Newark on the Rise: Tech Growth Revitalizes a Commercial and Cultural Hub

Newark has a rich history as a center of business and culture. The Gateway City is reclaiming that history, becoming one of the United States’ emerging locations to live, work, and play. 

Newark is in a remarkable period of transformation as one of the most exciting places to do business in the country. The city is witnessing unprecedented growth in new housing construction, commercial real estate development, and business activity. A strong network of corporate leaders, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations is leading the way to a bright future. 

Queen Latifah and Shaquille O’Neal, who were both born in Newark, have returned to launch new housing developments in the city, reimagining why Newark is called Brick City. An investment group led by Onyx Equities is bringing fantastic new and diverse restaurants to the Gateway Center as part of a $40 million overhaul. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is spearheading a $150 million development project that will transform the downtown arts and education district. And projects that will bring hundreds of luxury housing units to the market are underway across the city, including The Vibe downtown and the Ballentine in the Ironbound District. 

These improvements, coupled with Newark’s well-known attributes as a place to do business, are why the city was recently named one of “America’s 25 Fastest Growing Cities for Small Businesses” by OpenPhone. 

Why Newark?


More than a million people move through Newark every day, thanks to its robust transportation system and logistics infrastructure. Newark Liberty International Airport offers daily flights to nearly 521 non-stop destinations and is only ten minutes from downtown by train. 

Newark Penn Station offers quick access to Manhattan via NJ Transit and PATH trains. Amtrak rail lines carry passengers to Boston in four hours and to Washington, D.C. in three hours. The train station is an old-school Art Deco gem and will soon undergo a massive five-year, $190 million refurbishment to restore it to its former glory. Not to mention, the Port of New York and New Jersey recently usurped the Port of Los Angeles as the busiest seaport for imports, which held the title for 22 years. 

Move throughout the city via Newark’s vast transportation network, including the light rail, buses, bike paths, and footbridges. Plus, Interstate highways 78, 80, and 95 make travel to and from the city by car simple.  

A Strong Corporate Network 

Some of New Jersey’s highest-profile companies are already based in Newark, such as Horizon BCBSNJ, PSEG, Prudential Financial, Audible, IDT Corporation, and Mars Wrigley. Each has played an active role in the city’s ongoing renaissance leading to more industry leaders realizing the value Newark can bring to their business. That’s why WebMD, the popular online health news portal, has moved its headquarters – and brought approximately 600 to 700 jobs – from New York to Newark. 

Top Talent Pipeline  

The Newark region boasts one of the most educated populations in the country, with more people employed in tech and business roles than in Austin, Raleigh, or Boston. Companies can plug into a thriving ecosystem of diverse talent here bolstered by the Rutgers University-Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) campuses. 


Newark’s diversity is one of its strongest assets. As of 2020, 32.5% of Newark residents (91.8K people) were born outside of the United States, which is higher than the national average of 13.5%. Newark is majority-minority with about 50% African American and more than 36% Hispanic residents, according to the U.S. Census

Just head to the Ironbound District to see the kind of multi-ethnic, culturally rich communities that abound in Newark. This bustling neighborhood is home to about 50,000 people from all over the world. In the 19th century, a wave of German, Lithuanian, Italian, and Polish immigrants settled in the area. Then, in the early 20th century, Black Americans traveled to the Ironbound to escape the Jim Crow era South. At the same time, Portuguese and Spanish immigrants arrived. And later in the 20th-century, people from Central and South America joined the neighborhood. Today, every two out of three Ironbound residents are immigrants. 

The Newark-New York City metro area is also home to the most Cuban-Americans outside of Florida. More broadly, New Jersey ranks in the top 5 for states with the largest Peruvian, Indian, Korean, and Chinese communities in the country. And, according to U.S. News & World Report, Rutgers University-Newark is one of the most diverse universities in the country. 

Quality of Life 

Many first-time visitors to Newark’s Branch Brook Park are amazed to learn that it’s home to the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the United States, with more cherry trees than even Washington, D.C. But that’s not the only surprise awaiting you in New Jersey’s largest city. 

Residents and visitors get to enjoy world-class sports, entertainment, and cultural events. Major venues include the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (home to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra), the Prudential Center (home to the New Jersey Devils and a celebrated concert venue), and the Newark Museum of Art (which boasts one of the country’s largest collections of American art). The Prudential Center was even listed #5 on Pollstar’s list of top venues worldwide, and #10 on Billboard’s list. SMU DataArts listed Newark as one of the Top 20 Large Arts-Vibrant Communities in the country in 2022. The city was also named in the Trust for Public Land’s Top 50 Cities for Parks

And when you’re feeling peckish, head to the Ironbound, one of America’s great culinary neighborhoods. There, you’ll find the best Portuguese and Spanish food outside of the Iberian Peninsula, not to mention great Brazilian fare.  

Hub for Innovation

The creation of Newark Venture Partners (NVP) in 2015 marked a milestone in Newark’s progress toward becoming a tech hub. The $45 million venture capital fund and accelerator, founded by Audible Founder and Executive Chairman Don Katz, invests in B2B technology companies and enables startups to scale successfully. As of 2021, NVP stands as the most active VC by unique tech investments in New Jersey.  

In 2018, Newark became the fourth city in the world to implement Link, a communications network of sidewalk kiosks that provide residents and visitors with a number of free Wi-Fi services. The city’s vast network of dark fiber made it the perfect candidate for this program. With LinkNWK, Newark joins New York City, London, and other cities around the U.K. in bringing these digital upgrades to city streets. 

One year later, the CBRE annual Scoring Tech Talent Report ranked Newark as a top east coast market with more than 53,000 tech jobs, most in software development, computer programming, and database system management. Total tech occupations grew 9.7% from 2013 to 2018, according to CBRE’s report. The city’s ideal combination of a highly educated and talented workforce and its proximity to Manhattan has led to exceptional growth in the technology and logistics sectors. 

Newark continued to make headway in 2020 when a survey by Coding Dojo ranked Newark as the sixth-best place for young programmers to live and work. Newark surpassed major high-tech areas, including San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose, and even New York City, reinforcing its attractive cost of living combined with extensive career opportunities. 

Since then, several major companies have chosen Newark as their new home. Notably, the Princeton-based venture capital firm SOSV selected Newark as the location for its HAX U.S. headquarters. HAX, which opened a $50 million state-of-the-art facility in 2022, is SOSV’s hard tech startup program. It is projected to attract thousands of new high-tech jobs and millions of dollars in new capital investments to Newark. 

AeroFarms, founded in 2004, also chose Newark as its home. AeroFarms is the first indoor vertical farming company to be a Certified B Corporation. It produces sustainably grown leafy greens and microgreens while using 95% less water than a typical field farm and no pesticides. In 2022, it was recognized by Fortune as a “Change The World Company.” 

Lionsgate Films is yet another company expanding to Newark. The massive film studio is currently constructing a 350,000-square-foot film and television production complex on Frelinghuysen Avenue. The construction is projected to cost $194 million and will bring a flush of new jobs to the area. 

Relocate Your Business for Today and the Future

Newark is on the rise as a place to live, work, and play. At Choose New Jersey, our team has the knowledge and resources to help your business thrive and succeed. Whether you’re just starting up or looking to relocate or expand operations, consider Newark as your new home — several companies already have. For more information about our services, contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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