The former Jesus the Healer Filipino Church in Jersey City was supposed to be demolished so that a new residential development could be constructed on the premises. However, following a rare denial from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), the project cannot continue to move forward as planned.
In May, we first told you about a proposal by Essex County-based Franklin Development Group to construct a new building called The Hudson Condominiums at 3316 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, a property located at the corner of Sherman Place in The Heights. The church’s congregation previously moved to Wayne, Passaic County, leaving the building empty. The developer was looking to tear down the church opposite Leonard Gordon Park in order to develop the new five-story structure, which would have included 20 two-bedroom condominiums along with a 13-space parking garage and a rooftop terrace.
In order to build The Hudson, Franklin Development Group sought Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval with variances for use and height. However, city records show that during the ZBA’s meeting on May 24 such approval was denied by nearly the entire board, with only one member voting in favor. The decision puts the project in jeopardy and could cause the developer to either go back to the drawing board and make adjustments or to cancel plans to redevelop the property altogether.
Unlike in neighboring Hoboken, denials of development applications by the Jersey City Planning Board and ZBA are infrequent, with the vast majority of projects being outright approved or granted approval with conditions. While some applicants whose plans are denied, such as the developer of 165-169 St. Paul’s Avenue, modify their proposals and apply again, others, like the owner of the former Ladder 10 firehouse on Palisade Avenue list their properties for sale. What will happen to the Jesus the Healer Filipino Church remains to be seen.