HAP Investments Sues Jersey City Over Alleged Stalling at 500 Summit Avenue

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Hap Investments 500 Summit Avenue Jersey City 2
Proposed development: 500 Summit Avenue, Journal Square, Jersey City. Rendering via Centra Ruddy Architecture.

Legal action has officially been taken over a 42-story development that has been planned in the Journal Square neighborhood, as the company behind the project claims that Jersey City has unfairly denied them permits that would let them begin construction at the site.

The development in question would rise on the east side of Summit Avenue between Sip and Magnolia Avenues just a block from the area’s PATH station. Designed by Centra Ruddy Architecture, the high-rise building is set to contain 740 rental units, 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and 200 parking spaces.

The site plan as currently designed completely conforms to existing zoning regulations under the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan. But according to the property owners, who are legally designated as 500 Summit Avenue Mazal LLC and a subsidiary of HAP Investments, Jersey City officials have yet to hold a planning board hearing on their application despite them submitting it almost a year ago.

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In a lawsuit filed in Hudson County court on September 25, the company says they handed over all the documentation that was required of them to Jersey City’s Division of Planning on November 8, 2017. After a 45-day period of review expired in December last year, HAP claims they met in February with planning officials who had a few questions about the project’s height, but nonetheless stated to them that the application would be deemed complete.

Hap Investments 500 Summit Avenue Jersey City 1
Proposed development: 500 Summit Avenue, Journal Square, Jersey City. Rendering via Centra Ruddy Architecture.

However, HAP says in their complaint that no determination of completeness has been made. The lawsuit claims that on May 25, the city council recognized a notice of default HAP’s lawyers sent them that documented the city not deciding the completeness of HAP’s application.

Following that acknowledgment, HAP says in their case that they again submitted four sets of plans for the 500 Summit Avenue project to the planning department on August 13 of this year, only to be told by Planning Director Tanya Marione that she did not have the authority to approve the plans as submitted. She also told HAP’s counsel that the city believed the application was never deemed complete.

The application for 500 Summit Avenue has indeed not yet been heard by Jersey City’s planning board, which HAP’s lawyers claim violates state laws on the matter. “The planning board of the City of Jersey City was required to grant or deny the application within 95 days of December 23, 2017, or no later than March 28, 2018,” the complaint says. “That simply did not occur, despite [our] best efforts to engage the city in a timely review.”

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the city council and several other officials, including current head of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce Annisia Cialone, Director of City Planning Tanya Marione, Construction Code Official Raymond Meyer, Planning Board Chairman Christopher Langston, and Planning Board Secretary Matthew Ward.

HAP seeks a ruling for the “issuance of any and all construction permits to complete its development project.” A spokesperson for the city declined to speak on the matter, citing their policy to not comment on ongoing litigation.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Also, the citizens of Jersey City should be suing their own city government for this outrageous zoning plan in the JSQ area. Not even NYC has such outrageously open zoning. And NYC has serious infrastructure, unlike JC. The JSQ zoning plan is an outrageous farce. The state needs to step in now and temporarily dissolve Jersey City’s zoning powers now before it is too late. The State of NJ must take the unpopular action in the midst of this feeding frenzy.

  2. Embarrassing. It seems like the city government wants Journal Square to remain a wasteland in perpetuity. Issue the permits and move these projects along. Good grief.

  3. All these comments calling for the development of another eyesore that JC can’t handle… I bet the people behind these comments have no agenda whatsoever… nope! None here!

  4. Wow, all the comments supporting HAP and pushing for the development of yet another high-rise that JC can’t handle. I can’t imagine who would be behind these comments… nope, not a single idea.

  5. They probably are taking bribes like they always do .from people they know let HAP begin their construction.asap.stop manipulating the system.

  6. shane, the city already lost one lawsuit fighting the developer on this. Looks like they’re gunning for a second loss, all at the expense of Jersey City taxpayers. I live on Magnolia, and I’m a supporter of development on this site (sans the ridiculous park). Magnolia can be sketchy, especially near Journal Square. This development will help bring new life into the area like the Journal Squared towers have already done. It’s nice what they’ve been able to accomplish so far.

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