Jersey City Getting Tough Over Neglected 125 Monitor Street Site

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125 Monitor Lafayette Jersey City Drone
Derelict 125 Monitor Street (center) sits in stark contrast to the brand new construction surrounding it. Photo by Darrell Simmons/Jersey Digs.

Following years of litigation and property maintenance citations that have gone unaddressed, Jersey City has ramped up efforts to hold the owners of a derelict Bergen-Lafayette warehouse accountable for the blight being inflicted on the area.

The 2.2-acre patch of land, located just a stone’s throw from the Liberty State Park Light Rail station, has been a thorn in the neighborhood’s side for quite some time. Jersey City once sued the former owners back in 2017 over their lack of responsiveness regarding a request to enter the property, and conditions at the parcel haven’t improved much since then.

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125 Monitor Street, Bergen-Lafayette, Jersey City. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

The recent history of the property is a bit depressing, as it was in foreclosure since 2013 under former owners Lieb and Aron Purtez. In an interview with Jersey Digs, Jake Hudnut, who is the Chief Prosecutor for Jersey City, said that the Brooklyn-based investors racked up approximately 20 maintenance violations at the property when they owned it. Some of them were disposed and resolved, but Hudnut said seven recent citations against Lieb Purtez from 2017 are in active bench warrant status.

Despite another Brooklyn-based investor, Yosef Brikman, taking over ownership of the property in early 2018, little appears to have changed at 125 Monitor. Hudnut said Brikman has been cited with 11 violations related to maintenance and safety that were written by Jersey City’s Housing Code, Public Works, and Fire Prevention Departments. The citations range from high weeds to excessive refuse and even an unsafe structure violation.

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125 Monitor Street, Bergen-Lafayette, Jersey City. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Officials told News 12 New Jersey earlier this year that Brikman was warned multiple times about the problems and was getting billed $5,000 a day for yard work the city was forced to undertake at the property. Despite the notice, Brikman never responded in court regarding the unsafe structure violation and several bench warrants were issued against him.

While all of this was going on, we broke the news of a lawsuit filed against Brikman that alleged fraud over the 125 Monitor property. The case claims that Brikman took out loans against the land after taking it over via foreclosure, depressed the parcel’s value, and then sold it to a straw buyer for a below-market price. Former owners Lieb and Aron Purtez, who filed the case and are looking to void the property’s sale, say those actions violated a settlement agreement and cost them profits they were due from the transaction.

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New construction adjacent 125 Monitor Street, Bergen-Lafayette, Jersey City. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

When Brikman showed up at Hudson County Court regarding the lawsuit on May 21, the mayor’s Quality of Life Taskforce, in conjunction with the Jersey City Police Department Scofflaw Warrants Unit, executed the bench warrants and arrested him while he was attending proceedings. Hudnut said that while Brikman posted bail later that evening, all of his property maintenance matters are still open, pending, and may result in fines.

A few other unfortunate incidents have taken place at 125 Monitor under Brikman’s ownership, including a double stabbing at the building in May of last year. Brikman initially agreed to speak to Jersey Digs about plans for the property in late 2018, but multiple requests to set up an interview were not returned. He hung up the phone on News 12 New Jersey back in March when they inquired about the possibility of the city placing a lien on the property.

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New construction adjacent 125 Monitor Street, Bergen-Lafayette, Jersey City. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

The myriad of issues plaguing the building are unfolding in an environment where multiple construction projects are rising just feet away. It’s led to frustration for both the neighborhood and city officials, best summed up by Chief Prosecutor Hudnut:

“Jersey City has had enough of out-of-state investors coming in, buying up properties, and doing nothing to maintain those properties while they wait to strike a lucrative deal,” Hudnut says. “Properties like 125 Monitor Street are attractive nuisances that create places for low-level crime to occur and make people feel less safe and secure in their own neighborhoods.”

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New construction adjacent 125 Monitor Street, Bergen-Lafayette, Jersey City. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Brikman is due back in Municipal Court on July 16 for several other citations at 125 Monitor Street, including violations relating to high weeds and allowing stagnant water at the property.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. I think the building is beautiful. but most of course don’t share that opinion. the developers are drooling at that prospect. but let’s face it, that area is quickly on the verge of over crowdedness, and will be pushing out the locals (almost exclusively people of color)just a few blocks away. if they want to build something there, build a school. JC desperately needs new ones.

  2. “Jersey City has had enough of out-of-state investors coming in, buying up properties, and doing nothing to maintain those properties while they wait to strike a lucrative deal”. The city should not allow developers to sell their property for a profit if they do not maintain their properties and own thousands of dollars to the city in fines. JC should take over this particular property.

  3. Unfortunately we were the “lucky” winners of Hasidics taking over Bergen-Lafayette and now we are seeing the consequences. Cheap construction, buildings completely out of place in neighborhoods, zero care about communities or their properties, all they want is profits at any cost. And they have their sidekicks like Val who constantly post for development at any cost. I’m not sure there really is s solution to the problem though

      • Racest much?! “they”? People are people. Judge each individual on character and merits and not thier color, background or religion… Don’t say, “they” and group millions of people!

    • @dazed… I live in the neighborhood, past, present and future. The Renaissance happening in Bergen /Lafayette has been long waited for. However, I’ve blasted this site for years! It’s an eyesore and a neglected property! Owners should be ashamed of themselves. Is mentioned this would be perfect for eniment domain and reuse structure for a school & mix use commercial. This structure stands in the center of our neighborhood reminding of the Jersey City which has been abandoned for far too long! I’m pro progression of my city that I live in and love!

  4. Honestly, eminent domain is the only solution for this place… ownership has been criminally abused for way too long and it’s time it was able to be restored to good and sightly use (my preference), or taken down… standing in ugly disrepair as it does right now is totally unacceptable!

  5. XTC is cleary an anti Semite. His/her comments are dispicable. He or she is a coward hiding behind “XTC” and should print his/her name .

      • Criticizing policies, procedures, or practices is not anti-Semitic. It’s not anti-anything. For example, many find the chicken swinging to be cruel and inhumane and want to ban it, including former interior minister Avraham Poraz, members of the Tel Aviv Council and Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau. In fact it’s been openly debated for the past 500 years.

  6. My son is 25 and wants to move from the Heights to be a little closer to his work in downtown JC. So are young professionals moving into the Communipaw area?

    • @HH Definitely. It’s a great place for young professionals and those that are starting families. That was what lead me to buy into this beautiful neighborhood.

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