Amenities such as a new hospital, residences, restaurants, retail stores, and cultural facilities promise to rise and support the corporate buildings and assist in the building of residential neighborhoods.
Jersey City Medical Center
One of Jersey City's most exciting projects that will be completed in 2004 is the Jersey City Medical Center. The new seven-story facility on Grand Street has 326 beds. Most of the rooms look out onto New York Harbor, with panoramic views of Liberty State Park, the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Science Center.
The new hospital stands in the middle of a section of a city in transition with a new school being constructed across the street, while junkyards and heaps of metal scrap still occupy properties just west.
New development is slowly marching toward the facility from the glittering glass towers of Exchange Place as if following the tracks of the light rail. The new hospital will be open for business in March of next year. The old Jersey City Medical Center building on Clifton Place is still operating until the new one opens. "I like the idea that we are in the middle of it all," said Brett Harwood, chairman for the Campaign for the New Jersey City Medical Center, as he toured the site in December. "This is a part of the city that is in transition."
Throughout the county, there are a number of residential projects planned, the largest and most ambitious of which is in Jersey City. Liberty Harbor North, a $4.8 billion undertaking that recently won preliminary Planning Board approvals for the first phase of construction, is a 86-acre, 28-block mixed-use development. It will have more than 6,000 units in housing; retail stores; a school; a hotel; and 4.6 million square-feet for offices. The site is bounded by Grand Street, Luis Munoz Marin Boulevard, Jersey Avenue and the tidewater basin.
The Planning Board approval allows the developers to begin street and utilities construction in the spring of 2004. Phase one, with 667 units, will be predominantly small-to medium-size residential buildings ranging from four to eight stories.
In Hoboken, there are large-scale new residential projects slated to rise in the northern waterfront and the northwest redevelopment area. The largest is the Maxwell House project, from 10th to 12th streets on Hudson Street, with 832 units approved. The project, which sits on a 24-acre site, 10 acres of which are water, will include nearly 6 acres of fully accessible public open space, mostly on the banks of the Hudson River.
Also in 2004, the Applied Development Corporation is adding 319 units to the existing Shipyard Development Project on the northern waterfront, where 841 units have already been built. The Shipyard is north of 12th Street on Hudson Street.
BDLJ Associates' "Hoboken Cove" runs from River Street to Park Avenue, north of 14th Street. BDLJ already completed and opened the 525-unit Hudson Tea Building and has approvals to build an additional 343 units. BDLJ is currently seeking approvals for an additional 410 units that could begin construction in 2004. If approved, the entire project would total 1,278 units.
With the coming of the light rail development on Hoboken's west side, development is going to accelerate at a rapid pace. A Shop-Rite grocery store just opened there in December. Tarragon Reality Investors, Inc., Hoboken-based Ursa Development, and Hoboken developer Frank "Pupie" Raia are building a $50 million development that includes a 90-unit affordable housing building at 1118 Adams St. Adjacent to it, at 1100 Adams St., will be a luxury condominium building.
According to William Friedman, Tarragon's president and chief executive officer, the project will be completed approximately 14 months from now.
The Hoboken Planning Board has approved a 204-unit residential development on the site of Pino's Towing on Jackson Street, the far west side of town. The developer is listed as Danmarc Partners of Edgewater. The site will be walking distance to the Ninth Street light rail station and across the street from the Monroe Center for the Arts.
In addition to these projects, there are well over a dozen smaller projects that are undergoing construction, have approvals or are planned in the city's northwest sector.
Another Hoboken project to keep an eye on is one proposed for 1600 Park Ave. at the city's northern border. Currently there is an application for a nine-story mixed-use building, which would be built on the vacant lot that straddles the Weehawken-Hoboken border. It has an application before the city's Zoning Board for 140 condos. The developer, Stanford Weiss, has promised to dedicate about 26,000 square feet to Hoboken and Weehawken for a park. The property is partially in Hoboken and partially in Weehawken.
The project was scheduled to have a hearing in early December, but it was canceled. According to Fred Bado, the city's director of Community Development, the developer is considering submitting an amended application. While the number of housing units will probably stay the same, according to Bado, the non-residential space might be changing. The most recent plans called for a 32-lane bowling alley, but according to Bado, a new proposal might call for that space to be used as artist work spaces, art galleries, and office or retail space similar to what is planned at the Monroe Center for the Arts on the city's west side.
In North Bergen, the Planning Board voted in August to give approval to developer K. Hovnanian to build a proposed 201-unit luxury-housing unit on the North Bergen/Guttenberg border along River Road. The project will be called Hudson Point, which will be directly adjacent to the two other K. Hovnanian housing developments, Jacobs Ferry and Bulls Ferry. The latter two have been built within the last five years.
The new project will be built on the site that was initially to be Camelot Cove, which was approved by the North Bergen Planning Board in January of 2000 as two nine-story, 450-unit adult-assisted living and senior citizen apartments. However, those plans fell through when the market for nursing home units declined.
Nearing completion is the Goldman Sachs building, going up at 30 Hudson St. in Jersey City's Paulus Hook neighborhood. The 41-story tower will be, when completed in 2003, the tallest building in New Jersey. The tower will have a total of 1,254,273 square feet of office space. Occupancy is expected toward the end of the first quarter of the year. The complex will also be home to a wide range of amenities, including public retail space and restaurants, all housed under a block-long glass atrium that will have views of the Manhattan skyline and harbor.
While commercial and office growth has been brisk over the past two decades in the Newport area in Jersey City, the developer of the 600-acre complex will be taking a pause from building corporate high rises until vacancy rates fall. Newport is currently home to 10 high rise apartment buildings and corporate tenants such as JPMorgan Chase and Charles Schwab.
Once construction on Newport Office Tower VII is completed, Newport plans to focus on attracting retailers to the area. In September of 2003, The Cornerstone School, a private kindergarten through eighth-grade academy, relocated into one of the office buildings at Newport.
In 2004, a Target Department store will replace the now closed Foodmart International near the Newport Mall. A new grocery store is tentatively planned for to the ground floor of the JP Morgan Chase building at Washington Boulevard and Newport Parkway.
Neighborhood amenities such as an ice skating rink, a bicycle shop and an art supply store are planned to open in 2004.
In Weehawken, Hartz Mountain Industries holds approvals and plans on expanding the Lincoln Harbor development on the waterfront. The development is already composed of 1.8 million square feet with tenants that include Citicorp, UBS/PaineWebber, Exodus Communications and Hanover Direct. Hartz has plans to add an additional four buildings totaling over 1 million square feet, as well as adding an all suites hotel. When complete, Lincoln Harbor will encompass over three million square feet of office, retail, hotel and residential space.
Cultural development While it's had its past problems, Jersey City officials believe that 2004 will be the year that a vibrant arts district will finally take off. In the first six months of 2004, city planners are expected to present a redevelopment plan for the Power House Arts District, located between the Newport Financial Center and the downtown section of Jersey City. The area is bounded by Washington Avenue and Marin Boulevard and is the home of the Jersey City Arts Tour, conducted yearly.
Previously known as the WALDO district because of the "work and live district overlay" zoning given to the area by the city in 1990s, the district was renamed the Power House Arts District (PHAD) at the beginning of 2003. In concept, the section was designed to bring affordable artist housing, but that never really happened. City officials hope that the new redevelopment plan will make amends.
The development plan currently being worked on by the city calls for new housing in the area, with 10 percent set aside to be low-income housing for artists. The trend is starting with a restoration project already underway at 140 Bay St.
On Sept. 30, Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham held a ceremony celebrating the first subsidized housing for artists in the Downtown warehouse district. The project calls for a $22 million renovation of an eight-story building to be made into a 59-unit condominium complex.
"We want to maintain the unique character of the area," said Maryann Bucci-Carter of the Jersey City Planning Department about the planning process that is underway. "We want to achieve artist housing for the area. WALDO never achieved artist housing for the area for a number of reasons."
Also in Jersey City, New Jersey City University is to construct a new arts and sciences building on its campus on Kennedy Boulevard. The building will cost $18 million.
In Hoboken, as rents in the 1990s rose, artists found themselves being pushed out. But the Monroe Center, located at 720 Monroe St., sits on what was formerly the old Levelor factory and has been transformed into a vibrant community. It currently holds nearly 150 local artists and small businesses.
In 2004, construction will begin on Village West at the site, which will include seven new buildings on six acres, with 435 residential units plus some commercial and retail space. The five-stage project will take around five years to complete. Because the project will be completed in phases, none of the current tenants will be displaced.
Liberty Science Center expansion
A state agency has laid the groundwork for the first major expansion of the 10-year-old Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.
Members of the Economic Development Authority, a state agency, have approved borrowing $17 million to finance the design of the new Science Center exhibit space, the addition of 1,000 parking spaces, and the renovation of the nearby railroad terminal building along the Hudson River in Liberty State Park.
When construction of the Science Center expansion begins later in 2004, exhibits at the site will be relocated to the terminal building for the estimated 22 months of construction, according to state EDA officials.
While not technically in Hudson County, one project that will have a large impact on the region, and especially Secaucus, is a sprawling entertainment/retail complex called Xanadu. In November 2003, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority approved the construction of the $1.3 billion "Xanadu" sports and entertainment complex around the Meadowlands arena site. Now, Hudson County officials are seeking to have a light rail line built to accommodate workers and others from various parts of the county.
Xanadu, a project proposed by Mills Corp. of Arlington, Va., and Mack-Cali Realty Corp. of Cranford, N.J., will be constructed on the 104-acre site now occupied by the Continental Airlines Arena and its parking lots.
The family entertainment component of Xanadu will open about two years after the groundbreaking. Meadowlands Xanadu will feature the nation's first indoor Alpine ski resort and an indoor mini-Formula One-style racing venue.
Other planned uses include a minor league baseball stadium, an extreme sports park, a grand movie palace, and a small-format live entertainment venue.
Mills will lead the development of the family entertainment complex, and Mack-Cali will be the lead developer for the 2.2 million-square-foot office and hotel component of the project.
The project is expected to generate 20,000 permanent jobs in New Jersey, translating into $1.24 billion in personal income annually, and 19,000 construction and related jobs, equal to $1.17 billion in annual personal income. The project is estimated to produce $133 million annually in state and local tax revenue.
Transportation in the year to come
In 2004 several large-scale improvements to the region's transportation infrastructure will be started or completed.
Construction on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail continues. The total cost of the portion of the line that initially ran from 34th Street in Bayonne to the Hoboken Terminal was $1.1 billion, according to state officials. An additional light rail stop was later added at 22nd Street in Bayonne, bringing the total to 17 stations between Bayonne and the Hoboken Terminal.
Expected to open in the spring are light rail stops at Second and Ninth streets in Hoboken, and the Lincoln Harbor Station in Weehawken. Service to Port Imperial in Weehawken, Bergenline Avenue in Union City and Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen is expected to be completed in summer of 2005.
In November 2003, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority approved the construction of the $1.3 billion "Xanadu" sports and entertainment complex around the Meadowlands arena site. Just a week after the sports authority gave final approval, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to pay $150 million to build a rail link between the Meadowlands Sports Complex and NJ Transit's Pascack Valley Line, which would be accessible via the recently opened Secaucus Transfer Station.
Another project that could start toward the end of 2004 is the restoration of the Hoboken Ferry Terminal. NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have made a commitment return the building, which first opened in 1907, to its original splendor. The entire project will take the better part of the next decade and cost over $125 million.
The first segment of the renovations for the ferry terminal will take about two years to complete at a budgeted cost of around $79 million. It will be funded by NJ Transit, the Port Authority and Federal Transit Administration.
Frank Smolar, NJ Transit's director of the Hoboken rehabilitation, said that the first three priorities of the initial phase are to stabilize the crumbling building, restore it to its original function as an active ferry terminal, and repair the building's historic characteristics.
Local, state and federal officials believe that renovating the ferry terminal is an important step in bolstering Hoboken's position as a regional transportation hub. Currently, according to NJ Transit, the Hoboken Terminal is served daily by more than 280 NJ Transit trains, 546 PATH trains, 394 Hudson-Bergen Light Rail trains and more than 300 NJ Transit buses, in addition to other private bus carriers serving Hudson County.
Work will also continue at the PATH station at the World Trade Center site. In November 2003, a new temporary station cost an estimated $323 million to build. The station can accommodate over 50,000 daily passengers, but at the present time it will be without such amenities as air conditioning and bathrooms. These won't be available until the permanent station opens in 2006. - Tom Jennemann