Jersey City Council likely to vote on $110M Downtown project with 20% affordable housing next month

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The Jersey City Council is likely to consider a $110 million, 25-story, Downtown high-rise project with about 20 percent of their units allocated to affordable housing at next month’s meeting.

Photos courtesy of Minervini Vandermark Melia Kelly Architecture & design.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Hoboken-based developers Pegasus Partners purchased the property at 619 Marin Boulevard for around $7 million back in 2014, according to public records, and received initial approval from the city council back on June 26th.

The council okayed the first reading of the ordinance by a vote of 7-1, with Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera absent and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun voting no.

Since then, the Jersey City Planning Board voted unanimously (8-0) on July 23rd that the development went against the city’s Master Plan, meaning that they voted against the amendments introduced by the council the month prior.

However, the council still has the ability to approve the project with amendments when they vote on it.

The proposed plan currently calls for 25 stories, 362 market-rate units, 90 affordable units, 226 parking spaces and retail space on the ground floor, according to architectural plans obtained by HCV.

The project also has currently not asked the city for any sort of tax break or payment in lieu of taxes agreement and is estimated to cost the developer about $110 million, according to Pegasus Managing Partner Hany Ahmed.

Council President Rolando Lavarro confirmed that the plan is currently for the council to vote on this project at their September 11th meeting and that he is inclined to support any development that includes 20 percent affordable housing.

“I can say unequivocally that my support for 20% onsite affordable housing remains steadfast. There is an affordable housing crisis in Jersey City that requires the City’s urgent action,” Lavarro said in an email.

“We need to prioritize the basic necessity of having a roof over your head. Some necessities are more necessary than others.”

Additionally, the endeavor falls within the Jersey Avenue Light Rail Redevelopment Plan.

“The Jersey Ave Light Rail Redevelopment Zone has been blighted for roughly the last 40 years and we’d love to partner with the city and be a part of revitalizing that neighborhood,” Ahmed told HCV over the phone.

Back on February 27th, the council recommended that the planning board amend the master plan with goals of “maximizing affordable housing, improving access to public transit and allowing for the construction of new public school space in those parts of the Redevelopment Plan Area not currently occupied by the Holland Gardens Housing Project.”

At this same meeting, the council approved a new plan for the the St. Lucy’s homeless shelter, which also falls within this particular redevelopment zone.

This investment, which includes a new $15 million homeless shelter, also comes with a 430-unit residential building, based on their February 27th meeting.

Furthermore, a report released by the Jersey City Housing Authority last month unveiled a plan for an 11-story plus, over 500-unit, high-rise building to replace the Holland Gardens public housing complex.

Ward E Councilman James Solomon, who represents the city’s Downtown district, said he is “reviewing the project details in consultation with community leaders” ahead of next month’s council meeting.

However, city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said the developer is “dangling some affordable units as bait” for the council before the project has been fully vetted by the planning board, which is why the mayor opposes this current version of the development.

“This proposal as it stands today was written by a developer handed off to the council without any oversight from Planning. The developer dangles some affordable units as bait, while the fundamental goal of the proposal was to dramatically increase the density at a higher rate than almost any project in the City,” she said.

“This was a plan by a developer to enrich himself, and it’s unfortunate the council even entertained it. The Mayor is opposed to business this way, and he supports the Planning Board.”

According to the the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission’s (NJ ELEC) website, no one affiliated with Pegasus Partners has made any contributions to anyone in Jersey City seeking re-election in 2021.

 

Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione. 

25 COMMENTS

  1. Suddenly Steve cares about density?

    This developer is offering TWICE what Steve’s Pal Sandy Weiss and The Barrys gave… Boy Oh Boy… Hope #Tommy Talks
    #DixonFulop
    #StevesFavorites
    #ChosenDevelopers

  2. Councilmen Ramos and DeFusco ought to be raising their voices loudly against these massive projects on Hoboken’s border. Instead, their online shill writes posts like the above.

    I would say “things that make you go hmmmm” but there’s no mystery here about where the councilmen and their not so mysterious shill stand and why.

    • Where were you when Ravi, the guy that wanted a boutique hotel during his mayoral campain, pushed the massive Hilton Hotel development on our waterfront?

        • Blah Blah Birch et al trying to deflect from any criticism of DeFusco makes him look even more suspect.

          The real voters in Hoboken’s First Ward already know DeFusco cares only about his big money donors from outside of Hoboken that is why they will vote him out of office before he can do more damage to them.

    • Hey Sham, why did Dawn Zimmer endorse Fields 16 Story Hotel on the Hoboken Border?
      That 16 story tower is okay?
      Who git paid , who got hired?

    • The irony of reading Stan attacking Hoboken Council members to defend Fulop and The SelectDevelopers club of JC. Where was his outrage over 700 Jackson or Stevens Towers or the new Muni garage land swap for his Brothers Barry!

        • Oh J there you go again with the lies! Ramos and DeFusco didn’t hire a developers kid- a developer whose family was granted 16 stories at Marin and Observer.
          The Caulfield’s/ Fields/ Katerra got a windfall from Zimmer a, Bhalla and the SW planning committee who gave spot density/zoning to the owners of the ‘Fields” property- a huge 17 story apartment hotel tower while reducing nearby height for everyone else. Four stories for everyone but city hall and planning board cronies pals gut 16 stories. Can’t erase the facts.

          • Elect reports prove Defusco and Ramos have taken large amounts of money fro Academy. Academy wants to build a huge development in the SW that will need equally huge variances. Have to wonder what they got for their money.

            Cronies ?
            An inconvenient fact Frank “Pupie” Raia who was recently convicted of multiple counts of voter fraud gave DeFusco $10K and he and his money handler were an integral part of his recent failed mayoral campaign. DeFusco’s public relations firm after the conviction went public, apparently fought flat footed quickly put out a press release trying to distance himself from Raia. Made a big show of giving away the money he took to charity and hoping no one would notice gave some of it to an organization DeFusco controls.

  3. First Ward Councilman DeFusco used his Council position to advocate in front of the Jersey City Zoning Board for a 13 story tall 100% residential building on a narrow bit of Jerseys City land on what is now part of the Hoboken Business Center on Harrison Street. Fourth Ward Ramos remained absolutely silent even when asked to intervene on the behalf of his Ward.

    It is highly doubtful that either DeFusco or Ramos will do anything that might not benefit themselves, their political allies in Jersey City or the generous developer and real estate interests.

    Will Hoboken can remove one or both of them in November

    Next time you are sitting in the gridlock traffic in SW Hoboken think of how Councilman DeFusco and Ramos are working hard to make it even worse.

    • Did you know Dawn Zimmer and her favorite ex planning board member support a tower on Observer and Marin?
      It was approved by the PB while Zimmer was Mayor….

      • Do you support DeFusco’s actions advocating against the best interests of Hoboken and for the 13 story tall, 100% lot coverage residential on Harrison Street and Observer Observer Highway ? How about Ramos’s silence ?

        • Do you support the 16 story hotel /condo tower in the Zimmer SW redevelopment plan? 16 whopping floors as tall as the SkyClub on Observer and Marin. And how about those hirings that happened afterward?
          I’m sure if they tried to build a 16 story tower on 1st and Jackson you wouldn’t be too happy Mr Southwest Whiner.

          You cant hide facts behind your Rainman like mantras about DeFusco.
          Why not just ask him out already?

        • As expected no answer when asked if you support First Ward Councilman DeFusco going to the Jersey City Zoning Board to advocate for the 13 story, 100% lot coverage, residential building on the corner of Harrison and Observer Highway.

          No answer tanslates to a YES.

          Let us also not forget or forgive Fourth Ward Councilman failure to speak up and protect the best interests of residents of his Ward.

    • It’s a shame Zimmer groupies fought against a 4th ward pool because they didn’t want certain kids near their own private pool…

  4. So there’s the proof by Mayors Linda Lou that they really don’t like any affordable housing in any town.
    Bad enough they didn’t see a single new unit come online during their 8 years as mayors, but to now stick their noses into a neighboring city is further proof the Linda Lou’s are probably anti poor and elitist.
    To trash a development offering more than twice the percentage and number of affordable units at Zimmer’s legacy project 770 Jackson St Hoboken and attempt to press their thumbs on the scale against a development proposal that is about 1/8th of a mile from Hoboken is pretty shady behavior for two ex mayors. Who are they trying to harm and who are they trying to help?
    This developer is offering 90 affordable out of 362 units with no abatement, while Mayor Linda Lou’s plan in their city places over 400 units with only 10% affordable topped off by one of the most generous PILOT’s Hoboken has ever given away all under the veil of a Plaza that was in their original Monrow Arts zone plan from the 90’s

    • 700 Monroe is and has been recognized as a positive transformative change for Hoboken’s West Side. Selectively omitting a public gymnasium, a block long flood resiliency park, playgrounds, providing underground parking to replace surface parking, affordable housing units, a new retail corridor along that plaza you mentioned and doing so within the same allowed density zoning permitted shows you are not interested in the truth.

      I highly doubt that you will allow the truth to get in the way of incessantly spewing your personal animosity you post but perhaps you try to contain it for the sake of your own mental health.

      • Writing for the developer now?
        It’s not about hate it’s about the fact that Zimmer gave 17 stories to the corner of Observer and Marin with none of the give backs you mention.

        You might want to re-read the article. This is about Jersey City, and it was Linda and Swamp who brought Hoboken into the discussion
        Addressing Zimmer’s spot zoning for a pal ‘s 17 story hotel and apt tower is the issue.

        • No, I am just telling the truth about the 700 Jackson Street something you appear incapable or unwilling to do.

          Based on your own comments the the give back for the building on Marin you injected into the discussion, would have been increasing the height of one building while decreasing the height and density of the others in the proposal. That fact negates your entire argument. Your predilection for half truths to try to press your argument undermines your credibility.

  5. Reading these posts defending the developer’s plan it looks like it they may be from a real estate agent was either promised a or hoping to get the listing.

    • The massive poorly planned JC developments on Hoboken’s border are bad for JC, but much more importantly for Hoboken’s residents and elected officials, they are even worse for Hoboken which will pay the infrastructure price (traffic etc.) without the tax revenues.

      Nobody who cares about Hoboken’s best interests could possibly support these projects. Yet our mysterious anonymous shill known as “not the self identified founder of the reform movement who everyone thinks I am” has gone ballistic.

      Obviously for him self interest trump’s the public interest, which is OK as long as he doesn’t speak for the elected officials (Ramos and DeFusco) for whom he often shills. Sadly however, their own records make clear that he does.

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