She’s a rapper, an actress, a philanthropist and now a developer.
Hip-hop icon Queen Latifah is returning to her hometown of Newark to invest in a cluster of multi-family town homes along Springfield Avenue and South 17th Street.
The $14 million project is expected to break ground in the summer.
Latifah, a co-president of BlueSugar Corporation, is working with GonSosa Development on the project, which is anchored outside of the city’s downtown, spanning the West and South wards.
The project includes 20 three-family town homes and a three-story mixed-used building with an additional 16 units. Plans for the building include a fitness center and 1,900 square feet of commercial space that will be rented to nonprofits. The 60 units in the townhouses will be market rate; the 16 units in the building will be affordable.
Rents for the market rate units will start around $1,800 a month and are expected to open by December 2020. The affordable housing building is expected to be finished in December 2021; units there will be priced according to a person’s income.
Cristina Pinzon, a spokeswoman for the developers, said both companies recognize the need for affordable housing in and around Newark.
“They understand how difficult it is to make ends meet for many residents and want to be part of the solution. They remain dedicated to making life better in communities like Newark,” she said in a statement.
Latifah, who was born in Newark and raised in East Orange, has previously embraced her Jersey roots. As the commencement speaker for Rutgers-Newark last May, Latifah told the graduating class, “I couldn’t be more proud to be one of Newark’s own today, this is home.”
“Today’s Newark is stirring again, stirring because our greatest export was never a product, it’s always been the people. People like each of you -- unique, strong, creative individuals," she went on to say.