JERSEY CITY, NJ - Beginning what could become the second Gold Coast in Jersey City, Mayor Steven M. Fulop, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), and the Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce (HEDC) announced an agreement for construction of the first phase of Bayfront, the largest mixed-income development site in the region.
The city acquired the 100-acre Bayfront property from Honeywell Corporation in 2018 for $100 million with the city stating at the time that the reason for the acquisition was to meet the goal of increasing the on-site affordable housing requirements from five percent, that was previously stipulated in the redevelopment plan, to a new goal of 35 percent with the city controlling the property.
“When we started this, we thought 35 percent was very ambitious,” Fulop said during a press conference held on the site where he and members of the committee overseeing the development unveiled the proposals that would begin transforming the once toxic site into a largely affordable residential area.
Bayfront Development Partners, LLC, a joint venture of Pennrose, LLC, and Omni America, LLC (“Pennrose/Omni”) and BRP Development Group (“BRP”) will implement phase one the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan pursuant to their competitive RFP responses to the city. The two selected developers will pay a total of $26 million to develop this first phase of Bayfront.
“I hope with this project Jersey City can demonstrate to the country what type of development is possible when we don’t let the typical boundaries limit us. We made a $100 million bet on affordable housing, and it looks like this will pay off huge, both economically for current taxpayers and future residents,” Fulop said.
Phase one consists of the development of four parcels within the area upon which a total of 1,092 units will be built in multi-family residential buildings, 35percent of which is affordable and workforce housing. BRP will build 552 units on their two lots, totaling 193 affordable units, and Pennrose/Omni is responsible for 540 units, 189 of which will be affordable housing. The units will truly be a mixed community of affordable units. Within the Pennrose/Omni development site, all of the units will be up to 60% Average Median Income (AMI), while the BRP development site will be a blend of 28 units at 30% AMI, 28 units at 40%, 28 units at 50%, 28 units at 60%, 28 units at 80% and 53 units at 120%.
"Today’s announcement represents a huge step forward. These initial proposals will create a model development designed for people all across Jersey City, with more than 400 units of affordable housing at a range of incomes, the vast majority of which is at 60% of the Area Median Income or below,” said Reverend Laurie Wurm, Jersey City Together. “None of this would have been possible without the persistent organizing of faith leaders and residents for decades, who fought to clean up the site and then to ensure it would be an inclusive opportunity for the city as a whole. In the midst of several serious crises, we must and will continue to build for a better future in our city and region."
The Mutual Chemical Company, which was later taken over by Honeywell, ran a chromate chemical plant on Jersey City’s west side and produced toxic waste that was dumped onsite.
As part of a two lawsuits filed in 2005 – one by the Hackensack Riverkeeper and the Jersey City-based Interfaith Community Organization, and the other by the state of New Jersey – a federal judge ruled that Honeywell was responsible for removing contaminated land on the West Side that bordered the Society Hill development. The cleanup started in 2005.
Honeywell reached a 2008 settlement agreement with the city and community groups to remediate 100 acres of chromium-contaminated land along Route 440 and the Hackensack River that was once home to the Mutual Chemical Company.
Seen as the largest development in Jersey City since the Newport development in the early 1980s, the purchase of the property allowed the city to control the amount of affordable housing that is constructed there.
The Bayfront Redevelopment Plan will transform the once contaminated site along the Hackensack Riverfront into the centerpiece of the West Side revitalization. The plan is designed to maximize the economic benefits to Jersey City and its taxpayers while prioritizing affordable housing, localized hiring opportunities during and after construction, and sustainable “green” development.