NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal Opens 22-Story Development in Hometown of Newark

Shaquille O’Neal dished out plenty of elbows during his Hall of Fame career in the NBA. But it was one that he caught—from his mother, Lucille, no less—that set the stage for Shaq to be a change agent in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

"In 1992, me and my mother were visiting some relatives and my mother said to me, 'I remember when this city used to be beautiful. Somebody needs to come by and invest in this city and make it beautiful again,’” Shaq recalled this past April, per Patch. "She gave me an elbow to the chest like I'm that somebody."

Twenty-seven years later, the four-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, alongside Mayor Ras Baraka, at an $80 million, 22-story building at 50 Rector Park in the Newark Downtown District. The development, known around town as “Shaq Tower,” is the first high-rise apartment building to join the city’s skyline in more than 50 years.

The project came about as a public-private partnership between Shaq, the city, the state of New Jersey, New Brunswick-based Boraie Development and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. The new tower was also boosted by a $24 million New Jersey Department of Economic Development Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit.

The building’s one million square feet of space includes ground-floor retail space and 169 residential units—with monthly rents ranging from $1,800 to $2,895—as well as a gym, co-working lounge, private dining room, sky deck and Amazon lockers.

When it comes to upgrading Newark’s real estate, though, Shaq is only just getting started. He’s also involved in a $150 million plan to build a 35-story structure on McCarter Highway.

 

Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.