An aged public housing community in Jersey City may now be transformed into a mixed-use development with both affordable rentals and affordable homes for ownership, according to the city.
Holland Gardens at 235 16th St., is slated to be redeveloped into mixed-income mixed-use high rises which could now also include a new library branch as well as a Resident Services Office.
Currently, the Holland Gardens public housing complex, constructed in 1944, consists of five buildings and 192 units.
In 2019, the Jersey City Housing Authority launched a six-month visioning process with Holland Gardens residents to address the site’s aging infrastructure and residents’ needs.
The Visioning Plan reimagines the housing complex as a mixed-use, high-rise community with one-to-one preservation of the existing 192 public housing rental units.
“We want to change the antiquated approach to public housing by creating never-before-seen opportunities for our residents to achieve greater financial stability and self-sufficiency, which is especially important in these incredibly uncertain times due to the pandemic,” said Mayor Steven Fulop.
“We are seizing this opportunity to not only revitalize the site but also to reexamine our public housing system and identify gaps. We will continue to work with Holland Garden residents to explore future plans and make sure we can bring critical resources directly into the neighborhood to best address their needs.”
During the planning process residents expressed concern that they would not have homes to return to, but JCHA assured residents the right to return to the replacement public housing units, with the added option to apply for proposed home ownership opportunities.
The new home ownership component would offer for-sale condominiums, at least half of which would be affordable.
The plan also includes a proposed new onsite Jersey City Free Public Library branch that will offer an array of community-focused educational, cultural, and employment resources, according to the city.
The new library would also house community meeting space and a Resident Services Office staffed by the JCHA’s Resident Empowerment and Community Engagement (RECE) Department, which currently works with over 40 community partners to provide resources to JCHA residents.
Through its direct services and partnerships, JCHA’s RECE Department connects residents to resources and programming, including after school and youth development, employment assistance, digital inclusion, food security, and support for senior and disabled residents.
The redevelopment would also include commercial space for a supermarket, bank, or similar commercial entity.
“Following our successful affordable home ownership program with Dwight Street Homes, the JCHA wants to expand affordable home ownership for low- and moderate-income residents, who face limited opportunities to purchase a property in the current market,” said Director of the JCHA Vivian Brady-Phillips.
“Now more than ever, housing affordability is a critical issue across the nation. It’s my hope that other public housing authorities will follow our lead by working closely with their municipalities and community partners to provide the resources necessary for residents to thrive.”
Jersey City is also seeking to provide other types of affordable housing. Earlier this year Fulop unveiled the first phase of construction on the largest mixed-income community in the region, the Bayfront Redevelopment project.
That project has 8,000 units planned for a former brownfield and 35 percent of the units will be affordable housing located along the Hackensack Riverfront.
Under the Fulop administration, Jersey City also established the first-ever Division of Affordable Housing.