Bayonne council again delays vote on 1888 Studios, appoints 11 hospital authority members


The Bayonne Council again delayed the 1888 movie studios project at a special council meeting design for its passage, also signing off on 11 appointees to the municipal hospital authority.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Council President Gary La Pelusa noted the project was discussed at length during a meeting last month.

“Unfortunately, there was an inconsistency in our notice. It was better for all parties involved. I think this is better we get this done right rather than right now,” he said.

Gail Godesky, who has been opposed to the council approving the $65 million bond for the project, which is estimated to cost about $925 million overall, said she thought La Pelusa made the right call.

She also explained why she didn’t think the bond made sense.

“I can’t let it go: If I was getting a construction loan for a 10-story building … and all of a sudden I changed it … that immediately triggers a question regarding the amount of the loan. It’s totally different. They were major changes. Why do they need our $65 million?,” she questioned she added.

“This is unfair to the taxpayers of the city of Bayonne. We are a municipality, not a lending facility. Permits were already issued. They are doing construction Was all this a charade? Were they already told they got the PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes?) Vote no at the next meeting. A French financier can get the money they need.”

Votes to carry the ordinances and resolutions related to the movie studio, which included a 30-year PILOT, were carried unanimously (5-0) to their next meeting on March 15th.

“We are voting on a couple items that are time sensitive today,” La Pelusa noted about before voting on the municipal hospital authority appointees.

“Didn’t we make this board up over a year ago? And now all of a sudden we’re filling in the members? Can someone tell me the reason behind this?” Godesky asked.

“I believe in 2019 we talked about creating a board. The mayor decided, I don’t know what his reasoning is. He decided to go ahead and name them.”

They were approved unanimously (5-0) without any further discussion.

The members named, which HCV highlighted on Tuesday, are as follows:

Assemblyman William Sampson (D-31) – Class I Member, Mayor Jimmy Davis’ appointeeDr. Mohammed Zubair – Class II Member
Dr. Shahnaz Akhtar – Class II Member
Vincent Lombardo – Class III Member
Irene Pyke – Class III Member
Kenneth Poesl – Class III Member
Patricia Kraszyk – Class III Member
Meriam Bendaoud – Class III Member
Robert Doria – Class III – Member
Dr. Alfredo Rabines – Class IV (Non-voting member)
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner appointee – Class IV (Non-voting member, not named yet)

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  1. They are not building condos they’re building rental apartments. For the next 20 or 30 years it will deplete the tax base for the city. Whereas, condos would increase the tax base. There is a lot of legal issues with this project. Most people, our not against the project it is how it was being handled. Council President LaPelusa did the right thing at the special meeting primarily because there is ordinances and the resolution would be a notice of violation. They were carried at the regular meeting of February 15 and notice was given that they would be up for second reading at the regular meeting of March 15, 2023. They would be in notice violation which is a legal issue. Further why does a French financier need or guarantee of $65 million for an almost $1 billion project. Can you get a municipal rate on your mortgage? Further, the project was drastically changed in many buildings were eliminated, therefore the price should be less to make the belt. But most important it does not pass the “BUT FOR TEST”. We’re becoming known as the pilot city of the country. With the massive number of pilots this administration has handed out this test should be utilized consistently. The butt for test is used to ensure that the new development or other activity that renders a property eligible for a tax abatement would not have occurred but for the tax break. This standard is intended to ensure that the benefit is a plied only when necessary to stimulate needed development and not in cases where investment would have taken place anyway. The fact that development has already started and permits are pulled prior to the approval it does not pass this test. Unless, it was a deal that was done possibly behind closed doors. The project needs to be rethought so that it will benefit The entire city and the taxpayers. As noted previously the renderings have changed drastically. We need to do this the right way and do right by the people of the city. There are other ways to finance this project versus a city guarantee and the pilot which should not be given. The financial agreement should also be voted down since once again construction has alreadyStarted and it failed the BUT FOR TEST. Let the developers look for investors just like Oceanport in Newark dead. I am sure there are plenty out there. We’re giving too much to the developers and nothing to our current residence and taxpayers, those that plan on staying here and living here, the true stakeholders. The process is broken and needs to follow the high standards set forth and not behind closed doors
    Yes anonymous there will be jobs because the project already started but again no condos are being built they are rental properties not ownership properties being built.