NEWARK-The old Krementz Building on the southern end of Broad Street once housed this city’s most famous jewelry business, but New York City-based JEMB Realty will turn it into a gem of a different kind. Newark is becoming known as a hotbed of telecom activity, and the remade property will join the old Macy’s building and IDT Corp.’s HQ as carrier hotels.

JEMB Realty has a reputation as a developer of such facilities, but much of its activity has been in New York City. Indeed, the company recently launched a new division called Tornado Telecom to focus on “the acquisition, development and management of telecom assets on a national and international level,” according to JEMB principal Ray Chalme. The division’s newer projects outside metro New York include deals in Arizona and Georgia.

The Newark property, a two-story bunker-style facility (essentially windowless) has been vacant for three years. A regional cable TV company had been in talks to buy it, but nothing happened and JEMB stepped into the picture.

“We’re very excited about this project,” says Chalme, whose company hasn’t disclosed the purchase price nor the specific plans for redeveloping the building. JEMB’s on-staff roster includes a team of engineers that have worked on similar projects in New York.

Some observers have suggested that this third major carrier hotel might provide more telecom and Internet capacity than the metro Newark market can handle right now, but JEMB might have an advantage in filling up the building because of its existing contacts within the telecom industry.

Another aspect of the project is that it will extend Newark’s downtown redevelopment further south along Broad Street. Much of the recent activity has been focused on the center of town and points north. Indeed, the area south of city hall along Broad Street and McCarter Highway includes the largest group of vacant parcels and buildings available for redevelopment. The city’s Housing Authority, with the help of Federal grant money, has acquired much of the land.

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