The Jersey City Council unanimously approved a 30-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for the Bayfront project that boasts 35 percent affordable housing at last night’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“As promised when I became Mayor, we moved away from decades-old practices of harmful over reliance on tax abatements and still achieved unprecedented progress, leading Jersey City through one of the greatest renaissances this City has ever seen,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“Bayfront serves as a model for smart growth and expanding affordability for the region and is a prime example of appropriately utilizing tax abatements to meet a community’s needs. Additionally, we are putting forth a resolution to allocate a portion of the tax revenues to help our public schools.”
The transformative Bayfront project along the Hackensack River is vital to a stronger economic future, attracting much-needed interest and investment to the south and west areas of Jersey City.
“PILOTs are not granted just to pay less tax, but rather to pay a tax that the builder can predict in order to get the financing they need to achieve the City’s requirements, in this case 35% affordable housing,” added Housing, Economic Development, and Commerce Director Annisia Cialone.
“Jersey City is setting the bar at new heights in terms of responsible development that puts the community’s needs first.”
While tax abatements were commonplace during Fulop’s first term, with the 70th one granted in 2017 marked by a mock celebration, they were largely phased out during his second term, and have been very rare in his third term.
“We support the abatement on this project so that affordable housing can be built. We do not support abatements anywhere in Jersey City for any reason other than to provide a minimum of 35% affordable housing at 60% of AMI,” said Diane Maxon, of the New Jersey Together Housing Team.
“Jersey City Together, through our predecessor organization, Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), has been directly involved with the Bayfront Project for over 30 years. It was ICO’s efforts that brought about the cleanup of the property so that housing could be built there.”
The city acquired the 100-acre Bayfront property from the Honeywell Corporation in 2018 to increase on-site affordable housing requirements from 5 percent, as was previously stipulated in the redevelopment plan, to a new goal of 35 percent, with the City controlling the property.
Jersey City Together was instrumental in making sure that the 35 percent was mandated for the project.
Following a rigorous, multi-year-long process, the JCRA and Bayfront Advisory Board carefully selected Bayfront Development Partners as the first redeveloper, who met the City’s stringent affordability goals and other community-driven requirements to expand housing opportunities for low-income households.
The first building, Bayfront Promenade, will include six stories, with 35% designated for households earning between 50% and 60% of the area median income (AMI).
“This level of affordability is unheard of, especially in the private sector. This project is an example of environmental justice and how a municipality can bring about change and promote progress in partnership with affordable housing advocates, community activists, and residents,” JCRA Executive Director Diana Jeffrey.