Bayonne Planning Board unanimously approves new UPS distribution center project

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As expected, the Bayonne Planning Board unanimously approved (8-0) a plan to construct a UPS distribution center at the Peninsula City’s former Military Ocean Terminal. 

A rendering of the Bayonne UPS plan. Photo courtesy of the Bayonne Planning Board.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Lincoln Equities Group (LEG) wants to construct a facility consisting of two warehouses, support buildings, and parking on the site’s 161.49 acres. It would occupy most of the Maritime District outlined in the Bayonne Redevelopment Plan.

Lisa John-Basta, the lawyer representing the Lincoln Equities Group, noted the Bayonne Redevelopment Plan permits this project and also explained that they first received approval for development in 2019 and are now seeking modifications to the plan.

“We’re essentially changing two major aspects previously approved,” John-Basta said.

She explained the initial plan consisted of four separate buildings, while they now seek to build two, along with adding 15 acres of land to the site.

The project’s civil engineer, Bryan Waisnor, explained that three existing buildings on the current lot will be taken down, allowing their first structure to occupy 332,640 square feet and the other to be much larger – taking up 878,126 square feet.

Along with the warehouses, there will be smaller, ancillary buildings such as guardhouses, a car wash facility, a fueling station, and a light repair building for the maintenance of the UPS fleet of trucks and vans.

There will be also be ample space for trucks and vans to pull up to load and unload, with LEG’s plan including plenty of parking options.

Additionally, the tenant is very interested in using the wharf to move trucks across the bay to New York City, which would reduce traffic going into the city via tunnels and bridges.

“The logistics, as you can imagine, are very complex. So they are studying and talking to folks about talking to it,” Waisnor noted.

Furthermore, Lincoln Equities Group wants to create a 16t foot high berm to hinder the noise emitted from the busy site, while 1,400 trees will go around the perimeter of the property.

The plan was also referred to as “a very secure facility,” with an eight-foot-high chain-link fence around the perimeter due to “the nature of their business,” Waisnor said.

“What kind of business has to be that secure?” Commissioner Ramon Veloz asked.

Waisnor explained that many packages would be moving in and out of the building during the 24-hour operation, with shifts staggered to control traffic flow.

During the public portion, Thomas Hurley, of Carpenters Local 253, praised the labor jobs that would come out of this endeavor.

“This project would be huge in terms of giving members of my local opportunity to build. Unfortunately, many projects in Bayonne have utilized non-union labor in recent times. I implore the board to look into incentives,” Hurley said.

At this point, it was noted the planning board does not get involved in the financial incentives of a proposed project.

“This was a very comprehensive presentation. It was done very tastefully. It’s an excellent project for Bayonne,” Planning Board Chair Karen Fiermonte said prior to the vote.

She especially liked the wharf idea to create a “water highway.”

Commissioner Sharon Nadrowski, also the city council president, noted that many of the jobs would be teamster union members getting paid respectable salaries, as opposed to minimum wage positions.

“These are good jobs for Bayonne, UPS tries to be a good neighbor: it’s a win for Bayonne residents,” she said.

“It’s a win-win for Bayonne and UPS,” added Veloz.

The measure was approved 8-0, with Commissioner Dentaba Youssef absent.

The end result was anything but surprising, with Mayor Jimmy Davis, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and other dignitaries voicing their support for the project on Monday.