AGT Contestant Alonzo "Turf" Jones & Shah Deen of the Robert Treat Hotel
July 6, 2012
-- It has become harder to find an empty table or hotel room in Newark's Central Business District these days, according to Miles Berger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Berger Organization. With "America's Got Talent" filming underway at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the added population and spotlight on New Jersey's largest city definitely is good for business.
The Berger Organization is among the many companies that are benefitting. America's Got Talent staff and contestants currently have 50 rooms booked at Berger's Best Western Robert Treat Hotel. Located at 50 Park Place, the 176-room hotel is located next door to NJPAC. "Every contestant will stay with us through this season, so those bookings likely will grow," said Shah Deen, the hotel's general manager. "Add to that their family members and fans of the show, and our property truly is enjoying a new level of energy. Our Maize restaurant is busier, too, due to our proximity to the filming site."
Deen noted that the Robert Treat Hotel has known it would play a central role in housing America's Got Talent since March and had plenty of time to gear up for the influx. "The pace here certainly is faster, but the vibe is really positive," he said. "We have a guest lounge that serves breakfast, and the AGT people already are becoming regulars. They will be here for some time, and it is nice to see the familiarity already forming between these guests and our staff members."
America's Got Talent also leased the former New Jersey Network studio at Berger's Robert Treat Center, a 100,000-square-
foot office property that sits adjacent to the hotel. The 2,500-square-
foot space was NJN's home for 20 years, prior to its operations being outsourced by the State of New Jersey. "AGT has two sets in place there for interviews with the judges and contestants,"
Berger noted. "It was a great match - they needed a high-quality studio, and we had one available."
Beyond the revenue-generating advantages of having one of the nation's most popular reality television talent shows in residence, America's Got Talent is proving to be a real boost for Newark. "Acts are rehearsing outside on the street, which adds ambiance to the area around NJPAC," Berger said. "There is a general feeling of excitement in the neighborhood."
The Berger Organization, itself, is based in Newark and has been involved in the city for nearly four decades. Today more than half of its 1 million-square-
foot portfolio is located on Park Place and Broad Street. "Newark benefits from both its central east coast corridor location as well as its transit infrastructure, which has paved the way for continued rebound in the city's office market and business climate in general," Berger said.
"In recent years, our world-class venues like NJPAC and Prudential Center, the Newark Museum, parks, universities and fine dining have worked toward making Newark a true destination,"
he continued. "This is a city on the rise, and the significance of AGT choosing to locate here is huge. We look forward to a successful season for the show and for the city."