Jersey City, Liberty Science Center developing sci-tech center that could cost 230M, create hundreds of jobs

Jessica Perry//January 23, 2015

Jersey City, Liberty Science Center developing sci-tech center that could cost 230M, create hundreds of jobs

Jessica Perry//January 23, 2015

Jersey City officials and the Liberty Science Center have unveiled plans to develop a new science and technology center on the land surrounding the attraction, complete with incubator space, a hotel and a host of other business facilities.The city’s redevelopment agency earlier this week designated the science center the master developer of 16 acres of adjacent city-owned land, Mayor Steven Fulop said in a news release. The nonprofit operator of center is now embarking on an $80 million capital fundraising program, while seeking corporate partners and finalizing the concept plan for the site.

That would help fund the development of a “comprehensive science and technology campus” — a project reported to cost $230 million — to be known as SciTech Scity, the news release said. It would include a technology business incubator, a biotech lab, a light manufacturing space, a coding lab and a grade school with a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focus, as well as a science-themed hotel and residences for visiting scientists.

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The project at Liberty State Park is expected to create about 2,526 construction jobs during its development, and once complete will create 594 permanent jobs, the news release said. A “significant portion” will be expected to go to Jersey City residents.

The land committed by the city is valued at more than $20 million, the release said. Many of the facilities would be housed in a 100,000-square-foot research building.

“The city designating this land to Liberty Science Center is a major departure from past practices of selling property to private developers and instead speaks to the city’s commitment to growing Liberty Science Center as we create a world-class city,” Fulop said in a prepared statement. He added that the city will help the science center with the fundraising effort.

The mayor said the incubator model “will attract scientists and entrepreneurs from around the world who will pioneer new technologies, creating new businesses that will build Jersey City’s sci-tech sector and generate thousands of construction and permanent jobs.”

The announcement comes after the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s board unanimously voted Tuesday to designate the Liberty Science Center as the redeveloper of the property.

“I look forward to working with corporate and government partners to create a world-renowned science and technology campus in Jersey City that will launch businesses, create jobs and educate area youth,” said Paul Hoffman, CEO of the science center. “Liberty Science Center’s mission is to get students excited about pursuing careers in science and technology. With this ambitious project, LSC will be going one step further and actually creating jobs in the important sci-tech sector of our economy.”

The 300,000-square-foot Liberty Science Center, which opened more than two decades ago, draws about 600,000 visitors annually. Its partners include government agencies and New Jersey-based corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck PSE&G, BASF, ADP and Prudential Financial.


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