Omar Boraie looks to repeat New Brunswick economic miracle in Newark

Omar Boraie knows all about long shots. His father, Omar Boraie, made a name for himself betting huge on the revitalization of downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey. His critics laughed when Omar said that he thought he could turn the quickly failing city into a place that professionals from all over the neighboring cities in the New York Metro Area would seek to come to. Ultimately, Boraie would be proven correct. After building the first Class A office space that the city had seen in over 40 years, professionals and small business owners sick of paying outrageous rent in places like Manhattan flocked to the small city to get into the Boraie-constructed offices.

Now, it’s Omar Boraie’s son, Sam, who is at the helm of the storied development firm. And Sam has proven to have every bit as much grit and propensity for risk-taking as his father. Sam Boraie has decided to go even bigger, seeking to transform the downtown Newark area from blighted slum into the same kind of economic engine that New Brunswick has become.

Sam Boraie’s flagship effort, to date, has been the 26-story Art Deco-influenced post-modern masterpiece, One Riverview. The first skyscraper built in downtown Newark in more than 50 years, the mixed-used One Riverview will feature ultra-luxury apartments, shopping and a restaurant.

But perhaps the most exciting aspect of the development isn’t what it is but who’s involved. Sam Boraie struggled to get traditional financing for the project, being told that downtown Newark was a lost cause and that no serious professionals would be interested in living in the notorious city. So Sam Boraie went to an old friend, basketball great Shaquille O’Neil.

In an article on Patch, O’Neil is perhaps Newark’s most famous resident. He grew up there and lived in the city until he was a teenager, when he went away to college to focus on basketball. But O’Neil is also an astute entrepreneur. He committed to invest a sizable amount, enough to get the project off the ground.

One Riverview is currently scheduled to open this fall. The complex has few vacancies and there is already a waiting list for the most luxurious, two-bedroom units.

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