While Bayonne may regularly claim a $20 million structural deficit and has struggled with tax increases in recent years, city officials are making an effort to encourage significant redevelopment, some on sites that have been dormant for decades.
The city, a narrow peninsula sometimes criticized as an afterthought of Hudson County’s real estate boom, is now home to Park Bayonne, a new 60-unit luxury rental building by The L Group. Located at 1040 John F. Kennedy Boulevard across the street from Stephen Gregg Park, the seven-story structure towers above its surroundings which, like much of Bayonne, consists mostly of single-family homes.
Mayor Jim Davis has praised the development, saying it “represents the kind of investment that we want to see in Bayonne.” The complex is a mix of studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Studios rent at $1,900/month, while three-bedrooms in the building rent for $4,215/month.
Lance Lucarelli, head of The L Group, told the crowd at the ribbon cutting earlier this month that while some told him he was “crazy” for building Park Bayonne, he believes people are “going to see Bayonne change enormously in the next 6-7 months,” predicting that other builders will come in and help revitalize the city.
Lucarelli says the company will break ground in June on a nine-story, 88-unit building with retail on the ground floor at 46th Street and Broadway that will replace the former Resnick’s Hardware store. The L Group is also behind another project at 26 North Street, which was approved by the City Council in August despite controversy about its 22-story height. It will include 170 rental units and 3,900 square-feet of retail, also holding the distinction of being Bayonne’s tallest structure.
Though Bayonne’s core is seeing small signs of life, the biggest opportunity for development lies on the city’s waterfront. The two-mile long Military Ocean Terminal, currently a post-industrial, mostly barren landscape sandwiched between two Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stops, has overcome a long court battle and is on the cusp of potentially big changes.
Millburn-based Fidelco Realty Group expects to get things started this spring on the MOT’s northwestern portion when they break ground on Harbor Station North, a 400-unit building with 7,000 square feet of retail space. Future plans for the MOT are split up between four sections, tentatively scheduled to be built out over the next two years.
Collectively, plans on the former military base call for more than 2,500 residential units, a hotel, offices, an outdoor retail center, extensions to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, pedestrian improvements and ferry service to New York City, something Bayonne currently lacks.
Just south of the MOT and adjacent to the Bayonne Bridge, Kaplan Companies is planning to build a mix of more than 1,200 condominium and rental units on the long-abandoned Texaco site. Dubbed The Promenade at Bayonne, the $500 million project will redevelop a former gasoline storage and refinery plant. The 44-acre property is currently being raised out of a flood plain, with construction on the first 300-unit phase slated for the spring.
As part of the local government’s effort to spurn development on Bayonne’s vacant lots, DMR Architects has been hired to produce a new master plan, focusing particularly on areas near the city’s four light rail stations. While Bayonne lacks certain transit and walkability factors that have led to enormous growth in neighboring Jersey City, some degree of change appears imminent in the Peninsula City.