JERSEY CITY - The headquarters for the Jersey City Police Department is in the process of being relocated from its current home downtown to another site at Journal Square.
But that comes as news to several members of the City Council.
The move, which is already underway, was announced Monday evening during the City Council's bi-weekly caucus.
The JCPD headquarters is moving from 8 Erie St., a city-owned building, to a rented space on the fourth floor of One Journal Square. According to Rosemary McFadden, chief of staff to Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, the city is paying approximately $10,000 a month in rent for the new space.
But on Monday evening at the City Council caucus meeting several members of the council were surprised to discover that the Police Department is already moving to its new home.
"This is the first I'm hearing about this," At-large Councilwoman Viola Richardson said of the JCPD move.
"Have we seen a lease for this?" Councilman Steven Fulop asked, referring to the Journal Square office space. "I don't believe we have. Wouldn't we need to see that before they could start moving? Is there a lease agreement?"
Councilwoman Nidia Lopez, who represents Ward C, which includes the Journal Square area, said she only learned of the JCPD move to her ward in a conversation with Police Chief Tom Comey.
No one from the administration who attended the caucus meeting knew whether or not a lease has been signed for the One Journal Square office space for the JCPD. Business Administrator Jack Kelly, who McFadden said was the person handling the logistics of the lease, was not present at the caucus meeting.
Last year the council approved a redevelopment plan that will allow the city to sell 8 Erie St., a move that would require the JCPD headquarters to relocate. The Police Department's Public Information office would also have to relocate. The financially strapped city sees the Erie site as a lucrative cash cow that can fetch much needed dollars on the real estate market.
The entire site could accommodate as many as 30 residential units of housing, according to the city's Planning Board, and sale of the site could generate $1.35 million or more. Last year the city Tax Assessor stated that preliminary numbers indicate that redevelopment of the JCPD site could garner $160,000 or more annually in property taxes.
Under the redevelopment plan proposed by the Healy administration and approved by the council in May 2011, a mixed-use development will be built on the site which will include a parking garage. - E. Assata Wright