Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced the beginning phase of construction on a major real estate project, the Bayfront development, which officials say will include the largest portion of low- and moderate-income housing in the tri-state region.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
Bayfront, the 100-acre property on the city’s west side, will begin its first phase of construction after it is approved at the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency meeting next week.
The announcement, made collectively by the city, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), the Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce (HEDC), and the various developers on the project, marks a significant milestone in the decades-long tug-of-war over the property that was, for years, a major chemical plant.
“We made a $100 million bet on affordable housing and it looks like this will pay off huge both economically for current taxpayers and future residents,” Fulop said.
The site along the Hackensack river is a “centerpiece” of the city’s ‘West Side revitalization,’ the joint announcement says.
Earlier this year, NJ Transit announced the beginning of an extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Jersey City’s west side.
The 100-acre site had been severely contaminated for the past several decades. However, in 2008, Jersey City reached a deal with the land owner, Honeywell, to to clean up chromium contamination.
Then in 2018, the city council authorized the borrowing of $170 million in order to buy out Honeywell’s portion of the land — after chromium cleanup was marked complete.
This first phase of construction on the property will include nearly 1,100 housing units in multi-family residential buildings on 16-acres of the property.
Phase one will be formally enacted during the JCRA meeting, when the city will officially designate the two affordable housing developers — Bayfront Development Partners, LLC (a joint venture of Pennrose, LLC, and Omni America LLC) and BRP Development Group.
The two developers will pay the city $26 million to develop the first phase of construction, the city said.
The city, following pressure from activist group Jersey City Together, made a point through the project’s process to ensure a large portion of affordable housing.
The original plan in 2008 set aside 5 percent of the 8,000 total units to be designated as affordable. JCT later called for 50 percent of the development to be affordable, but that number was ultimately negotiated to 35 percent.
This first phase will have BRP build 552 units on their two lots, totaling 193 affordable units, and Pennrose/Omni responsible for 540 units – 189 of which will be affordable
All of the units in the Pennrose/Omni development site will be up to 60 percent Average Median Income (AMI), the city said.
Meanwhile, the BRP development site will be a blend of 28 units at 30 percent AMI, 28 units at 40 percent, 28 units at 50 percent, 28 units at 60 percent, 28 units at 80 percent and 53 units at 120 percent.
“Today’s announcement represents a huge step forward. These initial proposals will create a model development designed for people all across Jersey City, with more than 400 units of affordable housing at a range of incomes, the vast majority of which is at 60 percent of the Area Median Income or below,” said Rev. Laurie Wurm, of Jersey City Together.
“None of this would have been possible without the persistent organizing of faith leaders and residents for decades, who fought to clean up the site and then to ensure it would be an inclusive opportunity for the city as a whole. In the midst of several serious crises, we must and will continue to build for a better future in our city and region.”
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