Building deeper ties to Newark’s redevelopment
Chris Johnson knew he faced a challenge in 2006 when he was hired to build a bank in downtown Newark. For decades, the Brick City had been plagued by corruption and patronage, creating barriers that kept out would-be developers and contractors.
But in his bid to obtain a permit, Johnson worked with Stefan Pryor - then the city's incoming director of economic and housing developmnt - who asked for something in return for helping with the paperwork. "He said to me, 'Newark used to be a different town. Just do me a favor - invest in Newark, and do it the right way," Johnson recalled.
Johnson, CEO of Hollister Construction Services, took Pryor's advice and got the company involved in an after school program teaching business skills to city teenagers. Since then, he said, the eighteen year-old company has continued its commitment to the city, with Hollister now overseeing several of the most visible redevelopment projects launched under Pryor and Mayor Cory Booker. . .