The northern end of Jersey City’s downtown has historically been somewhat of a ‘no man’s land,’ in part due to the Holland Tunnel’s infrastructure cutting it off from the more developed sections. But new projects are being planned and popping up in the area, even if a few questions remain about when they’ll get done.
The north end has some obvious construction like the Strategic Capital’s Park and Shore project and both the SoHo Lofts and Ellipse developments are slated to finish up later this year. But it appears LeFrak, the company behind most of the Newport neighborhood, is looking to build at one of their more western parcels at 220 Eighteenth Street.
A few weeks ago, a sign went up at the property depicting LeFrak’s vision for the land. The vacant lot, at the intersection of 18th and Grove Street, spans almost an entire block and abuts tracks for the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and the Hoboken border. The company seems to be planning a two-midrise project with a very long base between the structures.
Despite the sign, representatives for LeFrak had no official comment on the property yet. But there has also been some stirring at the company’s Pier Six Project. The property, which a century ago actually contained a sheep slaughterhouse, has been used mostly for storing construction equipment in recent years. But LeFrak has been looking to develop the land into customizable Class-A office space that would consist of one or two buildings rising between 10 and 17 stories.
Construction activity has begun at the pier, seemingly to stabilize the structure itself. LeFrak has said in the past that they were waiting to sign a tenant before building the project, but one hasn’t been announced and the company again declined to comment. Plans are supposedly fully approved and permitted at the site, which could range from 300,000 to 1.25 million square feet and would also build a park and plaza on the pier.
Further west from the waterfront, the redevelopment of the former Emerson Radio factory has taken some steps forward. The property at 301 16th Street had been the subject of proposed zoning changes that would preserve the northern portion of the property and rebuild the southern portion with an added mezzanine and loft levels that could rise 26 stories at their tallest point. The Planning Board recommended implementing the Emerson District changes to an existing redevelopment plan at their February 14th meeting, which the City Council signed off on last week.
As part of the deal, the city would get a 29,000-square foot space in the building for public use, which would be deeded to them for $1. Mayor Steve Fulop mentioned in a State of the City speech that officials want to see a new police station in the space, which would replace a 126-year old facility on 7th Street.
Manhattan Building Company, the owner of the factory, still needs to present official plans for the project and gain approval, but all the pieces are in place for that to happen and the mayor, by including the police station proposal in his speech, seems confident that the deal will get done.