Earlier in the year, the entire west side of Broadway between 23rd and 24th streets, and stretching west to Del Monte Drive, had been given the designation following a review by the Planning Board and Council. The move was made in an effort to revitalize the once-thriving block in the heart of the city’s central business district and ready it for a possible eminent domain takeover by the city.
Rendina Healthcare Real Estate of Jupiter, Fla., has proposed building a medical center complex there that would include retail stores. Except for the women’s shops Barney Stock and Avenue, the street’s storefronts are shuttered, with many of the buildings in disrepair.
The plan was for the entire block to be used in the construction of the mixed-used development, but Barney Stock owner Mel Stock opposed his property being folded into the project, citing a long history at the corner site, a number of second-floor tenants who would have to relocate, a loss of nearly a dozen jobs, and a shopping void for his loyal customers.
“We asked them to change the designation on our property because we are not a blighted area.” – Mel Stock
The Stock store has been in Bayonne for 90 years, including decades at the current site.
Stock filed suit against the city in July, retaining a law firm that specializes in eminent domain.
City Council President Sharon Nadrowski said the special meeting and measure were necessary to disassociate the Stock property from the overall project designation. The motion to adopt passed by a 5-0 vote.
“We asked them to change the designation on our property because we are not a blighted area,” Stock said. “The rest of the block is a disaster.”
Upon the city’s announcement of the proposed project in the spring, Stock said his tenants, employees, and customers immediately questioned what it would mean for them as stakeholders in the site and businesses housed there.
Not evident to many is that the second floor of the building is host to a number of business tenants, including two attorneys, two therapists, a dentist, real-estate broker, photographer, and transportation and security companies.
After the project was announced, Stock sought feedback from his customers, some of whom had been patronizing his store for decades, via a hard-copy petition-like form.
“Please don’t let the store close, I have been shopping at Barney Stock since I was 20 years old,” wrote one concerned customer. “I am now 74 years old and still shop here. To see this store close would be heartbreak, not only to me, but to many Bayonne women.”
“Please build after the store,” said another. “I’ve been shopping here all my life.”
The process of deleting the property from the plan is not 100-percent official yet, with city attorneys needing to send Stock’s attorneys an official notification, Stock said. Stock is pleased with the latest development and the help he received from the city.
“I’m happy we got the cooperation from the new mayor and the new administration to allow us to be carved out of this project,” Stock said.