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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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I'd love more parks. Half-block deep parks aren't all that exciting to me, however. The fact that the land hasn't been used for years as anything means that we're not particularly gaining or losing any ground. It isn't like they're bulldozing Hamilton Park to make houses, it's non-usable space right now.

Would it be nice to have a park? Sure. I don't want an elevated park due to the costs, and the idea of 1-block x 1/2-block parks don't light a fire under me. Let's face a couple facts tho, we're better than many when it comes to parks. We've got:

*a good sized park up by Pavonia and Brunswick - big playground, hockey rink, baseball diamond, soccer field, etc.
*a nice park in Hamilton - dog run, basketball court, tennis courts, gazebo, playground
*a small park over in Van Vorst - dog run, playground, garden
*two LARGE parks in lincoln park and liberty state park less than three miles and a mile away (respectively)

Go look at google maps and head on over across the river to NYC. Take a look at the tons of neighborhoods with fewer parks than us. Canarsie, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Bed-Stuy, Astoria, Woodside, all of downtown Manhattan just to name a few. Jersey City is fairly decent as far as urban areas and parks go, especially downtown. We're not doing too bad.

Having said this, I can at least respect that Hyman deserves the right to make something off his purchase. I don't want to permit him to build high-rises, and hope that JC gov't doesn't screw that up, but he did purchase the place. I say let him wait til the market improves, get rid of a useless wall and build appropriate-sized buildings that won't screw up the neighborhood.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 18:57
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Cory,

I cannot fathom how any downtown resident would prefer houses be built on this land rather than a park. What possible reason could you have for wanting more houses built on this land?

How much land is there in downtown Jersey City that could be used to make parks? Once that land is gone, it is gone for good, and we are deprived forever of desperately needed open space.

What difference is 40 more brownstones going to make to your enjoyment of Jersey City? (In the unlikely event that low density brownstone style housing is what actually gets built).

Robin.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 17:52
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fraulein wrote:
Tern: It depends on if you are for demolishing or not. If not, it's a good thing...for now, until the hearings/debate over the Certificate of Appropriateness.


Corybraiterman: Deciphering through your post (sorry, I was distracted by 'point of you' instead of, what I assumed you meant, 'point of view').... you seem to project a future for the Embankment that's based on utopia and not reality, as if Hyman is a philanthropist and not a developer... And JC is a fair and balanced city...

If you review any of the posts here on taxes, developers, abatements (the list goes on...) you will see that your points are refuted by the 'simple thing' that JC government is corrupt: pure and simple. To think that Hyman will create a highline park... or that he will be taxed appropriately... or that the high rises will be zoned appropriately... gives a bit too much credit to our City, who looks for any opportunity to have a greased pocket.


One can only hope that the Board does the right thing with the next step, Certificate of Appropriateness.


Hyman won't turn it into a highline style park. Never said he has or will. His opponents want to do that, and I think thats just as bad as high-rise condos.

Stating JC is corrupt (while correct) isn't the issue. Asking "what people want" is the question, and those are my answers: Townhouses/brownstones/appropriate buildings, small businesses, ground-level park, some extra parking - in that order - is my answer.

Again, the question is "what is to be done with the embankment". High-rise condos and highline style park are the worst options, imo, even including the fact that we have to fight city hall as well as overzealous developers.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 16:30
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HamiltonParker wrote:
We were at the hearings last night - can't beat them for real life drama. Hyman's lawyer repeatedly stated that the city had never put forth an offer to purchase the Embankment.

I'm confused, then, regarding the $7million bond that was presented by the JC Council back in June. Can anyone clarify?


My understanding is that when Conrail was selling the land, they received no bids from the city, only one bid from Hyman. JC only made its offer after Hyman had purchased the land.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 14:53
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I also attended the hearing. It's the first time I'd seen Hyman's lawyer in action and I was appalled at her arguments. She called the city and embankment coalition corrupt and said they were colluding against the developer (among other things). WOW!

I was also a little confused at the outcome (and I was there!) so thanks to those who have clarified.

The process has been so protracted that I would like to give a pat on the back to the embankment coalition for sticking with it and fighting the good fight.

BTW, I live a few blocks from the embankment but want desperately to see it preserved as green space for all the reasons others have stated -- park use, linking to other trails, mitigation of air and noise pollution, and absorption of rain water. It's a quality of life issue and it would benefit the entire city.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 13:50
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We were at the hearings last night - can't beat them for real life drama. Hyman's lawyer repeatedly stated that the city had never put forth an offer to purchase the Embankment.

I'm confused, then, regarding the $7million bond that was presented by the JC Council back in June. Can anyone clarify?

Releived that the commercial hardship angle was voted down - though the voting procedure couldn't have been more confusing to the the council or audience. They repeatedly had to clarify what a "yes" and "no" vote meant.

Our neighbor, an attorney, said that this was the highest hurdle to jump so having cleared it - we're feeling a sense of relief this morning. Thanking the Embankment organization for their tireless work on behalf of all.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 13:01
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Tern: It depends on if you are for demolishing or not. If not, it's a good thing...for now, until the hearings/debate over the Certificate of Appropriateness.


Corybraiterman: Deciphering through your post (sorry, I was distracted by 'point of you' instead of, what I assumed you meant, 'point of view').... you seem to project a future for the Embankment that's based on utopia and not reality, as if Hyman is a philanthropist and not a developer... And JC is a fair and balanced city...

If you review any of the posts here on taxes, developers, abatements (the list goes on...) you will see that your points are refuted by the 'simple thing' that JC government is corrupt: pure and simple. To think that Hyman will create a highline park... or that he will be taxed appropriately... or that the high rises will be zoned appropriately... gives a bit too much credit to our City, who looks for any opportunity to have a greased pocket.


One can only hope that the Board does the right thing with the next step, Certificate of Appropriateness.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 2:54
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> The vote was 4 to 3 that the structure was not considered commercial

Is that good or bad?

Robin.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 2:27
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corybraiterman wrote:
Option 2: get rid of it. Small townhouses, 3-4 story buildings for apartments or condos, brownstones, ground-level park - these are all workable options that don't cost the city money and in at least a few of those cases, give the city taxable assets. Hell, have a ground-level parking lot on one block so us locals that have cars can get easier parking in the neighborhood.


There are a lot of churches in this part of town sitting on very valuable land that pay no property taxes, do we tear them down too in order to build taxable properties? I don't attend church, why should my property taxes support that? Now, I don't really mean that but the point is you shouldn't destroy a historic part of downtown that carries meaning to many, many people with the argument it's not taxable land - if you have a problem with taxes demand the city revoke abatements along the waterfront, that's where the real tax deficit comes into play. There are plenty of culprits contributing to the deficit Jersey City is currently in, making the Embankment a scapegoat for that is beyond ridiculous.

The naivete of some on this board astounds me - you think Hyman is spending all this money fighting the city to put in a few small townhouses with some public greenspace scattered about? If the city grants him an economic hardship (because after all, can you think of one person in all of Jersey City who has suffered more financially than Steve Hyman?) he's tearing the Embankment down and it will either sit vacant for years until the market turns around or large condo high-rises are going up.


1) Don't put words in my mouth, thanks. Your example has nothing to do with the price of tea in China, so kindly take it elsewhere. My point of you can a) spend money on a highline style park or b) make some property taxes on it is a very base, simple thing that even you should be able to grasp without throwing strawmen arguments against.

2) High-rises can be zoned against. If Hyman wants to spend the tremendous amount of money to remove the embankment to simply leave it put as empty ground level abandoned lots, then he's a bigger idiot than anyone on this board has accused him of being already. If anything, he'd leave it as is until the market turned up so he wouldn't spend those millions now.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 2:26
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The vote was 4 to 3 that the structure was not considered commercial. Now the process continues as the certificate of appropriate stage of the hearing begins. There will be several more meeting on this.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 2:14
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Could someone who was able to attend tonight please post the voting outcomes (we were unable to attend for the first time). Thanks!

Posted on: 2010/10/6 1:23
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That's just one of MANY plans (more than 6 years old) Hyman's architect has come up with over the years. It seems their 'visions' for the embankment parcel is whatever they feel will get them the rights to 'develop' at that time. Remember this one (sorry for the poor scan, it ran in Jersey Journal a few years ago):
Resized Image
See those white things on top of those dark gray things... yeah, 30 story towers.


I actually sort of like the that blueprint.... I see LOTS of USEABLE greenspace there on each side of Jersey Ave.

But I don't see anything that indicates 30 story towers.

This whole thing is just a bunch of NIMBYs crying.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 1:17
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JerseyCityKid08 wrote:
http://www.dmarchitect.com/

The renderings can be found on this site. This looks like a major improvement.



That's just one of MANY plans (more than 6 years old) Hyman's architect has come up with over the years. It seems their 'visions' for the embankment parcel is whatever they feel will get them the rights to 'develop' at that time. Remember this one (sorry for the poor scan, it ran in Jersey Journal a few years ago):
Resized Image
See those white things on top of those dark gray things... yeah, 30 story towers.


Ok then, how about this:
Resized Image


Don't kid yourself. This guy is NO developer.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:58
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I'd love to see the embankment preserved but have to agree the odds are slim. There just isn't the foot traffic or retail opportunity to support a Highline type conversion. I don't think this is a build it and they will come scenario. No doubt the RE developers are probably as slick as they come, I can only hope he loses money on the whole thing...

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:32
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http://www.dmarchitect.com/

The renderings can be found on this site. This looks like a major improvement.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:29
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Lets see how many blocks is the embankment? You can get 800 units in there. Living small is the new thing these days.

And plus, each block will be different. the block across from the baseball field... from Manila to Marin... that block already has a semi-high-rise - that senior center on 8th St. Also isn't the Park Hamilton in that same area?

Hyman isn't going to put a Empire State Building or even Crystal Point on the Embankment land.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:27
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JerseyCityKid08 wrote:
The planned development for the embankment looks nice. Of course plans never materialize, but seriously the city will never be able to transform this into a park and the state will never fund another useless light rail extension.


yes. almost as nice as the plans for the Newark Avenue renovation. and we've seen how that turned out.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:26
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The planned development for the embankment looks nice. Of course plans never materialize, but seriously the city will never be able to transform this into a park and the state will never fund another useless light rail extension.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:23
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Hmmmm. Am at city hall right now in the bd. Of adjustment meeting .
They attys are doing summations. I just heard 800 units.
Touche'

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:14
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ogden1 wrote:
Amen to that.
I can't believe anyone is dumb enough to believe someone will build 2 family homes on this Property.


I can't believe that anyone believes they are going to build high-rises smack dab in the middle of low-rise brownstones.... so far away from the river. That's just crazy talk.

Come on. You know darn well that plans would call for 4 maybe 5 stories max, and would be developed as luxury brownstone town homes.

And as far as tearing it down and leaving it for many years... at least the space would then be useable and accessible.

There will be no light-rail... (where would it go?).

Also, some guy had a small building and the city tried to do Eminent Domain to take his place... (I think this was near St. Peters Prep). He fought it and the City lost.

The City and State should not be taking private property from individuals. Period. And individuals should be allowed to build and develop their properties with minimal government intervention.


P.S. I forgot to mention, that the embankment is a magnet for stray shopping carts as well.

Posted on: 2010/10/6 0:09
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Amen to that.
I can't believe anyone is dumb enough to believe someone will build 2 family homes on this
Property.
Hyman will sell it off, tthis is his MO), and someone will get approvals to build huge bldgs.
Do your homework.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 23:50
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corybraiterman wrote:
Option 2: get rid of it. Small townhouses, 3-4 story buildings for apartments or condos, brownstones, ground-level park - these are all workable options that don't cost the city money and in at least a few of those cases, give the city taxable assets. Hell, have a ground-level parking lot on one block so us locals that have cars can get easier parking in the neighborhood.


There are a lot of churches in this part of town sitting on very valuable land that pay no property taxes, do we tear them down too in order to build taxable properties? I don't attend church, why should my property taxes support that? Now, I don't really mean that but the point is you shouldn't destroy a historic part of downtown that carries meaning to many, many people with the argument it's not taxable land - if you have a problem with taxes demand the city revoke abatements along the waterfront, that's where the real tax deficit comes into play. There are plenty of culprits contributing to the deficit Jersey City is currently in, making the Embankment a scapegoat for that is beyond ridiculous.

The naivete of some on this board astounds me - you think Hyman is spending all this money fighting the city to put in a few small townhouses with some public greenspace scattered about? If the city grants him an economic hardship (because after all, can you think of one person in all of Jersey City who has suffered more financially than Steve Hyman?) he's tearing the Embankment down and it will either sit vacant for years until the market turns around or large condo high-rises are going up.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 18:01
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And that, in a nutshell, is the main problem with the state of our city at this point in time. Crime is obviously a key issue, but the city's current infrastructure is an even more important issue. The administration has allowed (and fostered) the speedy development of the waterfront and other areas of the city, but we are not keeping up with the growth, and the impact can be seen everywhere. Our roads are in very poor condition, the PATH is usually stuffed during the rush hour commuting hours, countless water mains are breaking all over the place, the police force (as a ratio of beat officers to citizens) is getting smaller and smaller... If we continue down this path, the city will collapse under its own weight. And, what a shame... a more balanced approach to growth could, and should, yield better results for everyone. Instead, we are all getting the shaft by the effects of poor planning to maintain and grow the city's infrastructure.


This is exactly it - if you remove a huge watershed like the Embankment and replace with 1500 condo units that are now hooking into the decrepit sewer lines, that water has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is probably resident basements, once again. It's easy to be in favor of this when you don't lives anywhere near an area where the ramifications would be felt.



Yes the water has to go somewhere, that's why the civil engineers hired by the developer are required by law to design something to manage the stormwater, such as an underground detention basin. Your basement might flood but it will not flood because they put condos where the embankment is.



Right... required by 'law' in a city where it's the wild, wild west with developers.... With the poor infrastructure, sewers backing up into people's property, forgive my cynicism that any new development will be managed correctly and take all of this into account.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 16:32
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FGJCNJ1970 wrote:

Tear it down, build historically correct town homes, and let them be taxed.



Of course, this assumes that Hyman still has any desire to develop the property at all once he tears down the embankment. Odds are he would rather sit on it until the market picks up and sell it. Be sure to thank Hyman for the half-mile long empty lot in your neighborhood five years from now should he be able to proceed with this charade. Thank god it won't be "sketchy at night" anymore.

Also, what is a historically correct town home? If the embankment is such an eyesore, why bother with making its replacement historically correct?

Posted on: 2010/10/5 16:30
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It's also dangerous. ....folks are still getting mugged around there. And its a graffiti magnet. Sketchy at night.



Based on that criteria, you would then have half of Jersey city torn down.

Save that argument for where it's appropriate (i.e. Montgomery Towers).


don't ignore the rest of what he's saying at all... not at all. forget the other good points made and mention that "well there's a lot of graffiti elsewhere, so we'd have to tear down lots of jc!"

cmon.

Option 1: light rail extension. Dunno how good of an idea that would be with residences literally on top of that, but it would at least provide a service.

Option 2: get rid of it. Small townhouses, 3-4 story buildings for apartments or condos, brownstones, ground-level park - these are all workable options that don't cost the city money and in at least a few of those cases, give the city taxable assets. Hell, have a ground-level parking lot on one block so us locals that have cars can get easier parking in the neighborhood.

Making it an elevated park is a tremendous waste of resources that JC can't afford to do right now.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 16:26
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bodhipooh wrote:

And that, in a nutshell, is the main problem with the state of our city at this point in time. Crime is obviously a key issue, but the city's current infrastructure is an even more important issue. The administration has allowed (and fostered) the speedy development of the waterfront and other areas of the city, but we are not keeping up with the growth, and the impact can be seen everywhere. Our roads are in very poor condition, the PATH is usually stuffed during the rush hour commuting hours, countless water mains are breaking all over the place, the police force (as a ratio of beat officers to citizens) is getting smaller and smaller... If we continue down this path, the city will collapse under its own weight. And, what a shame... a more balanced approach to growth could, and should, yield better results for everyone. Instead, we are all getting the shaft by the effects of poor planning to maintain and grow the city's infrastructure.


This is exactly it - if you remove a huge watershed like the Embankment and replace with 1500 condo units that are now hooking into the decrepit sewer lines, that water has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is probably resident basements, once again. It's easy to be in favor of this when you don't lives anywhere near an area where the ramifications would be felt.



Yes the water has to go somewhere, that's why the civil engineers hired by the developer are required by law to design something to manage the stormwater, such as an underground detention basin. Your basement might flood but it will not flood because they put condos where the embankment is.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 16:06
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Some people should suck rotten eggs. Of course Jersey City is not Manhattan but that is not to say that Jersey City can't or shouldn't have nice public spaces.

I remember when all the naysayers had a littany of excuses for why we didn't need the light rail. Now look at it - those trains are crowded even on the weekends.

I'm not sure that Hyman is entitled to any return, and quite possibly the property is worth less than he paid for it.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 15:54
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FGJCNJ1970 wrote:
It's also dangerous. ....folks are still getting mugged around there. And its a graffiti magnet. Sketchy at night.



Based on that criteria, you would then have half of Jersey city torn down.

Save that argument for where it's appropriate (i.e. Montgomery Towers).

Posted on: 2010/10/5 12:58
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Three 400-unit high rises were part of Hyman's plan that he testified last month. So much for the unity you aspire to have...

This wealthy developer is arguing that he's had financial hardship and deserves a 12% return on his property. Many residents who testified last night wondered how they too could sign up for whatever he believes he's entitled to....

Last meeting tonight, everyone.

Posted on: 2010/10/5 12:31
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Hi. I'd like to chime in.

You know, JCBOYZ isn't the only one who would like to see the embankment torn down.

I actually lived across the embankment for about 7 years in the 1990's on 6th St btw Erie and Jersey. I now live in Harsimus cove a few blocks away.

It's an eyesore folks. There is absolutely nothing historic about it. Its a standard brick wall built in the 1800's for a train track. It's also dangerous. Bricks are falling off, and folks are still getting mugged around there. And its a graffiti magnet. Sketchy at night.

Jersey City is in an economic HOLE folks. 80 million deficit last year and growing.

We can't afford to make this a park. We're not Manhattan and this thing will NEVER be like the high-line. There is no big financial backers for it.

And with property taxes having gone up like 30% or more... enough with the spending already. They just renovated Hamilton Park... go there.

There will not be HIGH RISES there... townhouses folks. And really, I question the use of the word Watershed. I don't think so based on what I've read online about what a watershed is.

Tear it down, build historically correct town homes, and let them be taxed.

One thing though, no developer tax abatements. Those need to stop altogether.

I would guess that the majority of the supporters for the embankment live on 5th street and enjoy free parking from the alley and nice private yards. That is why they don't want it removed.

Just thought I would chime in. Tear down the wall and bring unity to Hamilton Park and Harsimus Cove.

FG

Posted on: 2010/10/5 11:36
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