Iconic Robert Treat Hotel Celebrates 100 Years in Newark
As a part of our "Newark at a Crossroads" series, taped at NJIT, Steve Adubato talks with Miles Berger about the Robert Treat Hotel's 100th Anniversary and the importance of the iconic hotel to Newark, NJ.
"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. We're at NJIT at the Jim Wise Theatre. We are pleased to welcome a giant in the city of Newark. The city would not be what it is as we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the city without Miles Berger, chairman and chief operating officer of the Berger Organization. The Robert Treat Hotel, you are the man there, and the Robert Treat Hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary? That's correct. By the way, tell everyone who Robert Treat was and why he matters. Robert Treat was the founder of Newark. In 1666, he landed on the Passaic not far from where the hotel is today. And the Robert Treat Hotel, I mean, we taped for so many years there, the old New Jersey Network studio is there are Miles is, you and your team have kept things together for so long, so many renovations... a lot of renovations going on there, right? Yeah, constantly. Talk about it. Well, when I took over the hotel in the early 80's, the original hotel built in 1916 had been partially converted into an office building, by a firm called Engineers Incorporated. Right. And they had their offices there, and one of the ballrooms was their drafting room with 100 drafting tables where they had architects and engineers drawing. And over the years we renovated that building completely into a fully... a full office building that's called the Rovert Treat Center, so that's the original 1916 hotel. In 1966, a new hotel was added to it, 175 rooms. And those are the rooms that we operate today as the hotel. Miles, as we've talked over the years, we've had so many offline conversations as well, the '67 riots, rebellion, whatever one chooses to call it, what impact did it have on you and your view of what downtown Newark could be? And the future of this hotel? Right. Well, I came here in '76. Right. So I'm here 40 years, so the riots occurred before I got here. But they had a significant effect on the downtown area, and on the hotel industry in Newark. What we saw happen after the riots is al the hotels that were built for the next 35 years were built only at the airport. That changed... Not downtown? Not downtown. Out there? At the airport? Out at the airport. And you have roughly 25 hotels at the airport today, of various sizes. Right. And kinds. It was difficult in the 80's and early 90's to get traveling guests to stay within the city. That whole perception, and that whole problem, has changed over the past decade. What do you think had changed it? The attitude, and the reality of the city of Newark. Describe it. Well, Newark has improved dramatically over the past decade, and longer..."