The secret’s out: Jersey City is on the rise. In fact it has been for well over a decade. All throughout the city’s burgeoning Downtown and Paulus Hook neighborhoods, cranes pepper the skyline, constructing and improving a variety of new office, retail, and residential spaces. This momentum, along with its built-in geographic advantage (located…Today, more and more evidence is mounting that all of this growth isn’t confined just to one side of the proverbial “tracks.” While it’s true that the neighborhoods surrounding the Newport, Grove Street and Exchange place PATH have undergone major revitalizations over the past two decades, the city’s waterfront region only tells part of the Jersey City story.
First consider the Journal Square neighborhood, a diverse and historical residential area flanking a PATH station just one stop west of the city’s Downtown. Within walking distance of the train, KABR Real Estate Investment Partners and Kushner Companies acquired a 1.5 acre development site slated to provide 1,500 residential units; development was approved for 111-unit apartment building at 87 Newkirk St.; construction began on the three-towered residential project called Journal Squared; Hartz and PGM obtained approvals for a residential building on the northern portion of Journal Square; and 56 units have opened nearby at Kennedy Lofts — all within the last six months. Congruently, the city is investing in the arts at Journal Square through an initiative with the historic Loews Theatre.
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In the nearby McGinley Square neighborhood, a 21-story tower has been approved to house over 400 units residential units, in addition to student housing and retail space. The project will be spearheaded by St. Peters University, who will also construct a new student center nearby within the next year.
While it’s logical that the growth in these neighborhoods would coexist with transportation, education, and culture, all of this didn’t happen by accident. In 2013, Mayor Steve Fulop endeavored to facilitate inland revitalization in precisely this fashion. By shifting tax abatements and incentives from the already-booming waterfront to potential-filled neighborhoods like Journal Square, the administration has helped to set the stage for a Jersey City renaissance that is no longer isolated to one end of the city.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the already-rejuvenated neighborhoods like Newport, Hamilton Park, and Paulus Hook have been neglected. Nearly 5,000 total residential units are currently under construction throughout Jersey City, the majority of which are centered around the downtown, without the help of tax abatements. This, in fact, may be Jersey City’s greatest accomplishment: Fostering redevelopment inland without losing momentum in its coveted waterfront area.
Clearly no longer in the shadow of downtown Manhattan, Jersey City’s exciting evolution into a bona-fide destination has been a far-reaching effort that transcends building development. It’s clear, however, that the city has catalyzed the creation of vibrant environments that have attracted a myriad of visitors, residents, and businesses alike.
George Garcia is a partner at Genova Burns.
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