Christmas comes early as the big, jolly former NBA baller, Shaquille O’Neal, plays Santa Claus to his city.  The celebrated athlete has gifted his hometown of Newark with an early holiday gift, opening of an $80 million luxury apartment building in the city’s historic downtown area.

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O’Neal recently opened the “Shaq Tower,” a property that he has developed along with Boraie Development, with much fanfare. According to, the building is adjacent to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, has 22 stories and is officially called 50 Rector Park. Reports also state that the views are breathtaking.

“It’s going to go down as the most historic building in Newark,” O’Neal previously told NJ Advance Media.

“Second of all, it’s going to continue to beautify our city.”

The facility has 168 units and includes a gym, rooftop cabanas for residents to hang out and grill. It is already about 60% leased, developer Wasseem Boraie said.

“It’s been a long journey and it’s one of those things that if you really aren’t committed you never would have done what we did,” Boraie told NJ Advance Media.

“You gotta believe in your product, in your city, and in your public partners and the private partners that are there with you. Development is not a sole practitioner sport, it’s absolutely a team sport.”

And Shaq’s not done, he’s also planning to collaborate with Boraie to build a new $150 million, 350-unit apartment complex as well. That 35-story building to be located on 777 McCarter Highway has been jokingly named the “House that Shaq Built,” O’Neal said.

Renting a unit at Shaq’s 50 Rector Park facility is not for the faint of heart.

A studio can be rented for anywhere from $1,800 to $1,950 for a one-bedroom and upwards of $2,700 for a two-bedroom.

Parking will also run $150 a month for the 120-car garage.

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While living in his luxury building won’t come cheap, O’Neal really does have a big heart and helps out when people need it most.

Last month O’Neal, a prolific franchise owner, donated a home to an Atlanta woman whose 12-year-old son was left paralyzed from the chest down after he was shot at a school football game.

According to WXIA-TV, Isaiah Payton’s family was previously living in a one-bedroom apartment that wasn’t accessible for people with disabilities. Thanks to the NBA Hall of Famer, they now have a wheelchair accessible home in a good neighborhood. Not only that, but Shaq also agreed to furnish the home and pay its rent for the next 12 months.