A long journey overflowing with false starts, lawsuits, and lots of frustration looks like it will finally end with construction, as two high-rises from a prominent developer have been fully approved at a property near one of Jersey City’s PATH stations.
During their January 5 meeting, Jersey City’s planning board greenlit the latest version of Kushner Companies’ One Journal Square development. We reported a first look at the revised project back in November, which emerged following a settlement Kushner reached with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA).
The agreement ended a lawsuit the company filed in 2018 that alleged city officials were engaging in “anti-Trump bias” by ignoring the development’s tax abatement request, which allegedly stemmed from CEO Jared Kushner’s role as a senior advisor to President Donald Trump.
Kushner will be making a $2.5 million investment in local arts initiatives as part of the deal, which allows them to develop twin 52-story towers that will be built over a 12-story base. Rising 710 feet at its highest point, the two-million-square-foot development will host a total of 1,723 rental apartments breaking down as 493 studios, 972 one-bedrooms, 222 two-bedrooms, and 36 three-bedroom spaces. None of the units are designated as affordable housing, as none are required to be.
Drawn up by Woods Bagot, the towers are designed to pivot around a corner axis in order to create a dynamic response to the neighborhood’s oblique road network. Glass and steel will be utilized on the exterior and the towers aim to express a slender verticality through a series of stepped volumes that gracefully transition the high-rises to the surrounding buildings.
As we exclusively reported late last year, the development will be heavy on amenities. Perks planned for One Journal Square include an indoor lap pool, spa, exercise rooms, squash courts, basketball court, bowling alley, lounges, party rooms, and a library. The development will additionally feature two exterior terraces and an outdoor pool.
Outside the development, a public plaza along JFK Boulevard will be given a much-needed revitalization. New renderings released by Woods Bagot show a current taxi parking lot getting transformed into a lawn and some additional seating areas will be located just west of the development’s 41,000 square feet of retail space.
Construction of One Journal Square is set to happen in two phases, with the initial segment including 966 residential units, the entirety of the development’s retail, and the project’s 883-space parking garage. The second tower will consist of the remaining 757 apartments. Construction is estimated to begin in mid-spring 2021 and complete in the fall of 2025.
Champions of the development are hoping the fourth time is the charm for One Journal Square. Kushner had initially pitched a 57-story tower for the site when it first purchased the land in 2015 before supersizing the development to include two high-rises with 1,725 units. A third version consisting of two 66-story towers was approved in 2017 but never broke ground.