Queen Latifah is going back to her hometown of Newark, New Jersey and helping to construct $14 million in new housing in the process. The 76-unit townhouse and apartment complex is set to begin construction sometime this summer, and when it's complete it will be made up of 20 market-rate townhouses (with three families per townhouse) and 16 affordable housing apartments with rent determined by the resident's income.
The project is the result of a collaboration between Latifah's BlueSugar Corporation and GonSosa Development. Cristina Pinzon is a spokesperson for the developers, and in a press statement to NJ.com she explained what attracted them to this particular project:
"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."
That being said, anyone hoping to move into one of those 16 affordable housing units will have to wait a little bit longer than those planning on paying the market rate, since the former is slated to open in December 2021, with the latter scheduled for a full year before than in December of 2020. Market rate units will start at around $1,800 a month.
For Latifah's part, she doesn't appear to have commented publicly on the project just yet, but in a recent commencement speech at Rutgers-Newark in May of last year, she clearly had some hometown pride on her mind:
"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."
The development will be mixed-use with space for not just housing but a fitness center and 1,900 square feet of commercial space as well, with the plan being to rent at least some of that space to non-profit organizations in the area.