A six-story apartment complex slated for John F. Kennedy Boulevard and West 44th Street could get back on track if the City Council and the Bayonne Planning Board agree to expand the redevelopment area that it first established in 2006.
The city is seeking a planning board to expand the redevelopment designation for property along Kennedy Boulevard and hopes to kick-start a project that was approved for a portion of the site in 2009. This could possibly attract a similar project for a vacant lot on the corner of West 43rd Street, said City Planner John Fussa.
The move would expand the redevelopment area to include the whole block fronting Kennedy Boulevard from 44th Street, where it currently exists, to 43rd Street.
“In 2005 to 2006, the city designated a part of that area in need of redevelopment and adopted a redevelopment plan for the JFK and West 44th Street corner,” Fussa said. “We’re not proposing to expand the redevelopment area south. There is a parcel at the 43rd Street corner and we’re proposing to expand the area in need of redevelopment to that corner to include that parcel.”
There is an abandoned house boarded up on the 44th Street site in the development area as well and that’s what precipitated the amended redevelopment request.
Under the original redevelopment plan, there is a six-story residential project already approved for the site at 44th Street and Kennedy Boulevard.
“We’re hoping that there will be an application for the 44th Street portion by this spring,” Fussa said. “We’re expanding the zone with the hope that the 44th Street project will become feasible, since the 2009 project has not been developed. So we’re making some revisions and refinements to the redevelopment plan to make that project more feasible. Then also since we’re also going to 43rd corner where there was a subdivision a couple of years ago so that there is a lot there, that didn’t exist that’s vacant. We’re expanding the redevelopment area with the hope that some point in the future there will be a project at the 43rd Street corner that will complement a real project at the 44th Street corner.”
The property has changed ownership several times since 2009, because of the economy, new owners that control those parcel, Fussa said, have indicated a desire to proceed with the structure.
“We also prepared an updated redevelopment plan to account for the expansion and also for the possibility of a two-phase redevelopment with phase one being the 44th Street part where there is already an approval from 2009.”
“We’re hoping that there will be an application for the 44th Street portion by this spring.” – John Fussa
In 2009, the Bayonne Planning Board and the Hudson County Planning Board gave approval to Bayonne Kennedy Holdings, LLC, then the owner of the property located at 1040-1046 JFK Boulevard. The property is located on the southeast corner of 44th Street and Kennedy Boulevard.
The project on the West 44th Street corner would include a six-story multifamily building of about 40 units, 35 two-bedroom units, and five one-bedroom units.
The building as contemplated, was to be built on property that for many, many years was the site of a very active Sunoco gasoline station that operated on that site for between 40 and 50 years and closed in the late 1990s with the death of its owner and the structures on the building, on the property were demolished after the building remained vacant for a number of years.
Around 2004, the grandson of the owner who had inherited the property did not want to get involved with the cleanup of the contamination and sold the property to a prospective developer who then proceeded with the cleanup, removing as much as 500 tons of soil and bringing in as much clean fill to prepare for construction of residential units.
The property includes an abandoned house that would also be demolished as part of the construction.
Originally slated as a condominium project, the development stopped due to market conditions and since then, Fussa said, it has changed hands several times.
This site was part of the original scattered site redevelopment plan that the city passed in early 2006 in an effort on improving the vacant and underutilized properties that are randomly located throughout the City.
Other projects possible
Along with this site, other development projects appear to in various levels of construction.
Camelot in Bayonne, a luxury rental project located near Third Street and Kennedy Boulevard near the Bayonne Bridge – Kaplan Companies project -- started construction in the fall.
“Regan development on Avenue E should be done by summer,” Fussa said. “Hopefully the Maidenform project [also located on Avenue E near 18th Street] will start this year.”
Some other good projects may also be in the works.
Best Foods on Avenue A near Fourth Street could see progress this year.
“We did redevelopment study and plan which was approved by the Planning Board and the City Council in June and July,” Fussa said, “and there was a suspected new developer for the site, but I am not aware of any progress on it so far.”
Eric Alderman of Cameron Group, made no comment on the project, but said he liked working in Bayonne and has already built Bayonne Crossing, is currently involved in the new structure for Royal Wines.
Cameron Group, according to other city officials, is involved in a possible warehouse, office and retail project for the site.
“There’s a lot of buzz, but what will happen remains to be seen,” Fussa said. “But this seems to look like it will be a very good year, things are ticking upwards.”
A project for the corner of Broadway and Dodge Street, which got approval for redevelopment by the Planning Board and City County last July, will likely proceed to construction over the next two to three months. Bergen Point Associates LLC has proposed the construction of a mixed use building for a site which currently is a vacant lot.