A lot is happening in Bergen-Lafayette these days. Once considered a “no go” space for buyers, BeLa is rapidly changing and is attracting sharp-eyed investors and owners.
No one needs to tell you anymore that Jersey City is going through a resurgence. We’ve seen what downtown has become and along the waterfront, there are apartments on par or even more expensive that ones in Manhattan. But there are still areas in JC that aren’t yet built up and you can still find a great deal. One of those areas is Bergen-Lafayette. BeLa is an area in Jersey City that stretches from Montgomery Street in the north to Bayview Avenue in the south. It abuts Liberty State park on the east and up to JFK Blvd on the west side.
On old maps, it was referred to as Sherwood. At one point it was home to millionaires and Peter Henderson, the horticulturist who designed Van Vorst Park. Like many other places in Jersey City, it fell into hard times and was largely forgotten by the rest of the city. Now it is just beginning a new phase in its life cycle and as the residents here already know, now is the time to buy!
Serviced by buses and the Light Rail, BeLa (Sherwood?) is being touted as the next area of Jersey City to be “up and coming.” As you travel south on the Light Rail from Pavonia Newport, you can see all the construction and building that has been happening over the last decade. You’ve got the Goldman Sachs building near Exchange Place, Gulls Cove Condos at the Marin Blvd. stop, The Zenith (where Zeppelin Hall Biergarten is) at the Jersey Ave. stop and the Foundry at Liberty State Park. The next stop is Garfield Ave, in the heart of BeLa. We don’t yet have one of those types of buildings but it looks like the wait is over!
With the opening of Berry Lane Park, the gorgeous new jewel for Jersey City’s parks, a lot of attention has been focused down here. And the developers have noticed. Pronti Construction Company has started the construction boom with two proposed apartment buildings right at the Garfield Light Rail station. The initial design was for two buildings that would stretch between Arlington Avenue and Randolph Avenue. One would be 4 stories and the other 6 stories. They would hold 58 units with 36 parking spaces. However, this did not go over well with the local residents. The area around the proposed site is a residential community filled with 1- and 2-family homes. Immediately slamming down two juggernauts of buildings not only would be incongruent with what is presently there, it would stretch the infrastructure to a possible breaking point.
Chris Perez, a community activist and president of local Berry Hill / Claremont neighborhood association, rounded up all the concerned citizens. “It’s very important for there to be an open dialogue between developers and the community. Our community is open to development, but not at the cost of jeopardizing the scale of the neighborly environment created by our housing stock of predominantly 19th century, 1 and 2 family homes.”
After some discussions, Pronti agreed to lower both buildings to 3 stories, thereby reducing the units by about 30%. And in a gesture of good will, they also agreed to quarterly progress meetings with the community as well as a careful pre-construction survey of all of the homes, foundations and basements of nearby homes to make sure that any possible damage during the building process would be recorded.
Now, we can look forward to some new construction while also showing that the community itself can come together to help shape the future!
[gmap height=”250px”]207 Randolph Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07304[/gmap]