Development Proposal at 107 New York Avenue Sparks Neighborhood Outcry

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107 New York Avenue Jersey City Rendering 3
Current design for 107 New York Avenue, The Heights, Jersey City. Rendering by MVMK Architecture.

Revitalization plans for a dilapidated warehouse that involve significant upward expansion of the structure have been met with opposition in The Heights, and the community made their voices heard at a meeting last week that unveiled the latest development scheme.

The property in question is currently home to a two-story industrial building that rises about 28 feet at 107 New York Avenue. Spanning a full city block and over half an acre, its location is directly next to one of the main roadway entrances to the neighborhood. The parcel is owned by a company simply called MJSMS LLC and is an active warehouse.

107 New York Avenue Jersey City Rendering 1
View from Ravine Avenue. Rendering by MVMK Architecture.

Many months ago, the owner worked with MVMK Architecture on a proposal that would create 128 residential units and 61 parking spaces in an 18-story building. The developer had initially pitched a community center in the building’s base, while the city approached the developer about building recreational space at a different site.

A new outpost for the Boys and Girls Club was attached at one point, but the plans were never finalized and have now been scrapped. When approached to discuss potential givebacks, The Riverview Neighborhood Association deferred to their official stance of “consistent and long-standing opposition to building high-rise structures in The Heights”.

107 New York Avenue Jersey City Heights 4
Original design. Rendering by MVMK Architecture.

Last Thursday, a lawyer for the developer and MVMK’s Anthony Vandermark hosted a fairly animated meeting where they presented new plans for the site. They are significantly scaled back but still larger than the existing R-1 zoning in the neighborhood allows. The new proposal rises nine total stories and looks to adaptively reuse the existing warehouse by restoring and adding a masonry façade to the two-story exterior.

The original structure would then be used as a podium for a glass-heavy residential component that’s set back a bit from the current warehouse and would feature composite aluminum. 96 total units, consisting of mostly one- and two-bedrooms, would be included in the project, which lacks any studio apartments.

107 New York Avenue Jersey City Rendering 2
Looking east. Rendering by MVMK Architecture.

68 parking spaces for cars and 62 spots for bicycles are included in the plan, as are three separate retail spaces. They include a 5,000-square-foot space at the intersection of New York Avenue and Ferry Street, a 2,500-square-foot spot at New York and Ravine Avenues, and a 3,500-square-foot storefront at Webster and Ravine Avenues.

Amenities in the current 107 New York Avenue project would include a 6,000-square-foot green roof that sports a common area for residents. Several private roof decks would be built on the third floor of the new building using the top of the existing warehouse, and a stormwater detention system is included in the plans.

The building qualifies as a high-rise under New Jersey state law, so both a height and use variance would be needed from Jersey City’s zoning board to move the project forward. However, the lawyer for the developer stressed during the meeting that plans have not been submitted to the city yet, and the Riverview Neighborhood Association has already stated they oppose the project in its current form.

An attorney for the owner of 107 New York Avenue indicated after the meeting that the plan won’t be moving forward as is, but Jersey Digs will continue to monitor this project as any changes are made.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. That looks great, but the original design was much better. They should go back to the original design, and forget the crazy NIMBYs.

  2. Not a bad looking building. Hopefully the developer won’t abandon, an a unit compromise can be had.
    Sorry, but as a local home owner these these are the structures That drive the neighborhood in the correct direction

  3. Holy moly that’s one ugly building, someone should lose their architectural license! Completely over-sized for the Heights, I mean just look at the original rendering (which actually looks way better)…look at the size of the building compared to all the other buildings around it. It looks completely out of place and towers over everything. I’m not always a fan of RNA but I agree with them on this one. Ridiculous proposal with a hideous building. 2 thumbs and 2 toes down

  4. I think it’s gorgeous. And there is a step back so from the street it will look like a 2 story… It’s modern and sophisticated!

  5. I quite like the original design but this is a bit fucked up looking. I like most everything MVMK has designed but this one isn’t happening for me. It’s clunky, awkward, maladroit. Just a bad example of post modernism. I don’t mind the height but this design is just inelegant and charmless.

  6. Hope it’s toned down just a bit more… original wasn’t that bad. Whatever they put in, if they add a GYM in the bottom floor for the community I would fully support it. The Heights doesn’t have a proper gym in the town and it would be a huge benefit.

  7. The gym is a fantastic idea. Doesn’t even have to be a community gym. Maybe just discounted to cost for Heights residents? I dont know. Spit balling.
    If they take the first design but add the set back from the second, BUILD

  8. At 18 stories, my first thought was, there’s nothing even half that size in the Heights neighborhood. Now come to think of it, even the revised 9-story building makes me think almost the same. 9 stories seems out of character for that neighborhood.

    And, that is one ugly building.

  9. Original plan was garish and “sore thumb.” Revised one pleases my eye. But it still too big to fit in with its surroundings, though that might not be a bad thing in this specific location. The thing none of the comments address is that its neighbors fear its density and what that will mean for the area’s infrastructure, both physical like sewers and water and less tangible, like crowded bus transit and added traffic. Buses are already over capacity in rush hour and gridlock is a problem. Don’t think it’s time to build with no regard for the problems increased density brings.

  10. Second design is better than first. Still at least one floor too tall for the neighborhood. And adding at least 98 more people to this block will be detrimental, traffic-wise and sewer-wise and transit-wise. Just unchecked greed driving this and so much else.

  11. SO out of place for this neighborhood. Anyone who lives here or has spent time here can tell you this is completely wrong. The only ones who like it are the developers and real estate agents who stand to make money from it. Please…take this building to Newport, JSQ, Downtown, etc….These greedy hands don’t belong in the Heights.

  12. Second proposal looks good. Developer should continue forward in spite of the NIMBYs. Too tall for the neighborhood is the logic for disliking it? This project is a lot more appealing than many of the 2 family & condo new builds going up on 25×100 lots, and the specific location at NY Ave is a complete eyesore currently. This would be a huge improvement. Not to mention the 3 large-sized commercial spaces that this part of the neighborhood could really use….

    • 3 large size commercial spaces when TONS of storefronts large and small sit completely empty on Palisade and on Central? Also, people seem to entirely miss the point that this is a low-rise mostly residential neighborhood. Nice building (2nd version) but a complete mismatch in terms of scale for where it is.

      • Where’s the empty retail space on Palisade? Retail space for 500 Palisade sold immediately, Gallery Lofts will do the same. If you’re referring to the couple of abandoned buildings on Palisade that’s a different issue entirely.

        Large commercial spaces would be a nice fit in this direct location as a restaurant or gym (as others have mentioned) would do well here. While yes there is plenty of retail on Central there is a dearth of larger square foot commercial spaces, particularly in this part of town……

        I do understand that this mostly a low rise neighborhood. My comment was that the 2nd building was appealing, much more so than many of the new low rise builds that local developers are putting up.

  13. Absolutely insane. Area already has a most serious parking problem (68 planned parking facilities under or about the building are not enough). Just imagine that the building could really consist of perhaps 140 or more people and more than 100 autos. Rush hour traffic on New York Avenue, Webster Avenue and Palisade Avenue is already intense. The retail areas will make it much worse. Surrounding homes will be receiving less sunlight. During past years, a large number of double lots featuring one home have been split into two lots for the convenience of greedy developers to erect cheaply-built two story homes. Why doesn’t the City get real for a change and simply create a neighborhood parking lot from this property, something badly needed now!

  14. I want to remind our neighbors that with this retail space, we as neighbors don’t dictate what goes in this space (such as a gym). It’s all dependent on WHO can afford to go in that space. For example, at 500 Palisade, everyone had high hopes of a restaurant or retail. What is going in there is another daycare center. And let’s say we did get a gym in that space, the amount that everyone would have to pay in order for the gym to be able to stay in that space will be astronomical. And then good luck parking for any of the retail there. The only lot for retail near there is Supremo’s lot, and they are not going to be too pleased with people parking there and shopping behind them…

  15. The first rendering is pure insanity and very ugly. I actually like the revised proposal, but that location is a traffic nightmare. A new light would certainly be required at NY Ave.

    I have a different vision development and “progress of the neighborhood.” The most successful new construction projects have been small lots, 2-3 story, typically with a garage in the center and separate townhouse entrances on left and right. They might not fit in architecturally, but they at least match the profile and style of the surrounding buildings in the neighborhood.

    The heights will never be Newport, Grove Street or JSQ, nor should it be. We do not have the transportation infrastructure for 10+ story, soulless mixed use apartment buildings that have gone up like wild fire downtown. Our neighborhood will always have a quieter feel to it.

    BTW – I have no idea how the path is going to support all that new development. It’s already unbearable during rush hour.

    • I agree with many of your points and agree that the Heights should not aim to be Newport/JSQ/Grove version 2.0. However, this building would replace a dilapidated industrial building. Added retail or restaurants on this side of the Heights would be welcomed. The Heights is a massive area as a whole, and can certainly absorb the density of this building. I’m not saying it should go the route of Downtown and go wild with zoning exceptions and huge buildings. But on a case-by-case basis this one (in my personal opinion!) would be a beneficial project for the neighborhood

  16. So after viewing the architect’s video of this building I’m going to walk back my criticism as I’ve rather warmed up to it esp the the view from Ravine Ave as well the rooftop green spaces. It now actually reminds me of possibly something by someone like Rem Koolhaas. I really can appreciate that the architect is avoiding a basic boring glass box of a building and is trying for something more dynamic. I am, therefore, giving this building my seal of approval.

  17. I also see that there is a video of the meeting that was posted above that I overlooked-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlxmuUjLRJk&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR33ULnPJ5l6tJ94NQ4P7sxX7_A_e7n6zAcXR5WWMPTSAav01vA-WCpBqQo

    RNA and PF might be the loudest and most vocal and obnoxious community groups but they only speak for themselves not the Heights community as a whole. One can see from the sampling of comments above that a lot of people would be in favor going forward with something like the MVMK design in spite of the blathering twaddle of a few people in a non elected community group.

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