Jersey City’s “SoHo West” neighborhood continues to rise, as the Holland Gardens affordable housing complex, at 235 16th St., is slated to be redeveloped into mixed-income high rises.
The Jersey City Housing Authority undertook a “Holland Gardens Visioning Process” in which residents met in a series of workshops at the beginning of 2019 to discuss the proposed project which would include at least 500 units of both market-rate and low-income units and commercial space.
Currently, the Holland Gardens public housing complex, constructed in 1944, consists of five buildings and 192 units, all of which are included in the proposal.
“The key commitment through the process,” states the Holland Gardens Vision Process report by architecture and planning firm Kitchen & Associates, “was to ensure the 1:1 replacement of all 192 units of public housing on the site, in a manner that preserved the current mix of households, and incorporated larger units, additional parking, and substantial on-site amenities and services.”
“The property currently consists of small non-handicap-accessible apartments. The existing conditions at Holland Gardens present significant challenges for both residents and JCHA,” according to the report.
According to the report, the visioning team decided not to simply fix the current structures because it could cost more than $21 million, would be “financially infeasible,” and wouldn’t address residents’ underlying concerns.
Instead, the visioning team developed two concepts of what the new Holland Gardens complex could look like.
The first proposal calls for an L-shaped high-rise up to 22 stories, which will sit above three stories of off-street parking and retail space.
The second proposes two buildings, a six-story structure, and a 20-story high-rise, separated by a rerouted 15th Street.
This will create a new “front door” for the development and provide the opportunity for pedestrian experiences within the site, according to the plan.
This new connector will link the east end of Erie Street to the Jersey Avenue park development west of the site.
Both proposals include outdoor space, 20- to 30,000 square feet for a potential school, daycare, a senior center, community room, 10,000 square feet for potential retail, restaurants, or laundromats.
More than 500 units are envisioned for both proposals, which include 192 units of affordable housing, and one parking space for every two units.
Relocation, relocation, relocation
According to the project website, a request for proposals is scheduled to be issued this fall or winter.
Resident relocation is currently scheduled to be in the fall of 2021 or winter of 2022, followed by the start of construction the following spring.
The plan ensures a one-to-one replacement of all 192 public housing units once the complex is completed.
Under federal law, the relocation is subject to the Uniform Relocation Act, which provides relocation advisory services to displaced tenants and owner-occupants, written notice to vacate 120 days before requiring possession, reimbursement of moving expenses, and payment for the cost of renting or purchasing comparable replacement housing.
Prior to the relocation, the JCHA will hold quarterly meetings with residents to discuss concerns, answer questions, and provide updates.
To protect the right to relocation assistance and to return on completion of the project, current Holland Gardens residents should not leave their units until provided with a written “Notice of Relocation Eligibility.”
The JCHA will meet individually with residents to discuss their rights and options regarding relocation and guide them through the relocation process.
All comments and questions regarding relocation can be submitted by filling out the comment form or by filling out the comment cards at the Holland Gardens main office and the JCHA’s executive building or contacting the JCHA’s Department of Development, Modernization, and Sustainability at (201)-706-4628.
For more information on the project go to https://hollandgardensvision.org/.