After a lengthy discussion with a tenant and the property owners of Ocean Towers, the Jersey City Council tabled an ordinance that would have given the developer a 20-year tax abatement after hearing about a multitude of maintenance issues.
Ocean Towers is a 99-unit affordable housing complex located at 425 Ocean Avenue.
The council seemed shocked after hearing building resident Joan Terrell exclaim that tenants have been complaining to the property owners for 15 years about issues such as no heat or hot water during the winter.
Nick Cangelosi of Michaels Development Company, the owner and developer of Ocean Towers, said that passing the ordinance would provide funds for rehabilitation repairs, like replacing all the window walls in the complex – which would cost $1.3 million in it of itself, with plans for nearly $3 million-worth of renovations in total.
The council initially seemed to be leaning towards rewording the ordinance so that the project would have more oversight, but that ship started to sail when Terrell told the board that Cangelosi couldn’t answer any questions about the window replacements during a meeting with tenants – reiterating that maintenance issues have been routinely ignored.
After several more speakers backed up Terrell’s stance on the issue, the discussion headed further south after Cangelosi admitted that Michaels Development Company has owned Ocean Towers for 47 years.
Ward D Councilman Michael Yun was incensed by the fact that general maintenance issues had been neglected in the building for so long.
Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman also wasn’t happy with what she heard either after about 45 minutes of discussion.
Furthermore, Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera and Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman both seemed flabbergasted that Michaels Development Company would ask for a long-term tax abatement given all the issues at hand.
When it was all said and done, the ordinance was tabled by a unanimous vote of 9-0.