to reinvent America’s cities has been, and where he sees it going.

“Real estate developer” really undersells what you and your company do. Perhaps you should come up with something cooler, like developer-activist or urbanization guru.

We are sort of an oddball. There are affordable-housing developers, and there are traditional real estate developers that know how to put private capital together. But there’s a middle ground, where you need to combine both skills. When someone asks me what I do, I describe my work as community-oriented, social-impact development.

Is this the future of development in downtown cores?

One hundred percent. Not only is your end user going to demand that kind of social impact, but it’s good for business. Real estate developers are tripping over themselves for assets right now. The only way they are going to make money is to go into tougher and tougher communities and actually help rebuild them in a way where both the community and the investors benefit.

What lessons can other cities take from your successes?

In this country, we build a lot of expensive luxury housing, and we build affordable housing. But middle-income housing stock has been sorely lacking for decades. Providing housing for teachers, for instance, leads to the vibrancy of a city. Not to mention it helps recruit the best teachers to a com­munity. We are currently constructing a second Teachers Village in Hartford, Connecticut. Our third one will break ground by the end of the year in Chicago, and we’re looking at Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Oakland, California.

Are cities planning for growth the right way these days? What could they be doing better?

Philadelphia and Portland, Ore­gon, are doing great with housing across the board, but other cities need to implement strategies similar to the affordable-housing tax credit to promote middle-income development. We also need to promote small business more. In order to truly make yourself a destination, you have to curate a unique retail experience.

Describe the downtown of the future—and don’t feel constrained by existing technology.

Lots of small businesses, vibrant walkable streets. No parking lots and garages—we won’t need them anymore, because we’ll have superaccessible mass transit. In the next few decades, green construction will be so efficient that buildings will actually clean the environment.

This entry was posted in Demographics, Economics, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to City of the Future?

  1. ExEssex says:

    Serious Question – who hates this Country more?

  2. Fast Eddie says:

    On the train but reading quotes from today’s topic made me laugh. The term “vibrant walkable streets” makes me chuckle. More later.

  3. 1987 Condo says:

    Cracked rim (2006 TL) ….seems ordering replacement on internet may be cheaper than getting fixed… Lib/Grim. others..any thoughts on this?

    (I hope folks appreciate I did not make the “obvious” joke here)

  4. Nomad says:

    Speaking of cars, when they are made, is there some type of electronic pedigree to ensure all the automated processes are completed and tied to a VIN? Subaru has a brand new model called the Ascent and recalled because the robots missed some welds making it unsafe without proper structural integrity.

  5. D-FENS says:


    Emails show RBS bankers joked about destroying US housing market before 2008

    LONDON — Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) bankers joked about destroying the US housing market and senior staff described the loans they were trading as “total f***** garbage,” according to transcripts released by the US Department of Justice.

    Email and call transcripts in a DOJ report released on August 10 as part of a $4.9 billion settlement with RBS show the bank’s chief credit officer in the US said the loans they were selling were “all disguised to, you know, look okay kind of … in a data file.”

    He went on to say that the products being sold were “total f****** garbage” loans with “fraud [that] was so rampant … [and] all random.”

    The US Department of Justice criticized the bank for its conduct and trade in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), which played a central role in the crisis.

    The DOJ said the bank made “false and misleading representations” to sell more RMBS, adding that senior executives “showed little regard for their misconduct and, internally, made light of it.”

    When the contagion in the housing market became clear, the head trader at RBS got a call from a friend who said: “[I’m] sure your parents never imagine[d] they’d raise a son who [would] destroy the housing market in the richest nation on the planet.”

    “I take exception to the word ‘destroy.’ I am more comfortable with ‘severely damage,'” he replied.

    The bank disguised the risks to investors while making hundreds of millions from a housing market that a senior RBS banker described as broken, incentivising bad loans that meant lenders were “raking in the money.”

    Employees who might raise the alarm about the risky practices “don’t give a s*** because they’re not getting paid,” he said.

    The transcripts reveal that as the banking system started showing signs of break-down by early October 2007. The chief credit officer at RBS wrote to colleagues saying that loans were being pushed by “every possible … style of scumbag,” and it was “like quasi-organised crime.”

    “Nobody seems to care,” he said.

    A senior bank analyst at RBS also described the bank’s due diligence process on loans as “just a bunch of bullsh**,” according to the DOJ.

    In May 2018 RBS chief Ross McEwan said the deal with the DOJ to end the investigation was a milestone for the bank. “Our current shareholders will be very pleased this deal is done. It does help the government sell a cleaner bank,” he said.

  6. Ottoman says:

    There was a time not that long ago when only artists were allowed to live in Soho. Now Manhattan is boring as h3ll. Capitalism ruins everything.

  7. Ottoman says:

    Capitalism, exhibit A:


    Emails show RBS bankers joked about destroying US housing market before 2008”

  8. Juice Box says:

    Speaking of Newark and affordable housing.

    Shaq Towers approved for a second residential 33 story tower.

    First is on Rector St and second is 777 McCarter Highway.

  9. Yo! says:

    “Curated retail for a community of educators” – wtf does that mean?

    Good news that Ron Beit is bring money into Newark. Who is going to lease all that office space Ron wants to build?

  10. Ottoman says:

    Your stupidity makes me chuckle.

    Fast Eddie says:
    August 16, 2018 at 7:39 am
    On the train but reading quotes from today’s topic made me laugh. The term “vibrant walkable streets” makes me chuckle. More later.

  11. D-FENS says:

    yeah east berlin was so beautiful and vibrant until the capitalists ruined it amirite?

    Ottoman says:
    August 16, 2018 at 9:08 am
    There was a time not that long ago when only artists were allowed to live in Soho. Now Manhattan is boring as h3ll. Capitalism ruins everything.

  12. Fast Eddie says:

    Your stupidity makes me chuckle.

    That’s what your mother said to your father when you were spawned.

  13. 3b says:

    Ironically this is nothing new the article describes the ideal city or downtown or neighborhood. What it describes in fact is the type of neighborhood I grew up in in the Bronx as a kid; until it declined.

  14. Fast Eddie says:

    Serious Question – who hates this Country more?

    Go ask Andrew Cuomo or that hideous looking, cross-dresser running for Governor in Vermont.

  15. Fast Eddie says:

    No parking lots and garages—we won’t need them anymore, because we’ll have superaccessible mass transit. In the next few decades, green construction will be so efficient that buildings will actually clean the environment.

    Omg, this is satire at its best. Or is it a chapter from Dune?

  16. Not Paying Essex Taxes says:

    Good question, my answer. The green eye monster -envy.

    The Russian, Chinese, and other old geo-politicals and ideological adversaries have their interest in how they relate to us.

    But right now, a sizeable batch of baby boomer locust are so envious of the perceived advantages of other, while they ignore how good they got from birth and foolish enough to ignore how good they still have it – one word – Medicare.

    Their enviousness makes them wear those t-shirts that said ” Better Russian than a Democrat “. Well, maybe the democrats should make their Medicare go poof.

  17. JCer says:

    Eddie I was with the article until that. Develops love this idea because they don’t have to factor in crippling traffic and expensive deck parking into their plans. But it isn’t reality, cars are needed and anyone who is middle class or above wants to own one. Yes for local travel you can meet all your needs with mass transit but what about when you need to leave your city or by anything larger than what you can carry? Most adult city dwellers either own a car or regularly use zip car, it seems weekends are car time.

    Also for the vibrant city core the ability for neighboring suburban people to come and spend money in your urban core is key to long term economic viability.

  18. Juice Box says:

    Eddie- I chuckled at that one too. Same with “Shaq Towers” They allowed the builder and “Shaq” to add a few floors in exchange for a hundred+ less parking spots.

  19. 30 year realtor says:

    Fast Eddie,

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you read or listened to the entire context of Cuomo’s statement. What did he say that makes you feel he hates America?

  20. Juice Box says:

    What Cuomo meant to say was America has not yet reached its maximum potential of greatness..

    Meaning once Cuomo is President America will truly and finally be great.

  21. Fast Eddie says:

    Cuomo said Trump ignores the pains of the past when he speaks about making America great again. Did Bill Clinton ignore the pains of the past when he said make America great again? Did Reagan ignore it when he said it? Cuomo once said he wanted to make New York great again. Who is stopping anyone from reaching greatness? WTF does “reaching greatness when every American is fully engaged” mean? And what does “equality” mean? How do we reach “equality?”

  22. Fast Eddie says:

    Oh look! China wants to come to the table again and talk about tariffs. Well, imagine that! Forget that, let’s talk about Omarosa. By the way, how’s that Russian collusion coming along?

  23. 30 year realtor says:

    They all ignored pains of the past. Refreshing to not be looking at history through rose colored glasses!

    Equality? Long process to equality. One of the first steps is getting rid of the rose colored glasses. Looking at this country through a realistic lens and taking responsibility for how this country has treated minorities. Taking responsibility for the societal problems created by long term, institutional prejudice and finding ways to mitigate the problems we have created for our society.

  24. Libturd says:

    Mark this day in your calendar. I am in agreement with the footstool! But I must digress. Who had 8 years to hang some of these capos? And why did America vote for Trump? It couldn’t be the contributions that RBS made to the (wait for it)
    Clinton Foundation.

    Capitalism, exhibit A:

    “Whoa… Emails show RBS bankers joked about destroying US housing market before 2008”

  25. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    I read his full statement. It’s a talking point, and a bad one at that. If you look at medical schools across the nation, women are the majority in every incoming class. They also outnumber men in college as well.

    “We are not going to make America great again. It was never that great,” he said. The audience members, who were there to watch Cuomo sign a bill to make sex trafficking a felony in the state, reacted with audible gasps and cheers. The governor was attempting to make a larger point about women’s equality, but the context was lost with the shocked reaction to his first sentence.

    “We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women — 51 percent our our population — is gone, and every woman’s reach full potential is realized and unleashed,” Cuomo said.

  26. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    There was a time not that long ago when only artists were allowed to live in Soho. Now Manhattan is boring as h3ll. Capitalism ruins everything.

    It would have remained that way had we not bailed out the banks in 2008. Woulda been much better to force them to liquidate assets and guarantee accounts through solvent institutions.

  27. Libturd says:

    Enough about this gender crap. Can we get back to making the government a less corrupt institution?

  28. 1987 Condo says:

    Except for Engineering and I imagine MIT and the like, about 60% of incoming freshman at colleges are women. When I took my son to Elon years ago for a tour it was 17-3 girls to boys.

    The future problem will be “why aren’t boys going to college”…

  29. Hamstat says:

    The future problem will be “why aren’t boys going to college”…

    Problem? That’s a desired outcome. Feature, not a bug…

  30. RxEssex says:

    The system and its demands work for girls vs boys

    Take me for example….my wife smarter, more successful by almost any measure, and puts most guys to shame. Murica

  31. No One says:

    If my daughter’s high school and niece’s uni is an indication, the race/gender/orientation grievance industry is going to get much worse. A meaningful percent of the kids are obsessed with this stuff, matched by a number of the teachers.
    About half of the available what used to be called “English” classes have been converted into race/gender/sexuality courses. My daughter has no interest in these classes, but the number of classes that cover anything like the classics or even just “normal” high school literature are diminishing. Teachers have created a new normal. There’s one teacher who is known by the kids to be aggressively racist, but since he’s black that’s considered ok. I heard that he’s told students he doesn’t like non-blacks, and won’t give them good grades, and he even criticized a black friend of my daughter’s for being “not black enough”. Imagine substituting the word “white” from the statements of a white teacher! (By the way, the SJWs have written that such a though experiment is invalid, because America’s abusive power structure means that only non-blacks can be racist). But plenty of kids still flock to his class for the privilege of reading and discussing race grievance literature for half a year of school.

  32. Libturd says:

    No One,

    I hear you. This gender crap sounds fine in the class room but gets screwy when put into practice. I told you all the story when I was on the D’s make a wish trip. A slightly inebriated couple decided to see who could last longer in each other gender’s bathroom. The man, walked into the ladies room, went into a stall, peed standing up, washed his hands and exited. The screams were louder than that from the nearby amusement rides. The woman, walked into the men’s room, received about twenty stares and a whole bunch of go right aheads. She abruptly turned around and exited.

    Condo: on the rims? A repair will work for most cracks and will save you about half the cost of a replacement. It is not always as aestetichly pleasing. Though a shiny new rim, among three beaters will look just as stupid. Either way, you are remounting and balancing tires.

  33. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    Except for Engineering and I imagine MIT and the like, about 60% of incoming freshman at colleges are women. When I took my son to Elon years ago for a tour it was 17-3 girls to boys.

    Engineering will always be tilted one way and it’s never going to change. It’s genetic disposition. The same reason that only guys work on power lines. The narrative that women are discouraged from science and engineering is completely false. In fact, every science teacher I know goes out of their way to encourage girls to consider these fields.

  34. Libturd, AKA Dr. Howie Feltersnatch says:

    Just like when I hire. I always look to find minorities and woman first. The problem is, either they are woefully under-qualified or there simply aren’t any applicants. But I truly do try to hook a brother and sister up yo.

  35. 1987 condo says:

    Thanks for info on rims!

    Also, is it “wrong” that men will like certain vocations and women may like others?

  36. Juice Box says:

    Women are currently 50 percent of all STEM college graduates. After these women enter the workforce they eventually become mothers and then only want to work 20-30 hours a week while their children are in school. Unless more of these STEM jobs turn into part-time virtual jobs there is no way the numbers will go up.

  37. Libturd says:

    How do I get pregnant?

    Last I checked, the WNBA still uses a smaller ball than used in the NBA. If you want equality, stop cheating!

  38. Juice Box says:

    re: Libturd: “How do I get pregnant?”

    Start a go fund me….

    warning: do not search Transition on go fund me.

  39. Fast Eddie says:

    If you want equality, stop cheating!

    Can you picture an otherwise athletic girl catching a football in the flat and being met by James Harrison as he lowers his pads? The only question after they announce time of death is whether she had possession of the ball before the hit.

  40. Jay says:

    So two take aways I guess from the article and comments.

    This developer sounds like he’s really trying to make a positive impact.

    And Fast Eddie is a retard who likes the sound of his own thoughts.

  41. Libturd says:

    Teacher’s Village is where I park on the street for free to attend Devil Games at the Rock. It’s 2 blocks west of the arena. Everyone else pays $30 because they like to wait twenty minutes to get out of a parking lot after the game. I watched it go from abandoned buildings to renovated lofts and apartments with retail on the street level. So far, a nail place, a spa, a 7-Eleven and a gym has moved in. From what I could tell, very few of the units were occupied. The main positive I could find is that Hobby’s is only a block away and street parking is easy to find down there. The big negative is that there is also a mosque nearby that rips the Quoran’s call to prayer at maximum volume five times per day. Also, the remaining blocks around it are mostly made up of abandoned buildings which makes nightlife nil. I wouldn’t be caught walking around there on nights where there is no event at the Rock. One other positive is that you can get Steve Harveyesque suits down there for sub $100.

  42. joyce says:

    NOTE: A Passaic County Sheriff’s Office department spokesman, William J. Maer, after multiple requests for comment from NJ Advance Media, on Wednesday said the unidentified man in the video is a retired captain from the department. Maer would not name the retired captain or explain what type of badge the man displayed.

  43. Libturd says:

    Here’s a nice view of the block adjacent Teacher’s Village.

  44. Libturd says:

    That Captain can’t be retired Joyce. He doesn’t live in Florida.

  45. joyce says:

    Maybe he’s double dipping.

  46. hobojoe says:

    Many (most) of the new condoplexes in Hoboken received significant relief on parking requirements as part of a designation of “transit village” or somesuch. In reality, each of these buildings has 1-3 shuttle vans/minibuses which have turned the area by the PATH station into a massive traffic jam every single day. There are now 3-4 traffic officers at the intersections where just a few years ago they didn’t even have traffic signals. The most ironic part is that except for peak rush hour, most of these vans/buses with their large V8 or diesel engines carry 1 or 2 people to the station and return empty. I’d bet there’s actually MORE air pollution as a result of these “transit villages” and their shuttle buses.

    Develops love this idea because they don’t have to factor in crippling traffic and expensive deck parking into their plans.

  47. Yo! says:

    Toys R Us lawyer told bankruptcy judge the most valuable real estate is 2 warehouses in NJ and California. Hey, what about that office building in Wayne?

  48. grim says:

    Did TRU even own it, or was there a sale leaseback?

  49. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    The retired Sheriff is a hot head, and the kid is your classic punk who’s going to get arrested 4 or 5 times in the next couple of years. In fact, he’s probably going to get his butt whooped because he’s a loudmouth.

  50. joyce says:

    FFS, why do we need to add that second half of the statement?

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  52. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    Because it’s the truth. There is no good guy in that confrontation. Scrawny kid mouths off to irate adult. He’s going to cross the wrong person one day.

  53. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    I had brakes done all around on our Mini-Van two days ago, 4 wheel disc (I didn’t even know they were 4 wheel disc, I assumed drums in back, you can’t see through the wheels). I could tell they were close because I could feel the pads being pressed away from the rotors by the spring-loaded squealers (low pedal on first press, much better on second press, also slight squeal noted with windows open). My mechanic, who sold me the car a year ago replaced all the pads, said the rotors were fine because he replaced them 18 months ago for the previous owner (a Jesuit monastery). Drove the car home, pedal was great. My wife took the car out, noticed nothing different(shocker!). I asked her if she thought the parking brake felt better (I mostly don’t use it, we’re flatlanders). She said she didn’t notice any different. I went out and tried the emergency brake, foot actuated, not hand. It felt just as bad. I pushed the pedal to the floor and the brake still didn’t hold in drive, and nowhere close in reverse. I released the brake and…crap…the rear brakes didn’t release. It was late, so I just drove the car slow around the neighborhood and the rears still didn’t release completely. No creep at all, really, in Drive. it. I let it sit until this morning. I went out early and it was still a problem. I went out on the highway and I heard the right rear clunking like a drum brake grabbing and releasing, I had to pull over to the side of the highway. Double I couldn’t figure out what I was hearing since it’s disc brakes all around. Got home, parked it. Felt the rear lug nuts and they were hot. Shit. I let it sit for a while. I finally figured out that the parking brake is actually a drum brake inside the disc rotor? WTF, who came up with that bright idea? I was able to get under the car (barely, no jack stands here) with a pair of vice grips and pull the cable back to release it. I probably put too much pressure on the parking brake pedal and pulled some rusted cable into the housing.

    What a complicated setup! My 1970 Fiat Spider had 4 wheel discs, but didn’t have an additional drum parking brake. Usually you just have a screw down piston in the back and a cable actuator. Some reading informed me that it’s cheaper (and probably generates future revenue!) to have a more complicated setup like a mini drum brake inside a disc rotor. There may also be some laws that mandated the parking brake has to be manually activated(no hydraulics, no power) and self-adjusting.

  54. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    1987 – re -rims – Take it from somebody who owns more automobile wheels than any sane person should ever own:

    Steel rims : replace

    Cast Alloy rims: Ehhh! Figure it out yourself. Cast rims are not too strong.

    Forged Alloy rims: Straighten or toss. I own lots and lots of forged aluminum rims. There is nothing stronger, lighter, or more expensive. I have a rim-straightening guy. He laments when he can’t straighten a bent rim I bring to him because he just doesn’t have the hydraulic pressure required. A forged alloy rim is a forever friend. If it cant’ be straightened…just hold a funeral and forget about it.

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