At a special town hall meeting held on Monday night, residents of Jersey City's Van Voorst neighborhood came out to protest a planned "micro-unit" development that would allow young people to live in tiny apartments at lower rents than standard units. The building will not provide parking.
Until recently, the development site, at the corner of Varick and Bright streets, had been used for classroom trailers for students who attend the Frank R. Conwell School across the street. In anticipation of groundbreaking for the new project, the students have been moved to neighboring schools and the trailers have been carted away.
Property owners and residents in the area oppose both the scale of the Varick Street project and the unique type of housing developer Rushman Dillon has planned for the site.
At present, Rushman Dillon plans to build 87 micro-units that would be between 325 and 350 square feet in size. The building would include amenities for its rental tenants typically found at high-end luxury condo buildings, including an on-site gym, common areas for socializing, a coffee bar, and planned activities.
But the development would be built without any parking, thanks to the approved redevelopment plan for the area. It would be marketed to young, single post-grad professionals, a demographic current residents say will be out of sync with the families who currently live in the area.
At Monday's meeting, residents tried to get Mayor Steve Fulop on their side. Fulop said that the city's hands are tied.
Matt Wilcox, a 15-year resident, said the development is “everything Jersey City is not. It’s kind of inviting a Hoboken-like atmosphere in a family neighborhood. It’s going to be a permanent frat party…"
To read more about the units and the controversy, see this weekend's Jersey City Reporter, or come back to hudsonreporter.com on Sunday and read the Jersey City news section.