NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Audible today opened the doors to the newest facility on its growing campus, the Innovation Cathedral, and celebrated the new home for 400 of its employees and the next chapter in Newark’s renaissance. Audible founder and CEO Don Katz was joined by elected officials, business leaders, Audible employees and Newark community members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the renovation of the Cathedral into a state-of-the-art historic landmark.
Audible’s Innovation Cathedral is a cornerstone of Newark’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem – drawing talent, Newark residents and visitors to a revitalized district. It brings to bear Audible’s vision of supporting students, interns, and entrepreneurs and growing a tech ecosystem that will transform the entire Newark community.
“The Innovation Cathedral is a proud landmark for Newark and a powerful symbol of Audible’s commitment to the city for more than a decade,” said Audible founder and CEO Don Katz. “We have defined ourselves by the strategic pursuit of what a successful company can mean in ways that transcend what it does—and today is proof that our efforts are yielding positive outcomes for business and invention culture, for the many talented people who want to work with us, and for the comeback of this great American city. Doing the right thing is a responsibility all corporations must take seriously – and that companies anchored in cities like Newark have an obligation to lead.”
“Since taking office, I have been adamant that attracting and supporting high-growth innovation companies is the key to New Jersey’s future economic growth and job creation,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “Don Katz, Audible, and Newark Venture Partners have been a model and a partner in advancing new tech-focused economic policies with me, here in Newark, in Trenton, and even on my trade mission to Berlin. Audible’s story of job creation, of economic, community, and social impact in Newark, and its investment in restoring Newark’s rich history of innovation is a testament to our strategy and a symbol of New Jersey’s promising future.”
“Audible’s restoration of this historic landmark into a center of innovation and tech job creation – including jobs for Newarkers – is one powerful example of the over $4 billion in economic development occurring across the City today, but it is so much more,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “It is a symbol of preserving Newark’s history as we embrace our future, and emblematic of a company with a moral compass driving inclusive growth, elevating our students with educational tools and internships, and supporting the local economy by living local and buying local.”
For decades, the Cathedral was home to the Second Presbyterian Church, a congregation founded in 1811 that would grow to more than 10,000 members by the middle of the 20th century. Audible rehabilitated the 80,000 square-foot church, built in 1933, while preserving many of its historic elements – including its distinctive stained-glass windows, organ pipes and bowling alley. In addition to offices, the reimagined space includes game areas, an auditorium, a refurbished bowling alley, an exhibit space, work cafes and lounges.
Since moving its headquarters to Newark in 2007, Audible has grown from a company with 100 full-time employees to more than 1,650, becoming the city’s fastest-growing private employer.
The company has made it its mission to catalyze Newark’s turnaround, offering jobs and training programs to Newark residents – including some who were formerly homeless – as well as incentives like housing subsidies for employees who choose to move to the city from elsewhere.
In 2015, Katz founded Newark Venture Partners, a $45 million venture capital fund and accelerator that has invested in 60 early-stage companies to plant roots in Newark. Hundreds of Audible employees are on call to mentor these startups, also located in Audible’s One Washington Park headquarters.
Audible also provides paid internships and college scholarships to Newark students.
“Moving Audible to Newark was one of the best decisions this company made,” said Katz. “In addition to our growth, the economic impact and job creation catalyzed by Audible and Newark Venture Partners is a call to arms for other companies who are joining us and who should join us here to thrive as we have. Continuing to invest in Newark is as important as anything else we do.”