A decade ago, it was hard to find signs of new development in the southeastern portion of Jersey City’s Lafayette neighborhood. Just a few blocks away from a dense residential community, this former industrial section of Ward F surrounding the Liberty State Park Light Rail Station was dotted with vacant properties and empty structures. However, it is likely that a decade from now, commuters passing through the area on the light rail or Interstate 78 will have a drastically different view of it, since most remaining undeveloped tracts will have been replaced with mid-rise residential or mixed-use structures. Once projects like Pine Street Lofts, 426 Whiton, and Crescent Park are completed, thousands of new residents could call Lafayette home.
One street that could be home to many of these newcomers is Garabrant Street, a small dead-end block off of Johnston Avenue. A legal notice shows that a Jersey City developer named Garabrant, LLC will construct a 75-unit rental project on and around 121 Garabrant Street. When completed, this six-story development is also slated to include 27 parking spaces for residents.
The properties from 113 to 127 Garabrant Street are all undeveloped or wooded lots, and were acquired by Long Hill Township, Morris County-based DGJ Belleville, LLC for over $1 million in 2015, according to NJ Parcels.
As part of the project, the developer is set to receive a five-year tax exemption from the City of Jersey City. The company would pay full land taxes but would pay no taxes on improvements in 2020, 20% of improvement taxes the following year, and 100% by 2025.
As housing prices in this city continue to increase, many longtime residents have raised concerns about being able to afford to live in their own neighborhoods or in the new developments that they see being constructed around them. While some projects in the city contain units that are designated as “affordable housing,” this development will not be among them. In lieu of providing units at prices lower than market rate, Garabrant, LLC will give $137,010 to the Jersey City Affordable Housing Trust Fund, according to the notice. The amount is based on a fee of $1,500 for each of the units and $1.50 for each square foot of parking space.
Point Capital Development, which developed the neighborhood’s transformative Baker Building, is behind this project. According to company founder John Fio Rito, the units will be a mixture of one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, and studios. Fio Rito told Jersey Digs that the development will be built by Fields Construction and designed by Avoid Obvious Architects and Palermo Edwards Architecture. Construction is expected to begin on March 1st and be completed by May 2019.
The Jersey City Municipal Council is scheduled to vote on whether to grant final passage to the tax exemption proposal during its meeting this Wednesday, February 14th at 6:00 p.m. The Council already passed the ordinance on first reading during its Jan. 24 meeting.