Jersey City Cove site makes progress

Eighteen acres of brownfields will become multi-use campus with two-acre park

The $10M remediation project encompasses the 18-acre site along Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue just northwest of Liberty State Park.
The $10M remediation project encompasses the 18-acre site along Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue just northwest of Liberty State Park.

Land-use consultancy Dresdner Robin has completed the $10 million first phase of remediating an 18-acre brownfield site dubbed The Cove, one of the largest development sites in downtown Jersey City.

The site, currently consisting of vacant former industrial land bisected by a tidal ditch that receives combined sewer outfall, will become a mixed-use campus with residential, retail, and life sciences laboratory components.

The Cove is a joint effort among Argent Ventures, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA) that aims to mitigate combined sewer overflows and provide tidal flood resiliency for portions of downtown.

The site, along Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue adjacent to Liberty State Park, will be home to a two-acre public park that will include an ecologically restored tidal salt marsh with public access as well as active and passive recreation.

‘Nothing typical about this project’

“This is not a typical redevelopment project; as a matter of fact, there is nothing typical about this project. It is without question the most complicated remedial project that I have been involved with,” said Douglas Neumann, director of environmental services at Dresdner Robin. “In addition to working closely with the NJDEP and EPA on the remediation front, Dresdner Robin is also working with the JCMUA as it pertains to the Mill Creek Combined Sewer Outfall – in the middle of the project area.”

The next phase of the project, scheduled to start this year, will focus on infrastructure improvement design and permitting.

Part of that will include elevating the site approximately 10 to 12 feet to help reduce flooding and account for future sea-level rise.

To improve water quality, a large subsurface overflow storage chamber is being designed. Most of Jersey City relies on a combined sewer system, where sanitary sewage and storm runoff use the same pipes, which can become overwhelmed during heavy rainstorms.

The chamber will be used to temporarily store the discharge during significant precipitation events, which will then be pumped back into the system for treatment. Currently, discharges end up in the nearby marina basin and eventually the Hudson River.

“The sewer improvements are a crucial early component to The Cove and its eventual completion,” said Chris Collins, project manager at Dresdner Robin. “This type of storage is an effective mitigation method employed by other large cities and municipalities across the country … It will be the first of its kind in Jersey City and will provide significant water quality benefits to the surrounding waterways.”

Next year, construction will begin on a two-tower mixed-use building.

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