Jersey City Council approves two, 30-year abatements for $400M NJCU plan

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Two 30-year tax abatements received approval from the Jersey City Council, providing two five-story, mixed-used spaces as part of a $400 million New Jersey City University (NJCU) West Campus Redevelopment Plan.

According to NJCU President Dr. Sue Henderson, the west campus project “will create over 1,900 construction jobs, over 1,000 permanent jobs in retail service and other categories.”

Henderson also explained that the “construction expenditures will generate over$500 million in economic activity and an estimated $205 million in labor.”

Both 30-year abatements will provide two five-story, mixed-use market rate rental spaces.

There will also be 163 dwelling units with 10,048 square feet of retail space on 23 University Place Blvd, that will come with 177 parking spaces.

This will be constructed by HC West Campus Urban Renewal I, LLC.

The second 30-year abatement is for 26 University Place Blvd., which would grant 167 dwelling units and 11,472 square feet for retail and commercial spaces. This will be construct by HC West Campus II Urban Renewal LLC.

“The generation of estimated $19 million in state local tax revenues during construction, once developed, the economic activities will be $141 million from business and retail tenants,” Henderson further pleaded.

Yvonne Balcer, a long time Jersey City resident, criticized the ordinance for not basing it on the upcoming tax reval.

“The annual charge or 20 percent of tax otherwise due, well is that the taxes due now or is it the taxes due after the reval?,” she questioned.

“Your making up figures that is based on really today’s figures and our numbers are 28 years old.”

Daniel Sicardi, another Jersey City resident, echoed Balcer’s sentiment.

“If the City of Jersey City is going to give anyone at all any abatement, the value of the property should be based on the new reval value.”

Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro reminded everyone about the benefits of this project included construction jobs, permanent jobs, and most importantly, the value of an educational institution in Jersey City.

“If you don’t think that education is a community benefit in today’s economy, the necessity of getting a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in today’s economy is critically important,” Lavarro explained.

Henderson added that they are currently pursuing this relationship with the city because Gov. Chris Christie (R) has cut the educational budget and she would like to avoid putting the financial burden “on the backs of our students.”

The council voted 8-0 to approve with abatements, with Ward F Councilwoman Dianne Coleman absent.