With Urby Project Halted, HCCC Could Sell Journal Square Properties to JCRA

168 Sip Ave Journal Square Jersey City
Site of proposed Urby development at 168 Sip Avenue, Jersey City. Image credit Ironstate via JCRA.

A group of properties in Jersey City that were previously expected to become home to an 18-story development is instead slated to be sold to a local authority for millions of dollars.

The Board of Commissioners of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) adopted a resolution on June 15 that calls for having the JCRA acquire eight Journal Square lots that are currently owned by Hudson County Community College (HCCC) for $16 million.

Seven of these tracts, including 28 Tonnele Avenue and 150-154, 156, 158, and 160-164 Sip Avenue, were the subject of preliminary plans from Ironstate Development, LLC that were presented to the JCRA last spring.

The plans in question called for an Urby development with 518 residential units and around 12,500 square feet of retail space to be built at this location, which contains the college’s bookstore, surface parking, and other uses.

The development would have been the fourth Urby complex in Hudson County. However, the JCRA announced earlier this year that the developer “has elected not to pursue the proposed project.”

In a letter that was sent to the JCRA and HCCC in February, David Barry of Ironstate wrote that “we have taken this step with utmost reluctance but do not see a market for a project at this site currently [as] a result of the impact of the COVID pandemic on the residential real estate market.”

The other site that the $16 million sale would cover is 68-74 Sip Avenue. This parcel includes the four-story building that is more commonly known as 70 Sip Avenue and houses multiple HCCC offices.

The resolution that was approved on June 15 will authorize the JCRA to continue with a purchase and sale agreement with HCCC “in order to permit the agency to undertake the redevelopment of the properties pursuant to the redevelopment law.” The document did not specify what sort of redevelopment is now in the works.

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