Although most of the new residential projects that have been constructed across Jersey City in the last several years have been the work of private for-profit companies, a local non-profit organization is continuing to be involved in the city’s development trend.
Founded by Bishop John L Knight of the Heavenly Temple Church Of God in Christ, the Community Outreach Team, Inc. (COT) has been serving the Greenville neighborhood for 27 years. According to the organization’s website, it aims “to empower individuals for sustainable success,” and offers a variety of services to the community, from technological and job training to affordable housing options. For example, COT has sponsored the Total Development Summer Camp for children in the neighborhood, and renovated the previously vacant Albert A. Lewis Apartment Building at 60 Martin Luther King Drive.
Now, the organization is planning its largest development yet in the Greenville neighborhood. According to records from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, a new mixed-use community is being proposed by COT for properties including 1, 11, 14, 15-19, and 21 Martin Luther King Drive, 129 and 131 Warner Avenue, and 30 and 32 McAdoo Avenue, all of which are situated within Ward A. Although some of the properties are under COT’s ownership, others are either owned privately by the Sesta family or the Heavenly Temple Church of God in Christ, but they are all listed as being under contract to the organization.
Under the plans, there would be 225 units, or 229,666 square feet of residential space, a 12,600 square foot multipurpose community center, an 11,320 square foot employment training center and gym facility, and a 21,200 square foot space that would either be used for commercial or medical purposes. 223 parking spaces would also be provided on the property. The 225 units would include studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units. While 85 of these apartments would be available to the public at market-rate prices, 70 would be designated as affordable and the remaining 70 would be restricted to senior citizens.
During its meeting on September 19th, the JCRA’s Board of Commissioners officially designated COT as the redeveloper of these properties, which are situated within the Jackson Hill Redevelopment Area. The sites currently contain two gated parking lots, a church and community center, a one-story industrial building, two abandoned houses, and a vacant lot. They are situated within a half-mile of Public School 34, the Greenville Branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library, Ferris Park, and several businesses. New Jersey Transit’s Bus 87 to Hoboken Terminal and Journal Square stop directly in front, and Buses 10 and 119 to Bayonne and Manhattan stop just a block away.