Construction will soon begin along the banks of the Hackensack River, as work on the first phase of an endeavor to transform a 95-acre parcel into one of the East Coast’s largest mixed-income developments is slated to start.
Late last year, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) regarding a contract for the first phase of their ambitious Bayfront project. The property set to house the development, sandwiched between the Hudson Mall and Society Hill off Route 440, had long been contaminated with chromium before a cleanup agreement was reached in 2008.
Jersey City passed the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan hoping to revitalize the property and then bonded for $170 million in 2018 to purchase the land outright. As many as 8,000 residential units and 23 acres of open space are envisioned at the site, which gained a boost last year when an expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail broke ground.
The JCRA then designated BRP Development Group and Bayfront Development Partners LLC as redevelopers for the first phase of Bayfront in June. The initial portion of the development will see four parcels totaling 16 acres developed into mid-rise buildings including a total of 1,092 units, 35% of which will be set aside as affordable housing.
Before that work can begin, Jersey City will be selecting a contractor to build infrastructure at the mostly vacant parcel. Per the RFP, the initial portion of the work will focus on the construction of roadway embankments and the placement of surcharge material. The RFP specifically calls for the demolition and removal of existing utilities followed by the installation of settlement plates, drainage pipes, and structures.
The JCRA will be opening submitted bids for the initial work on February 23 and lots of new details outside the housing component have been revealed through the RFP. Bayfront will build green space along the Hackensack River portion of the property that includes an area dubbed The Landing, which will serve as a gateway to the development.
Sidewalk cafes are envisioned and the city hopes to facilitate water taxi services to major employment centers along with fishing and dinner cruises at the site. A second area called The Point is slated to be built in the southwest corner of the property and will feature public spaces, two-level pavilions, a riverkeeper’s pier, and a boathouse.
Two interior green spaces, called Central Park and Promenade Park, are set to include lawns, playgrounds, dog runs, sports courts, bikeways, sculptural follies, and gardens. One parcel in the development has been set aside for a 110,000-square-foot K-8 school, which will include a separate gym and auditorium space.
Several east to west roads in the neighborhood will be extended to the property as part of the total build-out and multiple north to south roads will be created. The future Bayfront Light Rail station will be located at the extreme northern point of the property and a parcel along Route 440 near the hub is slated to get a fire station for the community.
The city’s 2018 bonding effort that purchased the property designated $71 million toward the design and construction of roadways, sewer, and water lines that will be needed for the redevelopment. If all goes according to plan, the first round of that funding will be awarded in late February.