The projects, known as "Van Leer Place North" and "Van Leer Place South," will be located on Hoboken Avenue in Jersey City. Together, they will total 443 residential units and 446 parking spaces.
They will also have 8,690 sq. ft. of retail space, a 1-acre park, a walkway leading up Hoboken Avenue to the Heights, and a shorter walkway down to the NJ Transit Second Street Light Rail Station in Hoboken.
The projects will be built by Hoboken developers George Vallone and Danny Gans in the next five to six years, on two sections of the old Van Leer Chocolate factory property, a total of seven acres.
Recently, Gans said construction would start in spring 2007 if they receive approvals at the Planning Board meeting this Tuesday.
Vallone said the cleanup would take six to nine months, since the property contains a high concentration of white-cake arsenic dumped there before the Van Leer factory existed.Developing in 'no man's land'
A visit to the old Van Leer Chocolate factory site last week found it a crumbling ruin, with some of the old factory walls still standing. The company, which closed its operations in 2001 after being sold to a Swiss company, decided to tear down the building to ward off vagrants.
Vallone has been involved in the project since 1996 but had to wait for two other developers to back out of developing the area before he and Gans entered into a contract with the Van Leers to develop in October 2004.
The site sits next to the Hoboken Avenue headquarters of the Hoboken Motorcycle Club.
On the surrounding blocks, there are old warehouses, junkyards, including the Erie Lackawanna Warehouse on 16th Street, an Exxon gas station on 18th Street, and some factories.
Further south, there is the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, the Holland Gardens Housing Complex, and some shops. It is some ways, it's a no man's land. Not always a no-man's land
But Gans last week refuted that view, pointing out that there are a number of businesses near the site, and that it's in close proximity to a NJ Transit rail station.
"I only live five blocks from the site on the Hoboken side," Gans said. "While people see it as abandoned, I don't see it so far removed from many nice establishments. And it will help spur more development in the area."
Gans pointed out that there is already development of residential housing at 833 Jersey Ave., the former site of the Magashoni Apparel Company by an unnamed Hoboken-based development company. And also there is also the construction of a condo complex at 700 Grove Street by Toll Brothers, Inc., and the Cliffs Lofts project on Paterson Plank Road that will see 124 market-rate housing units with 88 parking spaces. Tuesday
Gans is looking forward to presenting the project.
"It just takes time," Gans said. "There are a lot of little things and lots of small pieces to take care of in terms of what's being presented in the site plan. It's virtually the same plan as [discussed] before, except we're making sure the garage access is on Monmouth Street rather than Hoboken Avenue as originally intended."
Gans said he and Vallone will also seek approval from the Planning Board next week to rebuild a portion of Monmouth Street, which stops south of the site. He said there's a part of it that runs north of the site, interrupted by a several buildings in between.
Gans said the amount of available land allows for "an amenity package" for future residents.
"Because of the size of the property, we have a tennis court, a small putting green, a swimming pool as well as having a 1-acre park with playground equipment," said Gans. "I don't know of many developments that offer these amenities." Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.