Mayor Steven Fulop announced the settlement and ultimate dismissal of all litigation between the city, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), and Kushner Companies over the development 1 Journal Square, ending nearly two years of litigation.
The agreement settles lawsuits brought by Kushner Companies in 2018, claimeding that construction delays were caused by the city’s alleged anti-Trump agenda. The $900 million project would see two residential towers built in Journal Square
The federal suit was dismissed in 2019 only to be refiled that same year with claims that the city violated the developer’s constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of association, and breached its contract with the developer because of former CEO Jared Kushner’s relationship with President Trump, his father-in-law.
The city said it has reached a settlement with the execution of an updated redevelopment agreement that does not include tax abatements, which developer originally sought.
With this settlement and the new development agreement, construction will begin on two 64-story towers in the heart of Journal Square.
“This has always been about what is best for our taxpayers and Jersey City,” Fulop said. “Fortunately, after many years and many prior developers who left this property to stagnate, the city’s great team and Kushner Companies have been able to set aside their differences and collaborate to reach common ground. Now this long-delayed and much-awaited project can move forward.”
“Let’s be clear,” said Eugene T. Paolino, counsel to Kushner Companies. “The citizens of Jersey City are the winners here. Kushner Companies is eager and ready to move forward shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Fulop and the people of the great City of Jersey City, and get to work building this landmark development to advance the revitalization of Journal Square.”
Construction to begin next year
Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and will include a 10-level parking garage for residents.
Each tower will consist of 52 stories dedicated to residential units above a 12-story base building, which contains ground floor retail space, amenity space, “additional residential uses,” and structured parking, according to the city.
The project has been modified to reduce the height of the buildings from 758 feet to 710 feet, replace five stories of office space and one story of retail space with residential space, remove the WeWork and WeLive concepts, and re-envision the façades of the towers.
Expanding on original negotiations that began in 2014, the updated redevelopment agreement includes a $2.5 million investment in local arts initiatives and will require the developer to focus on hiring locally, including local workforce sessions.
“This is a big win for all involved,” said Council President Joyce Watterman. “I’m pleased we were able to reach an agreement to further build upon the city’s revitalization efforts in Journal Square, as we can finally start construction on this property, which has sat vacant for far too long, and provide the opportunities to the local workforce that is critical now more than ever before.”
JCRA Director Diana Jeffrey said the JCRA was pleased that they it was able to reach a resolution, adding “With this settlement, the renaissance of Journal Square can continue. “
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