The City of Jersey City has transformed four shipping containers in a parking lot in Bergen-Lafayette into a “micro-entrepreneurial venture” that they’re calling “Container Village.” The offices are meant to provide affordable space for small businesses and artists.
Mayor Steven Fulop hosted a ribbon cutting on Wednesday at the location, at 342 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a three-block walk from the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive light rail stop.
The lot is across the street from the new $188 million Jackson Square hub, which contains municipal offices.
Earlier this year, various city departments converted the four containers by adding lighting, electricity, heating, air conditioning, and aesthetic changes such as windows, signage, and greenery on the roofs to absorb rainwater.
After that, the village was ready to accept small business owners such as Nia Reid-Allen, who previously sold apparel to new moms at street fairs. Now she has an 8-by-20-foot space to grow her business.
Participating entrepreneurs also include Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez, who started an infrared sauna studio downtown and is running a pop-up location at the Village throughout November. “At this space, we will be educating the community on infrared heat therapy and alternative holistic health methods,” she notes on her website. “We are striving to provide affordable health and wellness services to this underserved area in our city. Additionally, we aim to build a community presence in an effort to participate in the facilitation of economic growth in this area while also encouraging shopping local and the support of minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.”
Mayor Fulop said this week, “Container Village is a cost-effective initiative to not only bolster our efforts supporting new and growing small businesses, but also expanding upon our investment to revitalize the area, bringing tangible change, stimulating the local economy, and ultimately encouraging future business opportunities as well. Our investment into this area, along MLK Drive, is an investment that will benefit the community as a whole.”
Michele Massey, the executive director of the Jackson Hill Special Improvement District (SID), said, “We have partnered with the city to create a unique and innovative support system for local residents looking to launch their business ventures. We’re also working to offer mentoring and educational elements for the participants with the help of the city’s Office of Diversity Inclusion, the Hudson County Office of Minority and Women-owned Enterprises, and the Economic Development Corporations on both the city and county level.”
“This entire project along MLK Drive is good for the community,” said Councilwoman at Large Joyce Watterman. “This was part of our objective from day one, to get things moving in the right direction with more foot traffic here and various business interests going on as we work to revitalize the area.”