A company that has owned a Mile Square City office facility for almost two decades is looking to create over 500,000 square feet of live/work/play space that will expand an existing building, add new public greenery, construct medical offices, and create multi-family housing along the Jersey City border.
Last night, JDA Group appeared before Hoboken’s zoning board to present their vision for several parcels they own at 50 Harrison Street. Locals know the address as home to the Mission 50 co-working spaces, a property that initially housed the Cut-Rite Wax Paper Company when it was first built in 1935.
JDA Group has partnered with Philadelphia-based Erdy McHenry Architecture, landscape architect Roofmeadow, and marketing agency QuallsBenson on a project they dub The Boundary. The property, which falls within Hoboken’s Southwest Redevelopment Plan, could soon be home to a mixed-use development that embraces the “vertical neighborhood” concept and maximizes the potential of the complex site.
“In its heyday, Southwest Hoboken was a magnet for the manufacture, warehousing and shipment of baking-related and other products,” says Greg Dell’Aquila, CEO of JDA Group. “Today the district is performing far below its potential, despite a regional economic resurgence. This project would generate new commercial tax ratables, bolster property values and put this neighborhood back on the map, while helping to secure its future.”
The Boundary has several components, the first of which involves a renovation and two-story expansion to the Mission 50 building. The proposal would create a 13,792-square-foot multi-purpose event facility while pulling old stucco off the current building, bringing the property back to its former industrial roots.
Larger windows more in tune with the structure’s history are slated to be installed and the ground floor of the building would have three restaurant spaces totaling 6,485 square feet plus an additional 6,227 square feet of retail. The second and third floors will remain for tenants and Dell’Aquila told Jersey Digs that he intends to keep current businesses housed at the property.
The Boundary’s second element would construct a new six-story medical arts building on a western portion of a current parking lot. The property’s ground floor would sport one 3,885-square-foot retail area, while the remaining stories are intended for clinical or office use. A 7,000-square-foot green roof is included in the plans.
The third feature of the development would create a four-story parking garage with 246 spaces that includes 7,120 square feet of retail on the ground floor. The roof of the structure would build a unique amenity for the community as a high-concept public rooftop park is proposed and would include several tilted lawns plus a bar and restaurant space that faces the greenery.
The fourth component of The Boundary falls over the border in Jersey City and was approved in December 2020. It calls for a curved thirteen-story residential building sporting angled structural columns and is set to contain 192 residential units and about 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
The elevated park is to be linked to the existing Mission 50 building via a sky bridge and the public would be able to access the space via monumental stairs or an elevator in the parking garage. The street level between the proposed buildings would be revitalized into pedestrian-friendly corridors complete with pavers and landscaping.
The project would also recreate a vacated portion of Marshall Street to be accessed via Observer Highway to allow for improved vehicle access. Several green components like landscaped roofs and sidewalk bump-outs to absorb rainwater are included in the plan, which would feature an underground detention system capable of storing 40,000 gallons of rainwater.
Dell’Aquila says the project hopes to make the neighborhood a true destination and was designed to activate the streetscape in a corner of the city that sees little foot traffic. The proposal needs several variances to move forward, including one for eight additional feet in height related to the expansion of the current building.
The medical arts and parking components are currently zoned for two stories and would need deviations for four and two floors, respectively. Other variances related to a lower roof terrace, maximum roof deck coverage, setbacks, and parking would need to be granted to move the project forward.
Dell’Aquila says if approvals are obtained, the residential portion in Jersey City is to be constructed first and followed by the garage and rooftop park space. The medical arts building and expansion at Mission 50 would follow.
Testimony on the project was taken during the March 23 meeting and the board is slated to hear more about the proposal in the future. The Boundary’s application is scheduled to be reviewed again during the board’s April 27 meeting.