DeMarco would continue working with Bayonne municipal government as a special redevelopment counsel if the Bayonne City Council approves a bid to contract a special redevelopment counsel submitted by the Secaucus firm. At an August 15 city council meeting, the council approved an ordinance seeking bids for “Special Redevelopment/Land Use Counsel.”
According to the bid, the counsel would represent the municipal government “in matters regarding real property redevelopment, real property redevelopment negotiations, financial agreements and their negotiation, redevelopment agreements and their negotiation, municipal land use law and real estate law.”
“I’m hopeful that I can still be part of the redevelopment of Bayonne because I think there’s still a few really good things left to be accomplished,” DeMarco said. “This is an exciting time in the city of Bayonne.”
DeMarco, who worked as the business administrator for West New York before working on Mayor James Davis’s 2014 campaign, was hired as business administrator when Davis was elected. Then in 2018, he stepped down temporarily to manage Davis’s re-election campaign. As business administrator, he was responsible for brokering real estate development deals between the city of Bayonne and various developers. Many of the largest developments DeMarco facilitated are currently under construction on the former Military Ocean Terminal Base (MOTBY).
“If you drive down to MOTBY right now, you will see the effects of what’s happening,” DeMarco said. “It’s been 18 years of empty lots. Now there’s a Costco about to open, buildings that are rising. There are four different developers working at the same time. That’s probably my biggest effect. I want to see MOTBY realize the potential it was supposed to realize decades ago.”
“There will be people who say I should have done this or that, and they may be right. It’s hard to play Monday morning quarterback.”—Joe DeMarco
DeMarco has been an object of ire for many Bayonne residents who feel that the city’s redevelopment policies are coming at their expense, such as forfeiting public school funding for tax abatements, a rise in property taxes to make up for the loss, and a sharp increase in housing costs in the last few years.
“For every decision that I was part of, the goal was to do what was best for the city of Bayonne, DeMarco said. “I hope I accomplished that goal. There will be people who say I should have done this or that, and they may be right. It’s hard to play Monday morning quarterback. You just hope that it works in the end. Only time will tell.”
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.