St. Lucy’s Church Redevelopment Plan Now Calls for 23-Story Building

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St Lucys Church 619 Grove Street Jersey City Development Rendering 2
Updated rendering of the proposed 20-story tower at St Lucy’s Church in Jersey City. Rendering by MVMK via the application.

More than a year and a half after it was revealed that the historic St. Lucy’s Church property near the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City was expected to undergo a major transformation, the developer is planning minor changes to the proposal.


St Lucys Church 619 Grove Street Jersey City
Current site. Image by MVMK via the application.

The high-rise tower that could be constructed on part of the premises at 619 Grove Street is now slated to be 23 stories tall and would include 444 residential units. Back in December 2018, Jersey Digs reported that a proposed 20-story tower would have consisted of 430 residential units.

St Lucys Church 619 Grove Street Jersey City Development Rendering
Night rendering. Rendering by MVMK via the application.

A recent application from 15th and Grove JC, LLC states that 13 “affordable housing” units that are classified as “moderate income” would be included in the development, which would be 245 feet tall. Four of the units in the building would feature three bedrooms while 129 would be studios, 241 would contain one bedroom, and 70 would include two bedrooms.

St Lucys Church Bell Tower Rendering
Bell tower. Rendering by MVMK via the application.

An “enclosed parking garage” with 251 spaces and 5,600 square feet of commercial space are also reportedly planned.

St Lucys Church 619 Grove Street Jersey City Development Rendering 3
The plan would preserve portions of the front facades of three existing St. Lucy’s buildings. Rendering by MVMK via the application.

“The proposed development will include preservation of portions of the front facades of three existing St. Lucy’s buildings,” a public notice states, referring to the church, rectory, and emergency shelter on the premises. The application noted that there would be “limited demolition.”

St Lucys Church 619 Grove Street Jersey City Development Plan
Aerial map. Image by MVMK via the application.

A new shelter for people experiencing homelessness is still expected to be constructed across Grove Street from the existing shelter.

This five-story facility would also be operated by the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark and include a total of 165 beds with 15 supportive housing units, five transitional housing units, and community, administrative, and counseling space, according to the notice.

The shelter for men would include 120 beds, the shelter for women would contain 31 beds, and the Franciska Residence would offer 14 beds, according to a separate application from the developer.

St Lucys Church Jersey City Development Rendering
School gable roof terrace. Rendering by MVMK via the application.

15th and Grove JC, LLC is registered out of the same address in Far Hills, Somerset County as Claremont Development. The developer is seeking Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan with waivers. The Jersey City Planning Board meeting that will include this hearing is scheduled to take place over Zoom on Tuesday, July 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be heard by the Jersey City Planning Board and other commissions are subject to change.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. These new/old fusions always seem peculiar to the extreme. This one seems to be a bit too top heavy and overly busy visually. Possibly a horizontal design with off-set balconies and inserts for greenery might make for a better transition.

  2. i feel like this one missed the mark. not quite preserving the old. not quite properly introducing new. Id ask to go back to the drawing board.

  3. I was very interested to read the comments on this one. I agree with what’s been said thus far. This one misses the mark of respecting the historical buildings and the new structure rising above. Architectural satire is right! I’m not opposed to development or density, but this one is just odd.

    Reduce the building footprint so it’s not literally encroaching over the historical buildings and go for a thinner point tower on the site. The old Rector or School would make a classy entrance to the building. The former church would be great amenity space. Right now the bottom couple floors will just be parking. A waste of such an interesting space with the historic features.

  4. Considering that usually the architectural rendering look much better than the actual building this is not going to be a good looking building.

    Will buyers drop big bucks to live next to a homeless shelter ?

  5. They should keep the church and rectory fully intact and covert them to condos. Next tear down the shelter and build the new glitzy building on that site and stretching behind the rectory if necessary.

  6. Personally I’m a fan of the design and have no problem with the footprint. I quite like the angular lines and the underlying facade is simple enough that it works. I certainly don’t think it’s overdesigned to the point of tackiness like many Brooklyn buildings, for instance. I think it does the historic buildings justice. Also, this kind of massive, hulking building will add much-needed density to the area. Most of that area of downtown surrounding & north of the Holland Tunnel lanes is either a wasteland or underdeveloped hodgepodge, and in desperate need of revitalization (even with all the current “Soho West” developments).

    This is a positive and I’m satisfied with the community givebacks, which are exactly the kind of win-win tradeoffs that we should encourage everywhere. Yes it’s only 13 affordable units, but they are building a 5-story, nearly 200-bed homeless shelter! Including “community, administrative, and counseling space”. For 23 stories in an underdeveloped area I think we can call this a win. Preservation of 3 beautiful, historic facades & a new/expanded shelter are mutually beneficial, and will also contribute further to the city’s tax base.

  7. TH, I honestly don’t care if it’s 30 stories and double the amount of units. It would be an excellent thing for the area than the abandoned buildings there now. My grief is the treatment of the historical structures. Surely more of it could have been preserved than just the facades.

    As someone mentioned, the old church could have been converted to loft space and a point tower can rise on the empty lot behind the old school building.

  8. Could you make this even more hideous. I know that context is a nasty word to architects, but this is the most unsympathetic design I’ve seen. It would be better to tear down the church than subject it to this garbage.

  9. Robert P- I’m not aware that these three buildings have been designated as historical structures,
    notwithstanding the fact that they’re a bit old and made of brick. I’m fine with preserving the facades, as it’s glimpse into JC past, but other than they’re simply very ordinary brick buildings. The bell tower is nothing special merely less ornate than the one in Florence after which it is copied. In comparison, the water tower in Weehawken is an amazing structure in both in historical context and in terms of engineering. Aesthetically, it’s no slouch either. This one is , at best, a novelty.

  10. XTC compared to the new piles of generic bland brick that have been built so far in the North West the church and bell tower are the the equivalent of those in Florence.

    It is a disappointing design.
    That said give it a year or two quick buck developers will contract unimaginative designs from generic corporate architects and Jersey City will approve even taller, denser, even less attractive buildings to surround this project and the public will not even notice it.

    Never mentioned by the Jersey City administration or developers is upgrading the underling infrastructure needed to support the hyper development happening especially in NW JC.

  11. Obviously these are not designated historic buildings that cannot be demolished under law. But should that be the only criteria when deciding to year an old building down? While I am very pro development, and I’m in favor of much more density on this lot than what is currently proposed, I believe a better design is possible that respects the old while allowing for the new.

    The proposed structure is too squat and bulky and stands the block. I rather see a tall point tower on this site that better integrates the older structures rather than just retaining their facades.

    Would the developer be willing to develop at a higher density and have more rent units in exchange for the new tower to have a smaller footprint to allow more preservation of the historical buildings on site? The developer is under no obligation to do so and could just raze all three buildings, but this is what I would proposed IF it had the backing of the community…

  12. LKP- Comparing mediocrity to something less mediocre is not saying much. Comparing JC to anything in Florence is like saying my toolshed is like an apt in Paris to a street junkie and his syringe. It’s like Joey Ramone seeing the Dead Boys on stage for the first time and saying, “Yeah, they suck. They’ll make us (Ramones) look good.

  13. All stats on this project is great. Building a new homeless shelter. New development in an area of need! But OMG how ugly and not matching design is this?! Should of added more brick in the 23 story. make it seem like it’s transitioning up, whatever. But these two together, is just like pineapple on pizza, just does not go well …

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