Jersey City developer seeking 30-year tax abatement in Journal Square area


A Jersey City developer is seeking a 30-year tax abatement on a Newkirk Street property, which falls in the city’s Journal Square Redevelopment Zone, and is willing to pay the city a minimum of $22,913 for additional costs associated with the project. 


” … This is for Newkirk [Street], this was a 30-year tax abatement,” said Council President Rolando Lavarro at last night’s Jersey City Council caucus meeting, when trying to get the rest of the council up to speed.

The item may appear on the evening’s council agenda for a first reading, pending approval from the board.

“They’re requesting to add it as a late item, and I said ‘I’ll put it to the council.’ … The last time it was introduced was a 14 percent service charge, annual service charge, and there didn’t seem to be a meeting of the minds on that.”

Lavarro also explained that the city’s law department and tax assessor have been working to make the deal more beneficial to Jersey City, as well as that the project is eligible for a 30-year tax abatement since it falls within the Journal Square Redevelopment Zone.

“The city’s estimates of its costs were 22-9-13 [$22,913] and that is established as a minimum payment under any circumstances, that we’ll pay that amount at a minimum,” said Donald M. Pepe, a partner at high-powered law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck – who is representing developer V. Gupta and Co. on this project.

After Ward D Councilman Michael Yun said it was unrealistic to expect the council to vote on a major project like this on short notice, city attorney Diane Jeffrey provided further clarity on the matter.

“This has gone through a couple of iterations because, as Don said, the cost-benefit analysis does show a 20 percent service charge, a slight loss to the city.”

“So, what we did to try and compensate for that was raise the service charge to 14 percent, and then we came back to discuss it again and put it at a gradual increase over time, so the city would make up the loss later in term,” she explained.

“… So we went back in and what we decided is that the entity pays either the greater of the minimal annual service charge so the city can be guaranteed it won’t collect less than a certain amount.”

Raj “Roger” Gupta also briefly addressed the council on his potential building, which would be located at 60-62 Newkirk Street.

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  1. Perhaps Jersey City needs to be sued (again) by a coalition of Hudson County Municipalities to address the fact that the County gets pennies on the dollar in tax revenue as a result of this abatement. In effect, non property tax abated municipalities in Hudson County subsidize the Jersey Citys and the West New Yorks. (Google “All that Glitters isn’t Gold…”) Which intrepid and unbought Hudson County Mayor will step up to the plate this time?