Bayonne Council President and mayoral challenger Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski is aiming to renegotiate a 1,250-unit project heading to the planning board next month, though Mayor Jimmy Davis’ campaign is calling the plan “insane.”
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Today I’m formally announcing my intent to introduce the necessary city council resolutions and ordinances to reopen negotiations with Bayonne Partners Urban Renewal for the redevelopment of a portion of the Military Ocean Terminal,” Ashe-Nadrowski said in a statement.
“The deal that was struck in 2015 makes no sense in 2022. After seven years of stagnation, this developer wants to complete the transaction and buy city property for $60 millions less than what it’s worth. Worse yet, Mayor Davis is advocating for it. We can’t allow that to happen. That $60 million could help stabilize taxes, reinvest in our businesses, fix our streets, and even go toward building new schools – the possibilities are endless. ”
Her intent for the April 20th city council meeting, the last one before the non-partisan May 10th municipal elections, is not much of a surprise after Thursday, where she brought up that the $35 million figure is vastly undervalued by today’s standards.
Bayonne Partners Urban Renewal, a subsidiary of Boraie Development, has already had their “Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor” project get a redevelopment plan and payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement approved.
If they receive planning board approval on April 12th, it is theoretically possible for them to get shovels in the ground for the mixed-use project – which would also have retail, two parking structures, and a park – prior to the council meeting the following week.
While a project of this size would typically attract some attention, it has faced extra scrutiny after it was revealed that developer Wasseem Boraie donated $25,000 to a now defunct super PAC founded by ex-state Senator Ray Lesniak to help Davis get reelected.
Davis campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski, who said last week that “sabotaging” the plan would open taxpayers up to litigation, reiterated today that reopening negotiations would not have the desired effect on an “iron clad contract.”
“Sharon Nadrowski’s insane plan to break an ironclad contract that she herself supported and her campaign manager Joe DeMarco personally negotiated for the city would be one of the most irresponsible, nonsensical actions Bayonne could ever take,” he began.
“If Nadrowski succeeds, the developer would sue, Bayonne taxpayers would be forced to pay millions of dollars in legal fees and the city would lose in court, plain and simple. This would set an incredibly dangerous precedent that could open the city up to significant legal liability in other development projects, potentially costing taxpayers millions … Nadrowski would be a taxpayer nightmare who would cost every Bayonne resident thousands of dollars in higher taxes to pay for her mistakes, at a time when residents can least afford that kind of mismanagement with rising gas prices and inflation.”
He also said that Ashe-Nadrowski has been aided by two super PACs in this race, the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund and the Committee to Advance New Jersey, and neither has disclosed their donors this far.
The council president indicated that her proposal is anything but sabotage and is about standing up for residents/taxpayers.
“Asking for Bayonne’s fair share of the land value is about standing up for residents and taxpayers. They don’t deserve to be short-changed by a big developer, and they certainly don’t deserve the Davis Administration’s City Hall that refuses to fight for them.”