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Bayonne to advance redevelopment plan of former Seahorse Express property

The redevelopment plan is intended to revitalize this vacant underutilized industrial site and reverse its ongoing stagnation

An aerial shot of the former Seahorse Express property. Photo courtesy of the redevelopment study.

Bayonne is moving forward with plans for the redevelopment of the former Seahorse Express property.

The City Council has introduced an ordinance adopting a redevelopment plan for the site at 69-73 LeFante Way. In February of this year, the City Council passed a resolution authorizing the Planning Board to conduct a redevelopment study of the area.

In June, the Planning Board and the City Council designated the area a non condemnation area in need of redevelopment following the study, one of the first steps in the redevelopment process. The City Council simultaneously approved a resolution to draw up the redevelopment plan. Now that plan is set for a public hearing before the Planning Board as well as the City Council.

The Planning Board is set to hold a public hearing for a consistency review of the redevelopment plan for 69-73 LeFante Way on August 9 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. The City Council will hold its public hearing on August 17 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.

Redeveloping the former Seahorse Express property

The 6.42 acre site is owned by North Hook Associates, LLC, and is currently home to a two-story building totaling approximately 67,516 square feet. Formerly occupied by Seahorse Express, a business that specialized in heavy machinery and transport for many years, the property has been vacant for approximately 10 years.

The redevelopment plan is intended to revitalize this vacant underutilized industrial site and reverse its ongoing stagnation. According to the ordinance, “The redevelopment area is a gateway to the heavily industrialized area of Constable Hook, which is experiencing a surge in redevelopment activities. The Council supports this redevelopment renaissance and has authorized the redevelopment plan in the interest of furthering this trend.”

The site to the west is the South Cove Commons shopping center, to the north is the Bayonne Golf Club, and to the south and east are other industrial properties. Some surrounding “desolate” and “derelict” industrial sites and other neighboring areas are also seeing revitalization, akin to what is being proposed at this site.

A new warehouse facility is under construction at the Delta Self-Storage site across LeFante Way, another new warehouse is planned on the adjacent lot at the Accem Warehouse at 63 Hook Road, and warehouse renovations have been approved for Royal Wine at 63 LeFante Way, according to the redevelopment plan. The South Cove Commons shopping center is also currently undergoing renovations and is the subject of an “ambitious redevelopment plan,” according to the redevelopment plan.

The former Seahorse Express site is zoned for heavy industry, as well as some light industrial uses, and will remain that way under the redevelopment plan. In fact, the redeveloper has already made clear their intentions.

Plan necessary to allow remediation

Attorney for the redeveloper Michael Miceli previously told city council that they want to build a new warehouse on the property.

“They want to knock this building down. It’s the Seahorse facility on LeFante Way. It’s really dilapidated… We’re getting to the redevelopment plan stage… This will be a nice new facility,” Miceli said, confirming the site would likely be redeveloped into an industrial warehouse.

The owners had been trying to better the property, working to remediate the contaminated brownfield land with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, according to City Planner Suzanne Mack. The site was badly flooded during Superstorm Sandy and other storms, with the former Seahorse Express building suffering damage that is “financially infeasible” to repair. Additionally, the flooding also unearthed contaminants in the soil, making remediation necessary.

Mack previously said the owner is looking to keep their business in the city: “The owner is very committed to the project… They’re very anxious to stay in Bayonne.”

However, the site could only be further remediated and redeveloped with a redevelopment designation, according to Mack. Following that designation and approval, the redevelopment plan now needs to be approved. After that, the redeveloper will likely need final site plan approval from the Planning Board.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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