One of the most problematic abandoned properties in Jersey City is still bogged down in legal proceedings but recent court moves have signaled a resolution could emerge in the coming months.
The saga of 125 Monitor Street has been ongoing for at least a decade. The 2.2-acre property, home to a derelict warehouse, has been cited for dozens of code violations going back many years despite being located within one of Jersey City’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.
The parcel changed hands in 2020 after a Clifton-based company named 125 Monitor Street JC LLC purchased it. But a DEP report from August of that year noted that there are still potentially dangerous materials present in the land’s soil including arsenic, copper, lead, petroleum hydrocarbons, tetrachloroethene (PCE), and trichloroethene (TCE).
The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) moved to acquire the land via eminent domain in late 2021, filing a lawsuit in support of the move. The current ownership group fired back just days later with their own complaint alleging that the JCRA is stalling their plans.
The current owners of 125 Monitor Street claimed in the filing that they submitted an application to the JCRA including plans for a school, market, affordable housing, and preservation of the historic building at the property. But their case says that rather than giving the application a good-faith review, the JCRA “returned it without any consideration whatsoever.”
The dueling lawsuits have now been consolidated in Hudson County Superior Court and Judge Jeffrey Jablonski issued an order in January last year dictating that the JCRA deposit $2.86 million with the court to acquire the land. The owners of 125 Monitor Street are appealing that decision, presumably to argue that the property is worth more.
The court had scheduled a trial later this month on February 21 to hash out the issues, but Judge Jablonski has officially canceled those proceedings.
The cancellation came following a January 26 letter submitted to the court by JCRA’s counsel noting that “the parties and condemnation commissioners have not yet convened a hearing for the purpose of determining just compensation” for the city’s purchase of 125 Monitor Street.
The trial has been postponed until that hearing occurs, although an exact date as to when that could happen was not outlined in the JCRA’s letter. The lawsuits stemming from 125 Monitor Street have now been dragging on for two years and the property owner’s appeal of the judge’s order is over a year outstanding.
125 Monitor Street is situated in a prominent location near Liberty State Park and a stop on the Hudson Bergen Light Rail in Jersey City’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood. Modern developments have risen all around the property in the area despite the standstill.