This is among a number of sites citywide that officials have eyed for future development, but the downturn in the economy in 2008 deterred the kind of redevelopment that city officials had hoped for.
Blighted sites like this, officials say, hurt whole neighborhoods because they discourage investment and upgrade.
For Bayonne officials, blighted sites along Broadway are troubling because they add to the general disfigurement of a commercial neighborhood which tends to keep customers from doing business there, creating a cycle of decline.
Bayonne has one of the largest shopping districts in the state, running for nearly three miles, and it has a number of derelict sites. Uptown, city officials were able to entice redevelopment near the boundary with Jersey City, but not near the southern end.
“We understand how difficult it is to sustain such a large business district,” said City Planner John Fussa, who worked on a redevelopment plan for the former gas station at 298-304 Broadway.
Normally, Fussa said, redevelopment along Broadway would incorporate a retail component. But because of its location, this property is being slated only for residential.
While this area has a number of retail stores, it also contains two-family houses, a senior citizen daycare center, professional offices, and some food establishments.
“We believe this is a good use for this property,” Fussa said. “It is a very soft area for retail.”
This site falls outside a zoning overlay by the State Department of Transportation that is being established near and around the 8th Street Station, Fussa said.
Bayonne is also suffering from a significant decline in its residential stock. Most of this was built prior to World War II, and is seen by some realtors as a contributing factor in making Bayonne less attractive to younger people than nearby Jersey City and Hoboken.
Fussa said there is a serious shortage of newly constructed residential housing, and this site would offer new development on Broadway.
“The old building will be demolished and a new building constructed in its place,” Fussa said.
The ordinance, which is scheduled for a public hearing and possible passage at the Aug. 21 city council meeting, would designate the property as an area in need of redevelopment and could help see the property developed in the near future.
The designation would provide the city and developers additional options for developing the site that would not otherwise exist. The site is also located in an Urban Enterprise Zone, which may provide economic advantages to the redevelopment.
The city has seen progress in a number of sites throughout the city, especially in what are called “gateway” sections of the city on JFK Boulevard and on Broadway. But the city has also made moves to help bolster redevelopment along the light rail line such as the nearly completed affordable housing near the 45th Street station. The city also designated the parking area near the 34th Street Station as an area in need of redevelopment. Most recently, the city moved to designate the former plumbing warehouse near the 22nd Street station as an area in need of redevelopment. The plumbing warehouse is reportedly also being considered for residential development, and along with the former Maidenform factory on Avenue E is expected to provide a number of new residential units within walking distance of that station.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.