Jersey City’s Bayfront project moves forward

Two developers to create more than 1,000 units, 382 of which will be affordable housing in the first phase

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The Bayfront development, on Jersey City's West Side will be transformative for the area.
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1,092 units will be constructed in the first phase of the Bayfront development.
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The Bayfront development, on Jersey City's West Side will be transformative for the area.
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1,092 units will be constructed in the first phase of the Bayfront development.

Mayor Steven Fulop, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), and the Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce (HEDC) announced an agreement for construction of the first phase of the largest mixed-income development site in the region, Bayfront.

The city acquired the 100-acre property from Honeywell Corporation in 2018 for $100 million to meet the goal of increasing the onsite affordable housing requirements from 5 percent, as stated in the redevelopment plan, to 35 percent, with the city controlling the property.

At the next JCRA meeting, the city will formally designate two affordable housing developers, Bayfront Development Partners, LLC, a joint venture of Pennrose, LLC, and Omni America, LLC (“Pennrose/Omni”) and BRP Development Group (“BRP”) to implement phase one the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan.

More affordable housing

Phase one consists of 16 acres. The two developers will pay $26 million to develop this first phase of the project.

“I hope with this project Jersey City can demonstrate to the country what type of development is possible when we don’t let the typical boundaries limit us,” said Fulop. “We made a $100 million bet on affordable housing, and it looks like this will pay off huge, both economically for current taxpayers and future residents.”

During this first phase the developers will construct 1,092 units that will be built in multi-family residential buildings, 35 percent of which will be dedicated as affordable and workforce housing.

BRP will build 552 units totaling 193 affordable units, and Pennrose/Omni will build 540 units, 189 of which will be affordable housing.

Within the Pennrose/Omni development site, all of the units will be up to 60 percent Average Median Income (AMI), while the BRP development site will be a blend of 28 units at 30 percent AMI, 28 units at 40 percent AMI, 28 units at 50 percent AMI, 28 units at 60 percent AMI, 28 units at 80 percent AMI, and 53 units at 120 percent AMI.

“Today’s announcement represents a huge step forward,” said Reverend Laurie Wurm of Jersey City Together. “These initial proposals will create a model development designed for people all across Jersey City, with more than 400 units of affordable housing at a range of incomes, the vast majority of which is at 60 percent of the Area Median Income or below.

“None of this would have been possible without the persistent organizing of faith leaders and residents for decades, who fought to clean up the site and then to ensure it would be an inclusive opportunity for the city as a whole. In the midst of several serious crises, we must and will continue to build for a better future in our city and region.”

A transformational project

According to the city, the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan will transform the once contaminated site along the Hackensack Riverfront into the “centerpiece” of the West Side revitalization.

The plan is designed to maximize the economic benefits to Jersey City and its taxpayers while prioritizing affordable housing, localizing hiring opportunities during and after construction, and sustaining “green” development.

“This has been a thoughtful, collaborative effort involving a lot of moving parts, but we never lost sight of the fact that this is a critical time in the city’s history and so we need to ensure we chose the right partners to carry out these plans for the betterment of the community as a whole,” said Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera who also serves as the chair of the JCRA.  “This will bring significant housing opportunities to those who need it most.”

The redevelopment project will create opportunities for local residents and businesses while ensuring that minority- and women-owned businesses are given an opportunity to participate in the project.

BRP is 100 percent minority owned and according to the city has a proven track record of success, while Pennrose/Omni, is one of the leading affordable housing developers in the country.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with local officials and Omni to transform an underutilized site into a vibrant new mixed-use community,” said  Regional Vice President at Pennrose Jacob Fisher. “Featuring green design, top-notch amenities, and ample outdoor and community spaces, the plans for the Bayfront development will have long-term, positive impacts on the entire neighborhood.”

Managing Director of Omni Eugene Schneur said, “Omni is excited to work with local and state officials and our partners at Pennrose on this transformational project which we feel will be the catalyst for future public private partnerships in Jersey City.  We expect the Bayfront Redevelopment to benefit all members of the community and transform underutilized land into a vibrant and thriving neighborhood.”

“Developing sustainable, mixed-income communities is vital for success in today’s market,” said Cofounder and Managing Partner of BRP Companies Meredith Marshall. “We are looking forward to embarking on a new partnership with the City of Jersey City, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, and the greater Jersey City community to enhance the quality of life for the City’s residents, as well as continuing to grow our footprint within the Garden State.”

The city expects to break ground on the infrastructure work for Bayfront in the fall.

 For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.