One Journal Square project moves forward after JCRA approves Kushner Cos. settlement

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The $900 million One Journal Square project is moving forward after the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority Board of Commissioners approved a settlement agreement with developer Kushner Companies at tonight’s meeting.

An artist’s rendering of One Journal Square. Photo via Woods Bagot.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

While the meeting lasted for around two hours, the first hour was dedicated to presentations for new projects and about another half hour was utilized for executive session.

As far as One Journal Square is concerned, both the resolution that the JCRA board approved unanimously (5-0) and the settlement agreement itself did not provide much, if any, information that wasn’t already made public last week.

Board Chair Daniel Rivera, a councilman-at-large, and Commissioner Erma Greene were absent.

Responding to questions from HCV, JCRA Executive Director Diana Jeffrey noted that the settlement involves no expenses for the taxpayer, and while the project is moving forward without a tax abatement, Kushner Cos. now has a golden opportunity.

“They’ll now be able to play a pivotal role in redeveloping Journal Square,” she added, noting that construction is now set to commence by no later than January 2021, though the expectation is that it will start before then.

The first tower (Phase I) will combine for 961 units and 500 garage parking spaces, while the second (Phase II) will have 757 units and 380 garage parking spaces, the approved resolution explains.

Additionally, each of the two towers will consist of 52 stories dedicated to residential units above a 12-story base building which contains ground floor retail space, amenity space, and additional residential uses.

The project has been modified to, among other things: reduce the height of the buildings from 758 feet to 710 feet, replace five stories of office space and one story of retail space with residential space, remove the WeWork and WeLive concepts, and re-envision the facade of the towers.

Furthermore, the updated redevelopment agreement includes a $2.5 million investment in local arts initiatives and will require the developer to focus on hiring locally, including local workforce sessions to further local residents development and opportunities.

Back in April 2018, the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority informed Kushner Cos. that they violated their redevelopment agreement and therefore a tax break would not be granted, as HCV first reported.

This discord led to the developer filing a federal lawsuit claiming they had unfair dealings with the city due to politics: their former president Jared Kushner, is now President Donald Trump’s (R) son-in-law and senior advisor.

While that case was dismissed in August of last year, a similar suit was filed by the next month.

Kushner Cos. had also won $99,000 in attorneys’ fees in a related but separate Open Public Records Act lawsuit, which was dismissed this past July.