Kushner’s One Journal Square Project Violates Redevelopment Agreement

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One Journal Square Jersey City Exterior 3
One Journal Square, view from Bergen Avenue. Rendering via Woods Bagot.

The latest chapter in the saga to redevelop one of Journal Square’s most prominent properties has created yet more intrigue, and more questions were raised last week about the viability of one of Jersey City’s biggest redevelopment projects.

One Journal Square, a vacant lot directly next to the neighborhood’s PATH station, was purchased by KABR Group and Kushner Companies in 2015. The following year, the companies won approvals for 1,725 residential units spread out over two towers, one rising 79 stories and the other 46. 910 parking spaces, over 88,000 square feet of retail, and almost 127,00 square feet of office space occupied by co-working giant WeWork were set for the development.


But problems with the project started showing up early last year. WeWork pulled out of the deal and took $59 million in tax breaks from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority with them. Controversies surrounding Kushner’s solicitation of Chinese investment under the EB-5 visa program also drew criticism, and the companies later dropped their request for a 30-year tax abatement they were seeking from the city.

The project was scaled back and approved again following the issues, this time featuring two 56-story towers totaling 1,512 units of housing between them. A Kushner Cos. spokeswoman stated that they planned to be “shovel ready” for One Journal Square sometime in 2018, but the company has only secured $57 million in financing for the project as of January.


One Journal Square Jersey City Exterior 1
Evolution of the project. Renderings via Woods Bagot.

One Journal Square now apparently does not meet the requirements of a redevelopment agreement they entered with the city. The Jersey City Redevelopment Authority (JCRA) sent a letter to KABR Group attorney Laurence J. Rappaport last week informing them of several issues that could leave the project ineligible for a tax abatement and redevelopment area bonds the developers were originally seeking.

The JCRA cited several violations of the redevelopment agreement in their letter, saying that Kushner Companies and KABR Group have failed to start construction by January 1 of this year, have failed to submit firm financing commitments to them, have failed to obtain or waive redeveloper contingencies before they expired, and have failed to submit an annual administrative fee that was due last April.

In addition, the JCRA voiced concerns about the many changes that have been made to the project such as the termination of the joint venture with WeWork, which was considered a unique aspect of One Journal Square.

After the letter was revealed, Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted that city officials are “tired of delays” on the One Journal Square project and added that “hopefully this will now move to a different partner that can complete the project.” The mayor had previously tweeted last year that “we don’t see support for incentives or abatements from the city for this project” following the initial controversies surrounding the development.

Separately, foundation work is underway on the 72-story second phase of KRE Group’s nearby Journal Squared development. There has been little activity at the One Journal Square property and another bad week of news has cast fresh doubts about a property with a history of bad luck.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. This whole thing is just sad. Just build the towers already! This is literally in the center of Journal square and center of Jersey City. The city should do whatever it can to ensure this project gets done. It’s embarrassing at this point.

    • Full of empty plastic vodka bottles and other garbage… With this not being built, it keeps all that crap there. It’s embarrassing

      • It’s disgusting. Funny the city is doing all these green initiatives which is great like bioswales and increased use of renewable energy but on the other side of town if feels like you’re walking in a third world country where some residents haven’t mastered the basics of throwing your trash in a trash can. Tale of two cities.

        • So lets just move people out and displace them. lets replace them with vanilla white people from Ohio. Lovely. Instead of actually creating initiatives to rebuild the community, we are going to bulldoze it and slap a luxury tower on it. Great solution. Tale of two cities is a prime example of income inequality.

          • Income inequality?
            How’s it the Kushners fault some people DIDN’T APPRECIATE A GOOD EDUCATION & PROPER LIFE CHOICES?

            How are we going to enforce “IQ equality”? That’s what determines success in life.

  2. This is ridiculous! If you have followed this “saga” it is clear the administration is doing everything it can to stand in the way of Kushner development for political appearances. The administration is not acting in the best interest of the community, only their own careers. Every other development in JC for the last fifteen years as received tax abatement, but somehow this doesn’t fit the bill – an amazing development in still one of the most blighted areas of the city? A central transportation center that appears in the news everyday for arrests related to theft and drugs – even abandoned babies!!! But no, it is important that Kushner doesn’t succeed without us making clear we don’t support it. Laughable! Nobody cares who is building it, just that it gets built. This is such a joke. Let us make it clear – this development is needed more than any other! Make it happen or we will find someone who will!

    • Agreed! It’s completely for political reasons. I’d like to see if he was a different color or ethnicity! This WOULD never happen. But we are in NJ, full of corruption and liberal agenda. Hope they win the lawsuit!

  3. Oh look! another boring luxury tower. Lets open a TGIFridays and an Applebees while we are at it. We can bring a few “pubs” in too and then it will cease to be Jersey City.

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