The Jersey City Planning Board approved plans for a Target to replace the closed Kmart in Stadium Plaza on Route 440 at last night’s meeting.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
The development would be located in the Waterfront Planned Development Zone, which includes the shopping complex.
“We’re very excited to be here today. It (Target) will be replacing the formal Kmart. It is part of the Stadium Plaza shopping mall,” attorney Thomas Leane explained.
He said it would improve it and “be a great resource for the West Side,” noting that almost an acre of property would be reserved for 515 parking spaces.
“Obviously, this is a state road, so there will be a lot of traffic,” Leane added
Civil Engineer Matt Kunsman explained the project is on 19 acres by Newark Bay, which makes it subject to flooding, and that it would be approximately 120,000 square feet total.
He further stated that they wanted a variance to include a 6,400-square foot restaurant in the front, though the final design for the food establishment would be submitted at a different time.
Kunsman also noted they wanted a variance for storefront windows to have less than the requirement.
“As part of branding, we are proposing signage which requires variances,” he stated.
He continued that they wanted to change the existing parking spots alignment, making it easier to get into a spot regardless of the angle it’s approached. In addition, there will be spots for online pick-ups exclusively, along with parking spots for electric vehicles.
Kunsman was also forthcoming that they would need a variance due to the size of the parking lot.
“Route 440 isn’t a street many people are walking on. It’s kind of a destination. It makes sense to have the parking,” he said, also pointing out that there would be 27 bike rack spaces included.
Kunsman noted they have a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) permit for stormwater issues and that their design includes a number of trees and bushes.
“The site in existing conditions … would not comply with this requirement,” he explained.
“The changeover from angled parking to head in back out … do you have any idea what the number of spots are?” Board Chair Christopher Langston asked, to which Kunsman said they’re gaining 14 parking spaces.
Langston indicated that he thought angled parking would create more parking spaces before noting that there are pedestrian walkways throughout the lot.
“There’s no pedestrian access in the site currently?” Langston asked.
“That’s correct,” Kunsman said.
“My only concern is … pedestrian access. Now you have cars coming from either direction. I’m happy there’s dedicated pedestrian access. I just hope people use it,” Langston said.
“We see this as an opportunity to breathe new life into a building,” Architect Jeffrey Butcher explained, pointing out that their design included the traditional Target logo, which is larger than allowed and required their approval.
“This project would be a wonderful addition to the urban design of Jersey City.”
Langston joked he was familiar with Target interiors and did not need to see interior plans.
Planner Justin Auciello noted they wanted relief from the variances and said they were hardships and the benefits were more than the detriments.
“It’s going to be more vibrant. It’s a better design alternative … It’s a better design alternative than what’s currently on the spot today,” he argued.
“All these variances will advance the purpose of the MLUP (Master Land Use Plan). This application will have a substantial benefit to the community. There will be many improvements in the quality of the site. This is a use that is going to be substantially beneficial to the community. This a permitted use in the zone.”
He noted the plan complements efforts to redevelop the area.
“Planning staff agrees with the professional planner. I do know the councilwoman is excited for this new development. The community has had favorable reviews of the incorporation of Target in their neighborhood. Planning staff recommends approval,” Planner Cameron Black stated.
“I want to give thanks to this group for bringing an additional Target to the west side of Jersey City. Pardon the pun, I think you hit the target,” Commissioner Steve Lipski joked.
“I love Target. I say aye,” Commissioner David Cruz said.
“We’re excited to have a Target at this end of Jersey City and a variety of different stores coming to stadium plaza,” added Commissioner Vidya Gangadin
Langston said this was a good addition to Route 440 before voting aye, allowing the application to pass unanimously (5-0).