One developer is continuing with plans to transform Aetna Street in Jersey City’s Ward F from being an isolated and desolate block at the edge of a wetlands area to becoming the center of a new neighborhood.
The street, which is located off of Jersey Avenue just south of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail tracks, currently looks more like a slice of the Meadowlands than a corridor that is just a short walk from train, bus, and ferry service, Liberty State Park, Liberty Harbor, and the Van Vorst Park neighborhood. Drivers traveling along Route 78 towards the Holland Tunnel can observe that Aetna Street is lined with abandoned industrial buildings, vacant lots, and overgrown shrubbery. Located along Morris Canal Basin, this quiet and previously contaminated stretch sits in stark contrast to the growing skyline along the Hudson River waterfront just a few blocks away.
Soon however, the trend of development that nearby parts of Jersey City are seeing is set to come to Aetna Street and its surrounding lots. As Jersey Digs has reported, Midtown Manhattan-based Argent Ventures has been acquiring property and development rights in the area. We broke the news in January that the company intends to create a massive new community with over 2,000 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and a public recreation area called Crescent Park. Plus, it was revealed in April that Argent Ventures is planning two new buildings with a combined 375 units at 41 and 52 Aetna Street.
Now, there is another proposal by Argent Ventures for the block. According to records from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), the agency’s Board of Commissioners designated Argent Ventures-owned 8 Aetna Street, LLC as the developer of 8, 26, and 36-44 Aetna Street, as well as a neighboring property along Jersey Avenue, during its meeting on September 19th. The company is planning to construct a mixed-use development at the site, according to the resolution, which would include around 280 residential rental units, parking, and retail space on the ground floor.
The resolution states that the area’s redevelopment plan will need to be amended to allow for changes in the street grid, renumbering of blocks, and building heights, but that “the redeveloper will comply with all requirements from a design and construction standpoint as indicted [sic] in the plan.” Argent Ventures is also required to pay for all of the JCRA’s costs for the project. All present members of the JCRA’s Board of Commissioners voted to approve this designation during the meeting.
Argent Ventures was founded and is owned by Andrew Penson. The company, which owns office buildings across the metropolitan area and is developing Baldwin Place in Jersey City, is best known for having owned Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal and the Capitol Records Building in Los Angeles. It also used to own the Manhattan Mall on 33rd Street.