The fledgling administration of Mayor James Davis is working to move along development projects already in the pipeline from the previous team at city hall, but already has met with its share of impediments, recent interviews with city officials have revealed.
Among those hitting roadblocks are the improvements to Don Ahern Veterans Memorial Stadium, missing almost a quarter of the $4 million funding to move forward, and the Rendina Companies’ medical center proposal for 23rd to 24th streets, being challenged in court by the owner of Barney Stock.
The $4.1 million Don Ahern Veterans Memorial Stadium project is likely on hold until the city can find the one quarter of the money needed to move forward with the project. The administration of previous Mayor Mark Smith said the funding was in place but that is not the case, according to Business Administrator Joseph DeMarco.
“They were short over a million dollars,” he said. “We’re committed to finding that money from other sources.”
Although shovels in the ground were already expected for the Harbor Station North project, city officials say that project is still on course to start. Although matters there are still in litigation, Urban Enterprise Coordinator Terrence Malloy said the deal is all but done.
“My understanding is it’s right on the cusp of getting completed,” he said. “The tail end is always the most difficult part. It’s often easier to reach agreement on larger concepts. It’s harder with the nitty gritty details.”
Malloy said the city is hopeful that the project will move forward within the next few months.
Projects for the other end of the former Military Ocean Terminal, those at Harbor Station South, are less certain. Dozens of companies attended a city seminar about the area last year, and then a number of them submitted proposals early this year. Interest in becoming the developer, or one of the developers, was so keen that the city had to move back its deadline for proposals a month to late February to accommodate those seeking to submit.
But when the Davis administration moved into city hall, it found that communications with the six developers still being considered had waned, according to DeMarco.
“No negotiations have taken place on it,” Malloy confirmed.
A final six proposals were received on it, with three formal presentations made and then posted on the city’s website. But since then, there has been no word on any progress. All six companies are still under consideration.
The Peninsula development is wide open for various types of projects, since there are no specific guidelines on how that development should take place.
“Under law, there is much latitude to develop,” said city spokesman Joseph Ryan.
The Rendina Companies project for the development of a nearly block-long medical facility will likely be held up now, as Mel Stock, owner of Barney Stock at the corner of 23rd and Broadway, has filed suit, Malloy said
On a positive note, work on the Baker Residential project, on the old Hi Hat property, may resume after being stalled during the recession.
“They’re talking about restarting that project now,” Malloy said.
The initiative, originally calling for 150 condominium units, may even be expanded and changed to rental units.
A proposal for a project at the former Bayonne Plumbing site should be coming up before one of the municipal boards soon.