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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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This info was provided to the council and some advocates per their questions. Hopefully this clarifies where we are and corrects those that are putting misinformation out in the public.

Steven M. Fulop
Mayor
Jersey City, NJ

On Mar 14, 2017, at 1:09 PM, Steve Fulop wrote:

Let me know anything else but these are the questions we have had so far.

Question: What is LSC relationship to Jersey City?
LSC is invested in Jersey City
• Employs 101 Jersey City residents (33% of total labor force)
• 1,935 Jersey City families have LSC memberships
This will expand of course with SciTech city.

Question: What is the current relationship with the Jersey City schools?
• 30,500 Jersey City students visited in 2016 (82% of student population)
• Provides free STEM education programs to 5,740 Jersey City students
and teachers by obtaining $465,000 in grant funding
• 100 Jersey City teachers participate in LSC professional development
programs annually

Question: Is this a gift to the Science Center?
No. This is a shared venture that the city benefits from as PARTNERS. The project will generate revenues for the non-profit (operating income, ground lease income etc.). If the income exceeds expenses, the excess income (or surplus) must be used on other programs by the non-profit. Over time, if you add up this surplus each year when it exceeds the amount of money raised in donations for this project. At that moment this surplus will begin to be shared 50/50 with the City until the City receives its appraised value. Once the City receives its appraised the split is reduced to 80/20 nonprofit/City forever. So over time the City will eventually get more than its appraised value for the land. This is truly a joint venture but City is protected in every scenario including ultimately getting value for the property beyond all of the other important benefits (school etc.). The appraised value is really just a way to indicate when the split goes from 50/50 to 80/20.

Question: What is the risk to the city?
None. The city is a partner in revenue and in the case of any violation there are reverter clauses if they don’t build the project, violate terms of the agreements or property is transferred to, or ever owned by, a for-profit entity then the entire property returns to the city.

Question: Will this be a traditional Jersey City Public School?
Yes. This will be a Jersey City traditional public school. Cost of schools recently constructed in Jersey City have been more than $50million. This will be at no cost to tax payers.

Question: I heard LSC is losing money. Is that accurate?
No. $4.5m in operating funds generated in FY16. After debt service, capital investments in facility etc, lsc has $1.4m in net revenues from operations.

Question: What is the attendance at LSC?
During the past four years, LSC’s attendance has grown 53%, to more than 650,000 visitors annually, making the Center the fastest growing established museum in the United States. That growth should continue with the opening at LSC in December 2017 of the biggest and most technologically-advanced planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, which will draw tourists to Jersey City and serve as an unparalleled educational resource for students and families in New Jersey

Question: The city gave LSC a loan in 2008. Was this load repaid?
Yes. LSC borrowed $2.5M from UEZ; the loan was fully repaid by 9/1/2011. There is no current debt to the city or state on the LSC balance sheets. Since this point almost the entire board and leadership has been changed

Question: Why not sell the property?
Selling the property for maximum dollars as some proposed would mean high rise condos in this location which we don't believe is in the best interest of all residents with regards to the potential we have in creating a citywide asset like SciTech city at this particular city site. While previous administrations would probably have sold this for short term gain we are trying to invest in a city asset, build a new school and a new science hub for generations of Jersey City residents to come.

Question: What will this mean to Ward F?
This will take vacant property and turn it into a $280 million dollar investment in Ward F that will create permanent jobs, construction jobs, and define Bergen Lafayette as the home of the premier science center in the region. It will create a new public school and inspire generations of future leaders who will surrounded by some the sharpest minds in the world.

Will any board member or any affiliate of lsc be a developer of this project?
No.

Posted on: 3/15 4:12
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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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Quote:

caj11 wrote:
LSC brings people into New Jersey, but I don't think it brings many people specifically into the surrounding Jersey City neighborhoods to spend money.


Not a bad point by itself, though not a reason to crap on LSC. If the many family friendly DTJC restaurants were smart they'd do a discount promotion with LSC.

Posted on: 3/15 1:20
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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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Quote:
The City loaned the LSC $2.5 million in 2008 as they were strapped. Who knows if they ever paid it back!


[quote]

Did they ever pay back the $ 2.5 million loan, by the way? Does anyone know? Once the loan was approved by the city council, nothing was ever said about it again.

I've expressed my opinion about LSC on other threads and don't feel the need to repeat myself, but I will say that LSC should not be subsidized by Jersey City for several reasons 1) the 100+ "jobs" held by Jersey City residents are mostly dead-end low paying positions. i.e. cashier, janitor, exhibit technician, 2) per the Form 990, none of the highest paid independent contractors are based in Jersey City and 3) if the place ever has serious financial problems to the point where it could be closed, I don't think the State of New Jersey would let that happen. Let the state subsidize that place - LSC brings people into New Jersey, but I don't think it brings many people specifically into the surrounding Jersey City neighborhoods to spend money.

Posted on: 3/15 0:18
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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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mia wrote:
On March 22nd, ordinance 17-023 is up for a 2nd reading and a vote. This is a short 11minute video that you can watch on YouTube . The ordinance transfers 16 acres of very valuable city-owned land to the JC Redevelopment Agency for $1. Then the JCRA sells the land to the Liberty Science Center's redeveloper of their choice to build the $230 Million Tech Center.

Last I heard, LSC is going to pay for the land.

It'll be assessed before the sale.

If you set up something to advocate an earlier assessment, that sounds fine to me. Calling the whole thing off? Not so much.


Quote:
The City loaned the LSC $2.5 million in 2008 as they were strapped. Who knows if they ever paid it back!

They got a loan in 2008, when the entire US economy was in a tailspin. It was a bridge loan, due in 2010. It was a whopping 10% of their operating budget, and they asked for it because the state slashed its grant to the LSC. (Fulop opposed the loan, by the way.)

Oddly enough, they haven't asked for additional loans since then.

If you're trying to tar the LSC as fiscally irresponsible, you're going to have to do more than say "they took out a small loan 9 years ago!!!"


Quote:
Now we're to believe that a $22 Million organization, which can't break even, can build a $230 Million++ SciTech Scity. The redeveloper is UNKNOWN...

LSC is in charge, and have appointed trustees. They are raising money already for the project. It's a bit early for too much more than a master plan.

Oddly enough, Fulop hated the 2008 loan, and is backing this plan. Go figure.

I also have to say, I vastly prefer to the previous plan, which was a 10 story hotel and conference center. Don't you?

Posted on: 3/14 19:16
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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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iGreg wrote:
So you'd pass on the $1 sale price ?


Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
While I think the SciTech idea is downright silly, your claim about that plot of land being "very valuable" is almost as goofy. It is contaminated marsh land, sandwiched between an industrial service road and the turnpike extension, and during most of the year it stinks terribly.





The land has value. The city should be compensated for it. The tax payers should not be free bring this project. Maybe they can rent the land.

Posted on: 3/14 18:43
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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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So you'd pass on the $1 sale price ?


Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:
While I think the SciTech idea is downright silly, your claim about that plot of land being "very valuable" is almost as goofy. It is contaminated marsh land, sandwiched between an industrial service road and the turnpike extension, and during most of the year it stinks terribly.




Posted on: 3/14 15:06
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Re: Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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While I think the SciTech idea is downright silly, your claim about that plot of land being "very valuable" is almost as goofy. It is contaminated marsh land, sandwiched between an industrial service road and the turnpike extension, and during most of the year it stinks terribly.

Posted on: 3/14 15:00
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Stop the give away of taxpayers' city owned land. Ordinance 17-023
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On March 22nd, ordinance 17-023 is up for a 2nd reading and a vote. This is a short 11minute video that you can watch on YouTube . The ordinance transfers 16 acres of very valuable city-owned land to the JC Redevelopment Agency for $1. Then the JCRA sells the land to the Liberty Science Center's redeveloper of their choice to build the $230 Million Tech Center. Their latest 990 tax return available @ June 30, 2015 shows that after 17 years, as the original LSC was built in 1998, they had $22.1 million in revenues but lost $1.9 million! The City loaned the LSC $2.5 million in 2008 as they were strapped. Who knows if they ever paid it back! Now we're to believe that a $22 Million organization, which can't break even, can build a $230 Million++ SciTech Scity. The redeveloper is UNKNOWN... This smells of a huge land grab of taxpayers assets, which will make some developer rich. Watch the video and contact your Councilperson and SAY VOTE NO! Only Councilmen Boggiano & Yun voted NO on the introduction. We need 3 more NO votes...

Posted on: 3/14 14:03
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Monroe wrote:
What a load of crap. JC will get back money, an unknown amount, IF profits are generated AFTER $78 million is paid back from these 'profits'? Just how much merch do they sell now from the gift shop?

A good accountant can structure this so the LSC won't make a profit for a hundred years, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that JC will continue to subsidize it-now they expect it to pay back $78 million of profits, when JC has been throwing money at it for years??


+1. I couldn't have said it better myself, other than the fact that they couldn't even run the place when it was just a museum, how can LSC run a hotel, school, condos and whatever other crap they think they're going to build there?

Can't wait to see what kind of cost overruns alone this place has when they build it.

Posted on: 3/13 11:15
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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What a load of crap. JC will get back money, an unknown amount, IF profits are generated AFTER $78 million is paid back from these 'profits'? Just how much merch do they sell now from the gift shop?

A good accountant can structure this so the LSC won't make a profit for a hundred years, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that JC will continue to subsidize it-now they expect it to pay back $78 million of profits, when JC has been throwing money at it for years??

Posted on: 3/12 12:39
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Will JC residents get in for free ?


Posted on: 3/12 11:43
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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‘Tech village’ clears council

Liberty Science Center will pay city for 17 acres of land

by Al Sullivan  Reporter staff writer - Mar 12, 2017
The City Council decided at its caucus meeting March 6 to transfer about 17 acres of city-owned property to the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority (JCRA) for a proposed new tech research and residential village near Liberty State Park.

An ordinance will authorize the land transfer to the JCRA, which in turn will give the land to the Liberty Science Center (LSC) for the construction of the new $280 million project. It will feature a biotech lab, a coding lab, a technology business incubator, and a K-12 STEM-focused school, as well as a scholar’s village with residences for visiting scientists.

Some council members continued to have reservations about giving the land to the JCRA before knowing what its actual value is. David Donnelly, executive director of the JCRA, assured the council that the city would be compensated for the land after it has been assessed, prior to the closing on the property.

Posted on: 3/12 0:20

Edited by Stringer on 2017/3/12 0:45:01
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Yvonne wrote:
First, this land is worth more than $20 million. We sold 2.5 acres to the Medical Center for $24 million. Healy's negoitations were $12 million and Fulop increased the price. This land is in a park, near the Light Rail with spectular views. It is probably worth more per acre than the land we sold to the Medical Center. It could be $160 million to $200 million dollars for the site. In the meantime, we bond for everything and Fulop did keep our money from the MUA. That is $31.5 million. Let's get real, the city is always trying to figure out ways to balance its budget. Stop the games, give one acre to the public school for a new high school and sell the rest of the land to put in our budget.
amen, yvonne! fulop is certainly no bernie sanders

Posted on: 2/26 21:23
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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First, this land is worth more than $20 million. We sold 2.5 acres to the Medical Center for $24 million. Healy's negoitations were $12 million and Fulop increased the price. This land is in a park, near the Light Rail with spectular views. It is probably worth more per acre than the land we sold to the Medical Center. It could be $160 million to $200 million dollars for the site. In the meantime, we bond for everything and Fulop did keep our money from the MUA. That is $31.5 million. Let's get real, the city is always trying to figure out ways to balance its budget. Stop the games, give one acre to the public school for a new high school and sell the rest of the land to put in our budget.

Posted on: 2/26 16:46
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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You guys are nuts. If this land was sold at market value, we wouldn't get any of the community benefits coming from SciTech, such as the K12 school, the science and technology incubator, or the unique architecture. This will also have economic spin offs bringing much needed jobs!

This $20 million subsidy from the city is needed to make this happen, or we would just get the run of the mill apartments and condos here.

I think the city already does a good job at marketing and selling vacant and underutilized city land for redevelopment and having it produce revenue in the form of PILOT payments or property taxes. I would just put that process on steroids sell to whatever developer is willing to pay the most money up front plus whatever would generate the most in taxes. I think that's already happening in Journal Square with all the big mega towers going up.


Posted on: 2/25 11:54
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Stringer wrote:

Fulop critics urge Jersey City Council to rethink $20M Liberty Science Center land deal

HUDSON COUNTY VIEW -By  John Heinis 

this is why its time for fulop to go! does this guy have any ethics! the building looks nice but i didn't realize he was gifting $20 million to the developers?

Posted on: 2/25 10:13
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Fulop critics urge Jersey City Council to rethink $20M Liberty Science Center land deal

HUDSON COUNTY VIEW -By  John Heinis 


Posted on: 2/24 20:10
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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135jc wrote:
Smells like Xanadu II!
ditto. i'm not sure there is a business case for this? i could see if a major university were opening there, but a k-12 school- charter or public? funding?

Posted on: 1/31 6:59
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Smells like Xanadu II!

Posted on: 1/30 23:28
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Re: Transformative SciTechsity Science Technology Campus LSC Advance Council Approval
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Plans for Liberty Science Center expansion clear hurdle

By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on January 30, 2017 at 4:31 PM

JERSEY CITY -- New zoning approved by the City Council last week paves the way for a $280 million expansion of Liberty Science Center that will include a K-12 science and math-focused school, labs and a "scholars village" with residences for visiting scientists.

The project, known as Scitech Scity, is slated for 16 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the science center. Mayor Steve Fulop in a statement touted the project as one that will be a catalyst for a growing technology sector in Jersey City.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... _liberty_science_cen.html


Posted on: 1/30 21:16
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Re: Transformative SciTechsity Science Technology Campus LSC Advance Council Approval
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"Funding for the project is expected to come largely from venture partners and philanthropists"

Sounds great! I just hope they already know who is paying for this so we dont get stuck with the bill in a few years. Looking forward to it though.

Posted on: 1/27 10:13
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Transformative SciTechsity Science Technology Campus LSC Advance Council Approval
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Posted on: 1/27 2:08
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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JCGuys wrote:
Quote:

caj11 wrote:
Must be nice, with all the FREE land they're getting from Jersey City to build it. Are we sure we can trust Liberty Science Center to not screw this project up?

Remember some years ago when the city had to bail out Liberty Science Center with an interest-free $ 2.5 million loan? This was because when they expanded their buildings years ago, they had no clue how massive the increased utility costs were going to be. I don't know if they ever paid the loan back either.

Furthermore, let's not forget all the vice presidents the organization has with their extremely bloated salaries and yet they laid off a slew of people who make less than $ 30,000 per year. Yeah, I'm sure they'll do great running a hotel, school, residential community and research facility.


You sound like DanL. This is a fantastic and welcomed addition to the city. Unless you're saying the land should have been sold to the highest bidder.


The land should have been sold to the highest bidder but that's another matter. It will be fantastic if it ever actually gets built and the Liberty Science Center knows what the hell they're doing when they are running it. Given their past track record, I can't see how they can be trusted.

Posted on: 1/6 13:04
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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caj11 wrote:
Must be nice, with all the FREE land they're getting from Jersey City to build it. Are we sure we can trust Liberty Science Center to not screw this project up?

Remember some years ago when the city had to bail out Liberty Science Center with an interest-free $ 2.5 million loan? This was because when they expanded their buildings years ago, they had no clue how massive the increased utility costs were going to be. I don't know if they ever paid the loan back either.

Furthermore, let's not forget all the vice presidents the organization has with their extremely bloated salaries and yet they laid off a slew of people who make less than $ 30,000 per year. Yeah, I'm sure they'll do great running a hotel, school, residential community and research facility.


You sound like DanL. This is a fantastic and welcomed addition to the city. Unless you're saying the land should have been sold to the highest bidder.

Posted on: 1/6 12:52
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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I guess it'll need a superhighway from the Liberty Diner to Van Vorst Park, once they build the car bridge alongside the stinky bridge to connect downtown without having to drive Grand/Pacific/Johnston to get there.

Posted on: 1/6 12:38
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Re: Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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Must be nice, with all the FREE land they're getting from Jersey City to build it. Are we sure we can trust Liberty Science Center to not screw this project up?

Remember some years ago when the city had to bail out Liberty Science Center with an interest-free $ 2.5 million loan? This was because when they expanded their buildings years ago, they had no clue how massive the increased utility costs were going to be. I don't know if they ever paid the loan back either.

Furthermore, let's not forget all the vice presidents the organization has with their extremely bloated salaries and yet they laid off a slew of people who make less than $ 30,000 per year. Yeah, I'm sure they'll do great running a hotel, school, residential community and research facility.

Posted on: 1/6 12:32
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Wow - LSC's Updated Plans for SciTech Scity
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