At the Bayonne Planning Board meeting on Aug. 13, the board made clear that it is in the preliminary stages of redevelopment plans for three sites throughout the city.
A number of proposals to designate certain areas as “non-condemnation redevelopment areas” were on the table. That designation allows for developers to access certain tax incentives or subsidies from local and state governments if they build on those designated sites.
The board adopted a redevelopment plan for Our Lady of Assumption Church and School, located at multiple addresses along West 23rd Street. Our Lady of Assumption Church operated as a parish for more than 100 years, before the church and the adjacent Catholic School it ran shuttered their doors.
Since the school and the church both ceased operations and the sites were sold in 2016, the two buildings have stood vacant. A number of police reports indicate that the only use the building has seen in recent years has been by vandals.
The site itself consists of two properties, totaling about 2.12 acres, consulting planner Malvika Apte said. She said that the redevelopment plan called for any future upgrades to the site to be consistent with the current building’s architectural character, and will remain zoned for medium density housing.
It’s likely that the current school building won’t be torn down, but will be renovated to hold about four stacked townhouses. The site, overall, will have to comply with affordable housing requirements, according to the plan. The redevelopment plan calls for the site to have sustainable design standards, including the possibility of having a green roof. The plan doesn’t call for the site to have a full LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, but Apte said that it would come close.
While it appears likely that the school will remain standing for townhouse purposes, the church itself will likely be taken down by a developer.
Coming up next?
It appears that another defunct Catholic school might see a redevelopment plan in the future, pending board approval.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School was the subject of a study to determine if the area is a non-condemnation site in need of redevelopment.
The four-story structure currently that was formerly used as a school is now mostly vacant, except for two classrooms which are used sparingly.
According to the study, presented by Apte, the site has structural damage and water intrusion, and hasn’t been maintained for years. The school has been out of commission since 2008, and has more or less been abandoned, Apte said. She concluded that the site met several of the criteria necessary for the board to be able to determine the site to be a non-condemnation redevelopment area.
The planning board has not scheduled a vote regarding such a designation for the school yet.
Pedestrian foot bridge might have a shelf life
A study was also conducted to determine whether a pedestrian foot bridge at East 25th Street and Prospect Avenue is an “area in need of redevelopment.” The bridge allows for pedestrians to pass over train tracks and walk continuously along East 25th Street.
The site consists of the pedestrian bridge, along with a small patch of land surrounding the entry. The property is currently owned by Bayonne, and is directly adjacent to a property that is also being evaluated as a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment.
The two areas would be merged into one redevelopment area if the planning board approves the two designations, Apte said.