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South Cove Commons gets urbanist treatment

Hotel, office, and residential building part of redevelopment plan

The Bayonne City Council passed a redevelopment plan for South Cove Commons plaza on Lafante Way at a meeting on May 17. The developer, the Alessi Development Company, would clear the way for a hotel, an 80-unit residential building, and office space. The developer is in talks with Hilton Garden, but a deal has not been finalized. The hotel would be Bayonne’s first. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete.
South Cove Commons currently is home to Frank Movie Theatres, Stop & Shop, Otaiko Hibachi, Sushi Lounge, and T.J. Maxx. A hotel would be situated to the northeast of the site, overlooking Bayonne Golf Club, while an office building will be situated adjacent to Houlihan’s. Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said Alessi will be “changing the look of everything in there. It’s going to be more walkable, like malls without walls.” The multiple-phase project includes re-routing traffic through the shopping center, adding and extending walkways, and changing the façade of some of the buildings from concrete to a sleek wood.

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“They’ll add a face lift to the whole area.” – City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski
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With a hotel in town, Bayonne may finally be approaching the “destination” status city officials have long discussed. The redevelopment site is a stone’s throw from Harbor Station South, the former Military Ocean Terminal Base’s most westerly district that is planned for development starting this year and continuing in the coming years. It is also situated at the foot of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, which will eventually extend from Fort Lee to Bayonne.
City officials are hoping for not just a new look, but the kind of shopping experience that cannot be found elsewhere in the county. Right now, the walkway is short, but it will extend north to Harbor Station South once development gets underway.
“Right now, you go there just to walk that little section, you can’t go anywhere,” said Nadrowski. “So now, you can get to places. You can eat, shop, and stop at other places along the walkway. It won’t be a road to nowhere anymore.”

Lafante Way

The city council tabled a bonding ordinance for improvements to Lafante Way, which leads first to South Cove Commons, then to the Bayonne Golf Course and onto industrial sites. The road, which currently resembles the surface of the moon, would be repaved. “Right now, to say the road is filled with potholes would be an understatement,” said Business Administrator Joe DeMarco.
The council still needs to provide adequate notice to property owners along the road, who will be sharing half the cost of the improvement, while the other half will be bonded. “A lot of the wear and tear comes from the excessive use of trucks, so we’re planning to use some money from those industrial properties,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco calls the roadway improvement unique for its split financing.

Rory Pasquariello may be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com.

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