Two Big Developments Could Dramatically Transform Itty-Bitty Edgewater

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Edgewater Evan Bindelglass
The borough of Edgewater as seen from the Fort Lee Historic Park on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Photo by Evan Bindelglass/Jersey Digs.

Bergen County’s only real Hudson River waterfront community is on the verge of a major change, or not. Two large-scale redevelopment projects, with a total of over 3,700 units, have been proposed in Edgewater, but they are far from good to go and there are some very real concerns.

615 River Road Rendering
Rendering for the former Hess site at 615 River Road in Edgewater. Credit: FXFOWLE via New York Times.

One project is planned on the former Hess transfer station site at 615 River Road, according to the New York Times, straddling the municipality’s main thoroughfare just south of Trader Joe’s and the relatively new SoJo Spa.

Hess Edgewater Evan Bindelglass
The former Hess site in Edgewater, N.J. as seen from the Sojo spa in November 2017. Photo by Evan Bindelglass/Jersey Digs.

There would be 1,863 apartments in five high-rise buildings, including 375 units for low-to-moderate income tenants, two new parks, an elementary school, a waterfront esplanade, and a new ferry terminal. The Denver-based EnviroFinance Group and the Manhattan-based Maxal Group are the developers there.

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The other project is south of there at 115 River Road, according to New York YIMBY, immediately south of the City Place mixed-use complex.

115 River Road Rendering
Rendering of 115 River Road in Edgewater. Image via New York YIMBY.

The proposal calls for four buildings ranging from 595 to 714 feet in height, all sitting atop a 50-foot-tall podium. (The tallest building in Edgewater today doesn’t even reach 25 stories.) There would be 1,919 units, planned as a mix of rentals and condominiums. Local Fred Daibes is the developer there.

Quanta Resources Edgewater Evan Bindelglass
The Quanta Resources site at 115 River Road as seen on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Photo by Evan Bindelglass/Jersey Digs.

This is the Quanta Resources Superfund site. The remediation, led by Honeywell, is “going well,” the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tayler Covington told Jersey Digs.

“EPA is overseeing the treatment of about 8,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from a portion of the site,” he said. “This soil is being treated using a process called in situ solidification. The process involves adding cement to the contaminated soil using an auger or excavator bucket. The mixed material will harden into a solidified mass, locking up arsenic, coal tar, and waste oil, and preventing groundwater from moving through it.” Removal is slated to continue into February of 2018, with capping later in the year.

The borough of Edgewater occupies only 0.935 square miles of land (and 1.486 square miles of water) and houses 11,513 people, according to the 2010 census. Its two schools only serve kindergarten through sixth grade. Middle and high school students are bussed to the Leonia school system.

Edgewater Welcome Sign Evan Bindelglass
A welcome sign on the border between Edgewater and Fort Lee as seen on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Photo by Evan Bindelglass/Jersey Digs.

With that information in mind, one has to ask whether the infrastructure could handle so much new development, be it the school system, the police force, utilities, and, of course, traffic in a 3.5-mile-long town with one already very busy main road.

Mayor Michael McPartland, who has served since 2015, has come out against at least the Hess site proposal. He has moved to seize the 19 acres via eminent domain “to construct a new Department of Public Works building and a public park,” the Times reported. He said the development would increase the borough’s population by 30 percent.

“It’s not a residential parcel. I keep wondering, what happens when they flush the toilets? It would kill the infrastructure. It’s just too much,” he said.

There is a dispute between the mayor and developer Edward K. Elanjian over who has refused to meet with whom, but the developer has teamed up with the Fair Share Housing Center to sue the borough. They argue there’s an unfulfilled obligation to honor the state’s Mount Laurel affordable housing requirement. Quanta redeveloper Daibes also supports this project.

Jersey Digs has reached out to the mayor for comment, particularly on the Quanta site. We’ll let you know if and when we hear from him.

Either way, we’ll keep you posted on what happens at the north end of New Jersey’s Gold Coast.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Quanta Site is not Removal. They are treating and leaving in place.

    Both sites are massive and out of scale for the community. Neither addresses the lack of infrastructure.

    For example, We had to wait 15 minutes one night for the fire department to arrive to an emergency

  2. Amazing how all the toxic contamination throughout Hudson County and up into part of Bergen has been totally forgotten. No accident that all local newspapers are owned by real estate interests. “A funny thing happened on the way to the real estate boom”. Now the area is covered in whole foods and traders named Joe and all is well. My advice is to rent, not buy. God knows what lies beneath. If an owner, you are liable.

  3. The whole Jersey side of the Hudson River used to be considered one of the most contaminated places on earth. Now it is the Gold Coast. The transformation has mostly to do with propaganda and ownership of media outlets. There has not been an article about chromium contamination in the local media for years! Buyer beware!

  4. Why are Hoboken, Manhattan, or Brooklyn good with infrastructure, restaurants, services (banks, cabs/uber), etc. Answer is in have critical mass of population. City will get more taxes to build better infrastructure. Leads to more option for everything. Seen many restaurants in Trader’s Joe complex open and close soon (Mavi, some chicken, India and Mediterranean restaurants). Local jobs will increase. More ferries will run – new terminal and more frequency fron existing.

    More supply will keep prices from not going up. See California where construction is controlled, has seen prices go up sharply.

    Other option is Edgewater to take 25 million dollars of debt. We the residents will pay for that!!

    • There is one road in and out of the town-how does creating a critical mass of people help that? Restaurants close because the majority of restaurants close, it’s a tough business. Also, Hoboken is not a great example to support your point-Washington Street spits out small businesses because they can’t handle the obscenely high leases. I’m for affordable housing and smart development, but these proposals are way out of scale with the infrastructure and the aesthetics of the area.

  5. As an Edgewater resident, I have to say that I’m totally against any more development. The developers don’t give a damn about people who live here. They tell lies at the city council meetings about how they’re going to “enhance” our town, but do just the opposite once they get the OK. The SoJo Spa is party central, and traffic is so backed up on River Road that what used to be a 10 min trip from Trader Joe’s is now double that. Also, they don’t even give residents a discount for causing the inconvenience and making our lives miserable. It’s also unsafe. River Road is the ONLY road, and in an emergency…I hope I’m out of town when it happens. Traffic is already at critical, even without any high rises. I hope the mayor stops the developers this time. I was already feeling like someone got a kickback from SoJo’s developers to allow them to build with no designated parking. Valet parking from River Road is NOT WORKING!

  6. Here’s more detail article about the lawsuit.

    https://newyorkyimby.com/2017/12/extraordinary-nimby-corruption-detailed-in-new-complaint-against-borough-of-edgewater-new-jersey.html

    It’s clear that Fred Daibes has teamed up with the Major and his cabinets who by the way have close tie with Daibes and they been given Daibes monopoly over the luxury home building, and in return, they all got a favor back from Daibes including low rent that Major is paying to live on his luxury 3bedroom apt built by Daibes.
    It’s ok to build on quanta site after toxic removal but not ok to build on old Hess site?? these guys are big time crooks. They need to go to Jail.

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