One of the largest redevelopment projects in New Jersey is moving forward with a local municipality at the helm, as 95 acres of remediated land will soon be purchased by Jersey City.
The property, known as Bayfront, is sandwiched between the Hudson Mall and Society Hill off Route 440. A long industrial history caused chromium contamination of the land to linger for decades, liabilities that Honeywell inherited in 1999.
In 2008, Jersey City agreed to a settlement with Honeywell on a cleanup plan, which has been completed. Officials then passed the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan that same year and while Jersey City owns sections of the property, part of the land is still owned by Honeywell.
Over the summer, officials had weighed several options for Bayfront, eventually deciding on the boldest one. Under that vision, the city would purchase the land, install needed infrastructure, and then sell off parcels to developers. As many as 8,000 residential units could be created, and Mayor Fulop has said utilizing this method could help the city push for a share of affordable housing as high as 35 percent.
An ordinance authorizing just that was approved by the city council by a 7-2 vote on October 10, with Councilmen Yun and Boggiano voting no. Following the move, the city will bond for $170 million to execute the project, designating $90 million to buy Honeywell’s portion of the land. An additional $71 million will go toward the design and construction of roadways, sewer and water lines, storm water drainage, traffic control devices, and electrical and gas infrastructure at the property, and another $6 million will be set aside for demolition of certain structures at the property.
The ordinance seeks to “maximize the number affordable housing units to the Bayfront I Redevelopment Area, allow the City to have flexibility in implementing the goals of the Redevelopment Plan, and permit the City to structure the redevelopment of the Bayfront I Redevelopment Area in a way that best serves the interests of the City.” About 23 acres of open space are planned for the project, and Honeywell will continue to retain responsibility for any further remediation of chromium under the agreement.
In August, the council approved the creation of an advisory board to help guide the Bayfront Redevelopment project, which consists of city officials and four community members who will oversee the process. The sale of the Bayfront property to Jersey City is expected to be completed by the end of the year.