In recent years, nearly every Jersey City ward has seen an increase in development projects. However, neighborhoods in the city’s Ward B have largely escaped this trend, until now. Details have been released regarding a proposed residential development in the West Side area.
The ‘mixed-income’ project is proposed for 16 Bennett Street and 148-152 Clarke Avenue, just across Route 440 from the Hudson Mall, in the Water Street Redevelopment Plan Area. According to a public notice, the building is slated to be five stories tall, and will contain 63 residential rental units. A rendering of how the building is expected to look like when completed has been posted by Hoboken-based Minervini Vandermark Architecture. 57 of the units in the building will be market-rate, while the remaining six would be reserved for moderate-income residents. The notice states that 57 parking spaces will be provided on site, and that 16 Bennett Street Urban Renewal Company, LLC, of Hoboken, will construct the building.
City records show that the project’s preliminary and final major site plan was approved with deviations by the Jersey City Planning Board on June 14, 2016. Now, the development is set to receive a 20-year tax exemption from the City of Jersey City, according to the notice, which states that by making 10% of the units reserved for moderate-income residents, the tax exemption can last for 20 years as opposed to the 10 year standard as part of Tier II of the Jersey City Tax Abatement Policy Map. 16 Bennett Street Urban Renewal Company, LLC plans to pay an annual service charge based upon 11.5% of gross revenue, plus an annual fee to Hudson County based on 5% of the service change, as well as an administrative fee to the City of Jersey City based on 2% of the service charge.
The company is also expected to “provide employment and other economic opportunities for City residents and businesses” and provide a $114,465 contribution to the Jersey City Affordable Housing Trust Fund. According to the notice, 50 construction jobs and one permanent job are expected to be created as part of the development, which will reportedly “stabilize and contribute to the economic growth of businesses in the surrounding area.” 51% of those jobs are expected to go to Jersey City residents as part of the company’s project employment and contracting agreement with the City.
Currently the property, which is located within walking distance from Lincoln Park, the West Side Avenue business district, the West Bergen Branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library, and the West Side Avenue Station on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, is owned by Midtown Manhattan-based Leonis Partners, LLC, according to NJ Parcels records.
Although the lot is currently vacant and gated, in recent years, in was used for vehicle storage. Previously, it, along with another Leonis-owned property across Bennett Street, contained facilities used by Dye Specialties, Inc. as an ink plant, which, according to a 2003 report in The New York Times, would emit a purple dust that would spread into the surrounding community.