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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Hooray for Toll Brothers!!!!!!!!
I live in the PAD too, and I love the fact that all the Redevelopment is happening. I understand people?s concerns about conserving the historic factory buildings, but lets call a spade a spade. As of right now, I wouldn't allow my wife to walk the streets at night through that area (although crime is low, it just doesn't feel safe). Second those buildings are ugly (they resemble crack houses); I don't know how you could renovate those buildings to attract anyone. Third and most important which no one mentions, is MONEY. It cost a ton of money to renovate/ build anything especially downtown JC. Everyone complains, yet I didn't see you break out your checkbooks to place a bid for any of these projects to build to your personal specs, and the reason you didn?t is because there are only a few firms in the northeast that can make that size of an investment. So if Toll is willing to write the check to clean up our PAD and make it a more desirable location, I applaud them. And if they need greater density to make a profit then so be it (you wouldn?t do it for free). All I would only ask of the town council is to have a heavy hand in the decision making as to how the buildings will look, and the quality of the work is superior so that the end product will attract the upper echelon. In 5-10 years the PAD will be more desirable than anywhere else in Hudson county if we do it correctly. Inside A and Trump are turning out to be great projects with class A tenants.
Does anyone know how Onyx Equity is doing with 30 Montgomery, I am really excited to see what happens there. Columbus Circle is a great location in NY, if they turn that project into something like that, this town will skyrocket!

Posted on: 2008/3/31 12:55
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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for all of those who disagree with the proposed ammendments or anything else related to this issue, PLEASE come out to the next City Council meeting on April 9th.

during the discussion of the ammendments the public has an opportunity to comment.

also - you can also speak during the open speaking portion of the council meeting. this occurs after the ordinances are voted on - so....

you can comment on the results of the council vote on the ammendments or talk about anything else, such as p2p, conflicts of interest, nepotism, patronage ... anything you want to say, postive or negative.

to sign up to speak - call the office of the City Clerk at (201) 547-5150 either on April 7th or April 8th, in advance of the meeting.

if you do not speak out.... who will....

Posted on: 2008/3/28 18:14
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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The city council & planning board should realize that it isn't their responsibility to maximize Toll Brothers profits and stock price.

They can make a hefty enough some of money abiding by the PAD codes, and the neigborhood will be a better place if they do.

The council is full of witless imbeciles that green-light anything a developer wants, without exception. You'd might as well have a council of monkeys up there and give them all switches that say "YES".

None of these morons take the PATH to work during morning rush hour. The system is hopelessly over-capacity NOW. And this is with the current new towers already built and not occupied yet! Its only going to get worse going forward.

Anyone that aggrees to these towers is clueless.

Posted on: 2008/3/28 17:37
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Allowing taller towers gets OK, and criticism
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Allowing taller towers gets OK, and criticism

Friday, March 28, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

In an 8-1 vote, the Jersey City City Council introduced amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan on Wednesday that will allow a developer to exceed height and density standards in the original plan.

The vote paves the way for Toll Brothers to build three towers Downtown, 30, 35, and 40 stories tall. The original plan limited the height of buildings in the area to roughly 10 stories.

Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop voted against the amendments on the grounds that it goes against the intentions of the original plan.

"Up until this point in time there has been zero public support for these changes," complained Jersey City resident Daniel Levin. "We are shifting gears in a 40-year redevelopment plan after four years."

Neighborhood activists who protested the amendments at the Planning Board said they plan to turn out in full force for the council's April 9 meeting when the amendments will be up for final adoption and a public hearing will be held.

Toll Brothers also plans to build a 550-seat performing arts theater with gallery space and the 24,000-square-foot Provost Square plaza.

Toll Brothers would also contribute $1.5 million to the startup of the theater. The development includes 11 live/work units for artists that would be price-restricted to 70 percent of the market value.

Posted on: 2008/3/28 13:08
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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it is a change in policy to not redo the historic designation

it is a change in policy to dramatically alter the 40 year redevelopment plan that was working as intended a few years into it

the change in policy followed numerous unanimous votes to create the historic district and PAD redevelopment plan

there as yet to be expressed public support for the change in policy at any public meeting to date

Mayor Healy, Council President Vega, Councilmen Brennan, Gaughan and Lipski and Councilwoman Richardson were all part of the past unanimous votes.

See for your selves at this link video of the October 2004 council meeting that resulted in a unanimous vote to create the historic district where -

http://underdevelopment.tv/2008/02/23 ... oric-designation-meeting/

Mayor Healy voted yes

Councilman Vega placated unions over jobs, then rising to his feet stated that he would defend the historic designation (and arts district) to the Supreme Court.

Councilman Lipski cites the very same cobblestone road with imbedded rail as reason to create the historic district as the proposed admendments allow to be destroyed and given to the developer.

See for yourself and regardless as to whether you support(ed) the historic district and PAD or not, is this how you want your government to make irrevocable policy decisions?

Tonight is the first reading and vote to introduce the changes. If you sign up in advance you can speak during the open speaking portion of the meeting.

Posted on: 2008/3/26 17:02
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Bigger buildings? Council set to vote on Toll Bros. plan
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Bigger buildings?
Council set to vote on Toll Bros. plan

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Jersey City City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan that would allow the developer Toll Brothers to exceed height and density standards in the original plan.

The PAD plan limits building heights to roughly 100 feet or 10 stories, city officials said.

Toll Brothers owns three lots in the Powerhouse Arts District, including the block at Morgan Street and Marin Boulevard, where the old Manischewitz plant is located.

At the Manischewitz site, Toll Brothers has proposed a two-tower development stretching 35 and 40 stories. Across Provost Street to the west, the developer wants to build a 30-story structure. The facade of the Manischewitz building will be preserved.

The proposed density exceeds the redevelopment plan by about 20 percent, city officials said.

"These proposed amendments are ludicrous," countered Jill Edelman, president of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association. "No other city has so little respect to their own laws."

The proposal violates several planks of the redevelopment plan, she said.

In return for these changes, the developer proposes several amenities and an affordable housing component.

Toll Brothers is offering to build a 550-seat performing arts theater with gallery space and the 24,000-square-foot Provost Square plaza. Toll Brothers would also contribute $1.5 million to the startup of the theater.

Thirty-two "workforce housing" units would be built on a 10,000-square-foot vacant lot at Marin Boulevard and Bay Street. Artists would be given preference for purchasing these units, officials said.

In addition, the Toll Brothers would pay $150,000 per unit for another 18 affordable housing units off site.

The developments include 11 live/work units for artists that would be price-restricted to 70 percent of the market value, James McCann, the attorney representing Toll Brothers, told City Council members Monday night.

The council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Middle School 4, 107 Bright St.

Posted on: 2008/3/26 13:02
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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On the Planning Board agenda for TONIGHT - 110 First Street:

Planning Board, scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. in the 14th Floor Conference Room at 30 Montgomery St., Jersey City, New Jersey.

12. Case: P07-157 Preliminary Major Site Plan
Applicant: Athena Bldg Urban Renewal , LLC
Attorney: Angela M. Gurrera
Review Planner: Maryann Bucci-Carter
Address: 110 First Street
Block: 109 Lot: W.A
Zone: Powerhouse Arts Redevelopment Plan
Description: Construction of a 452 dwelling unit residential high rise containing 343 parking spaces and 13, 970sf. of retail

(NOT Toll Brothers, but next door)

Posted on: 2008/1/29 20:17
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Re: OK for arts district towers
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What's next? Does anybody know when the City Council Dog and Pony show is? We all know the Toll plan is a done deal but I for one plan to at least make some more noise about it.....

Posted on: 2008/1/24 20:31
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OK for arts district towers
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OK for arts district towers

Thursday, January 24, 2008
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Jersey City Planning Board last Wednesday night gave its unanimous approval to the Toll Brothers' plan to build three high-rise towers around the Manischewitz property in the Powerhouse Arts District, pleasing developers but disappointing artists and conservationists.

In voting 8-0 to recommend that the City Council approve an amendment to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan that would allow for building residential towers of 30, 35 and 40 stories, it determined the proposal is consistent with the Jersey City Master Plan.

Toll Brothers is offering to build a 550-seat performing arts theater with gallery space and 25,000-square-foot Provost Square in return for allowing it to build 950 apartments in the three high-rise towers, and for the right to knock down two warehouses and all but the fa?ade of the former Manischewitz plant. The builder ould also be allowed to dedicate less housing to artist's live/work spaces.

The decision left around 70 members of Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association and other preservation groups which turned up at Middle School 4 on Bright Street last Wednesdat night disappointed but vowing to fight on.

"We have nothing against the plaza, but at what cost?" asked Jill Edelman, president of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association, after the meeting. "We bought into a very specific plan, which we have seen succeed, and we are the beneficiaries of that success."

There was no public comment at the meeting, but a few shouted their objections to the Planning Board.

Toll Brothers and the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association made their opposing presentations at a five-hour meeting in November.

The neighborhood association did, however, win one small victory when the developer said he would reuse Provost Street cobblestones in the plaza - but not old railway tracks.

Under the proposal, Toll Brothers can market 10 percent of the housing to "working families" rather than artists for the first 180 days after the units are built. Half of those could be built off site. Just 12 units will comply with requirement for live-and-work loft space, and one of those will be dedicated to artists.

"The public is very passionate and well prepared," said Councilman Steve Lipski, a member of the Planning Commission. "But in the end everyone will be better off."

Robert Cotter, director of the Planning Department, spoke in favor of the plan, saying that it would create a vibrant theater and arts district.

"I don't think this is contrary to the Powerhouse Arts District, but it is a step up," Cotter said.

Posted on: 2008/1/24 14:45
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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If you think the PATH commute will be fun, wait until the full impact of the added cars on the streets materializes. It's already a traffic nightmare! All the best. G

Posted on: 2008/1/22 22:45
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Anyone getting on the Grove Street PATH between 8-9am knows it is already overcapacity. Every train pulls into the station from Newark already full to the brim.

And this is without Grove Point and Columbus towers occupied yet. Now Toll is adding almost 1000 units!

How are we going to commute to work?

Posted on: 2008/1/22 21:20
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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This is so sad. The Toll Brothers have the government
feeding out of their hands like pigeons picking at crumbs.

More ugly, useless big buildings. When does
enough become enough?

Posted on: 2008/1/20 20:09
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Less artist housing, but theater/gallery likely

Toll Brothers gets closer to developing three towers, demolishing cobblestone street
Ricardo Kaulessar
Reporter staff writer

THE PLANNING BOARD ? At its Wednesday meeting, the Jersey City Planning Board approved amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan. This will help Toll Bros. build three towers. Some area artists were unhappy with the changes.
The Jersey City Planning Board at their meeting on Wednesday voted to recommend amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, changing the restrictions on height and density of buildings to make it easier for national developer Toll Brothers to develop three proposed towers the way they want to.

But some area artists are not very happy about the changes.

Those changes mean that Toll Bros. can build less housing for artists, as well as destroy two historic warehouses and a cobblestone street, although Toll Bros. plans to keep the cobblestones for a future plaza.

But Toll Brothers also plans to build a 550-seat theater and gallery in addition to the towers.

The three towers are expected to be 30, 35, and 40 stories high, totaling 950 units. Toll Brothers hopes to also demolish most of the former Manischewitz plant on Marin Boulevard and Bay Street, except for the fa?ade.
Other implications

Advertisement

The entire project is currently named Provost Square. It will have a 24,000-square-foot plaza on what is currently Provost Street that would also take away one of the city's last remaining cobblestone streets.

Toll Bros. is now allowed to market 10 percent of housing to working families, instead of artists, for the first 180 days after the units are built.

There is one more hurdle to clear before these changes are approved. The plan needs a go-ahead from the City Council. But if the vote by the Planning Board is any indication, the council is likely to approve the amendments.

Not part of it

What also helped was the testimony of Robert Cotter, director of the city's Planning Department, who spoke in positive terms of the Toll Bros. Plan. He also said he believes the area to be developed is not actually in the Powerhouse Arts District (PAD), which has specific zoning.

The Powerhouse Arts District (PAD) in Downtown Jersey City is an 11-block area that stretches east to west from Marin Boulevard to Washington Boulevard, and from north to south from Second Street to Bay Street.

In 2004, the district was officially designated for redevelopment by the city, and is supposed to include 10 percent affordable housing, particularly for artists.

The district's crown jewel is its namesake - the old Hudson and Manhattan Powerhouse building on Washington Blvd., which once provided electricity for the massive Hudson Manhattan railroad (the precursor to the PATH system). City officials have considered turning it into a shopping and entertainment complex, as was done with the old Baltimore Power Station on Baltimore's inner harbor.

The district is full of majestic warehouse structures that once served as homes to suppliers and manufacturers such as the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A&P).

Residents very concerned

Cotter said at the meeting that the Toll Bros. project will bring more people into the area and help create a vital theater and arts district.

The meeting was the continuation of a Nov. 27 Planning Board meeting, where over five hours of public testimony was given by advocates and critics of the Toll Bros. project.

Wednesday's meeting was just to hear Planning Department staff give their assessment of the amendments being considered, before a vote.

Residents of the PAD, who are part of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association (PADNA) have gone before city officials since they formed in 2006. They have tried to make sure the district is developed according its redevelopment plan. This means following guidelines for height and mass, conversion of the warehouses, 10 percent affordable housing (particularly for artists), and 1 percent construction costs dedicated to the arts.

PADNA have been concerned about high-rise development encroaching upon their district.

They were first perturbed by the 550-feet tower planned for 111 First St., a building that used to contain working artists. That building was located in the PAD until 2006, when it was placed in its own special zone in order to settle legal matters between the developer, New Gold Equities, and the city.

Now, PADNA finds itself on the losing end of another development battle.

Jill Edelman, current president of PADNA, commented last week on the Planning Board decision.

"Everyone needs to keep this in mind," she said. "What Toll Bros. was seeking was a doubling of density. And a doubling of density is a doubling of profits. For the commissioners to grant them this approval is to grant them a large financial gift."

Several artists' districts foundered

At the Planning Board meeting, Cotter described the history of the Powerhouse Arts District from its origins in the 1990s. At that time, longtime arts advocate and resident Charles Kessler and local historian Rick James came to him with the idea of an arts district.

Both Kessler and James were in the audience on Wednesday, and both could only look on in disappointment.

Cotter then described how over the next 10 years, the city's master plan was changed to make way for the WALDO (Work and Live District Overlay), a precursor for the Powerhouse Arts District, which would attract more artists to an area already being settled by those engaged with the arts by requiring all those settling in the WALDO to be artists.

That district was short-lived due to resistance by property owners.

This controversy led to the Powerhouse Arts District, which would allow for a mix of artists and non-artists.

But now, Toll does not have to deal entirely with that zoning either. Cotter said that a part of Toll Bros.' project is actually outside of the district, specifically the Manischewitz site.

Cotter said the block of the Manischewitz site is not included in the PAD, but instead is in a larger "land-use district" that only includes Newport and Exchange Place "This block is actually planned to be similar in densities and intensities as the Newport area and Colgate Exchange area where the 800-foot Goldman Sachs building sits," Cotter said. "This was a bit of a surprise to me when I saw it."

Cotter later praised the Toll Bros. plan, and soon, members of the Planning Board agreed.

http://www.zwire.com/site/printerFrie ... id=523586&newsid=19214355

Resized Image[img]http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19214355&BRD=1291&PAG=461&dept_id=523586&rfi=6[/img]

Posted on: 2008/1/20 13:01
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Sorry to say but the Powerhouse "Arts" District became extinct as soon as that 52 story Rem Koolhaus building was proposed. Although I like the design, the precedent for deviating from the master plan was set. All you can do now is pray that Toll doesn't put up a turd of a building.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 20:02
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Re: JC's planning board=Toll Bro's Lap Dogs!
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Quote:

ianmac47 wrote:
This could be an interesting use for the powerhouse:

http://gizmodo.com/346070/modem-berli ... oned-cold-war-power-plant


Interesting use for an old power plant, indeed.

Berlin, though, is a world-class city, with world-class museums and galleries. Also plenty of cash.

Jersey City is, well, Dirty Shitty.

We'll be lucky if we get ESPNZone.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 19:11
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Re: JC's planning board=Toll Bro's Lap Dogs!
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This could be an interesting use for the powerhouse:

http://gizmodo.com/346070/modem-berli ... oned-cold-war-power-plant

Posted on: 2008/1/17 18:52
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Re: JC's planning board=Toll Bro's Lap Dogs!
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the Baltimore Powerhouse was originally redeveloped into an indoor amusement park in the 1980's (do not believe it was Cordish), it failed and Cordish took over and developed the present retail mix; Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Sports Zone etc. if these businesses still remain there.

Cordish was brought to JC by the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy around 1999/2000 in effort to stave off demolistion of our Powerhouse.

Cordish was not the first designated developer of the H&M Powerhouse. The first developer was to build commercial office space. So depending on your views, we are fortunate that failed and Cordish was subsequently brought in. There is of course more to the story...

Quote:

bdlaw wrote:
Quote:

HGLNYC wrote:
Tonite the JC planning board rolled over and handed the Powerhouse dist to Toll Brothers on a silver platter. One member commented on going to Baltimore to their "Powerhouse" ...


Can you clarify that? Cordish (sp?) is the developer of the Baltimore Powerhouse, not Toll Brothers.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the meeting tonight (doesn't seem like it would've made a difference) because I was working at home.

On another note- Starbucks was already on their way- sign in Grove Point building.

Signed,

A (not terribly surprised yet still pissed off) resident of the PAD.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 17:53
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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One thing that's really awful is seeing "big name" architects designing buildings for the projects.

On the one hand, I guess I'd rather see a nicely designed building going up than LeFrak building clone Number 497, but, on the other hand, what are architects doing contributing to the destruction of beautiful old warehouses? Those architects ought to be jeered out of architecture.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 17:49
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Re: JC's planning board=Toll Bro's Lap Dogs!
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Sorry for any confusion. One of the "Lapdogs" mentoned that he had been to Baltimore's Powerhouse and it could be a model for ours. Yes it is a different developer, nothing to do with the current proposal. I've been to the one in Baltimore and its' a big shopping mall anchored by a big B&N bookstore...the closest thing to art is the art book section. I also know the Toll's , my company does work for them...the slogan on their letter head reads "AMERICA'S LUXURY HOME BUILDER". I guess a $5000 a month apt in JC would seem "affordable" to someone paying $12,000 a month in Manhattan n'est pas? I'm sure if you fill out that little drawing test in the back of TV guide you can qualify for one of the bargandada artists studio's as well. When is the City council vote? We "Jane Jacob's" have our work cut out!

Posted on: 2008/1/17 16:52
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Cordish was the developer of the Baltimore powerhouse, and is the assigned developer of the Jersey City powerhouse, but other than being the namesake for the neighborhood, the Powerhouse has nothing to do with Toll Brothers' towers. Cordish is addicted to powerhouse conversions; besides Baltimore they did one in Richmond.

http://retailtrafficmag.com/development/retail_power_plants/

I would love for a local Barnes and Noble. A local branch of The Strand would be better, but still. Retail may not be a noble use of the powerhouse, but it least it will bring life back to the building.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 15:37
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Unanimous approval for Toll Brothers plan - OK for 3 towers in arts district - 30, 35 and 40 stories
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OK for 3 towers in arts district

Thursday, January 17, 2008
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Jersey City Planning Board last night gave its unanimous approval to the Toll Brothers plan to build three high-rise towers around the Manischewitz property in the Powerhouse Arts District, pleasing developers but disappointing artists and conservationists.

In voting 8-0 to recommend that the City Council approve an amendment to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan that would allow for building residential towers of 30, 35 and 40 stories, it determined the proposal is consistent with the Jersey City Master Plan.

"We worked very hard on the project and are obviously very pleased with the decision," said James C. McCann, attorney for Toll Brothers. "I think it will change the Powerhouse Arts District in a good way."

Toll Brothers is offering to build a 550-seat performing arts theater with gallery space and 25,000-square-foot Provost Square in return for allowing it to build 950 apartments in the three high-rise towers, and for the right to knock down two warehouses and all but the fa?ade of the former Manischewitz plant. The builder ould also be allowed to dedicate less housing to artist's live/work spaces.

The decision left around 70 members of Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association and other preservation groups which turned up at Middle School 4 on Bright Street last night disappointed but vowing to fight on.

"We have nothing against the plaza, but at what cost?" asked Jill Edelman, president of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association, after the meeting. "We bought into a very specific plan, which we have seen succeed, and we are the beneficiaries of that success."

There was no public comment at the meeting, but a few shouted their objections to the Planning Board.

Toll Brothers and the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association made their opposing presentations at a five-hour meeting in November.

The neighborhood association did, however, win one small victory when the developer said he would reuse Provost Street cobblestones in the plaza - but not old railway tracks.

Under the proposal, Toll Brothers can market 10 percent of the housing to "working families" rather than artists for the first 180 days after the units are built. Half of those could be built off site. Just 12 units will comply with requirement for live-and-work loft space, and one of those will be dedicated to artists.

Robert Cotter, director of the Planning Department, spoke in favor of the plan, saying that it would create a vibrant theater and arts district.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 15:27
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Bob Cotter was bought and paid for by Joe Panepinto long ago. Joe Panepinto, of Panepinto Properties, who was disbarred 25 years ago for bank fraud and laundering. He taught Bob how the system "works" in Jersey City. Now Joe has given Bob Torricelli a peice of Panepinto Properties for all his years of service. I wonder which project Bob Cotters going to be partners in?

Posted on: 2008/1/17 14:58
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Re: JC's planning board=Toll Bro's Lap Dogs!
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Bob Cotter, JC's Director of Planning, folded like a deck of cards last night and was wearing black sweatpants. Thank God he is retiring. I wonder what the Toll Brothers ponied up for his 'about face.' Pathetic! Good riddance Bobby now get down to Miami.

Posted on: 2008/1/17 13:08
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Re: PADNA vs. Toll: Planning Brd Final, Wed, Jan 16
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Quote:
Toll Brothers Manischewitz building plan OK'd

by Charles Hack Wednesday January 16, 2008, 8:06 PM

The Jersey City Planning Board tonight gave its unanimous approval of the Toll Brothers plan to build three high-rise towers on the Manischewitz property in the Powerhouse Arts District.

Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association members showed up in force for the meeting at School 4 on Bright Street, about 70 strong. There was no public comment at the meeting, but they shouted objections while Toll Brothers officials spoke of the developer's plan.


The Toll Brothers plans calls for three towers -- 30 stories, 35 stories and 40 stories -- as well as a 550-seat performance arts center. The developer promised to keep the facade on two walls of the historic building.

***********************************************
This will not only set a precedent of threats against all historic districts in Jersey City but this classic example of facadism and destruction of the cobblestones will erase a major part of the history of downtown Jersey City's industrial beginning.

Your next chance to speak out against this travesty will be before the City Council and we will post here when it is scheduled for 1st reading. During the meantime contact all the council persons and the Mayor about how you want them to deny the Toll Brothers 30 story megaliths and it's facadism!

Stay tuned.

The PAD is home to over 500 residents with more than $200 million invested in the neighborhood. PADNA has over 150 active members, supports the current Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, and strives for a transparent city government that supports its residents.
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July 15, 1985

'FACADISM' ON THE RISE: PRESERVATION OR ILLUSION?

By PAUL GOLDBERGER


If the Landmarks Preservation Commission agrees, before long there will be a 19-story apartment tower squeezed behind the facades of a trio of old brownstones on East 79th Street just off Park Avenue. The brownstone fronts will remain, essentially as false fronts behind which the new tower will rise.

If this unusual hybrid building goes ahead, however, it may not be the only such structure in New York: the commission has already given its nod to a much larger, but essentially similar, building, a 57-story tower designed to slip behind the facades of the landmark Rizzoli and Coty buildings on Fifth Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets.

The two buildings were both planned by distinguished architectural firms -Conklin Rossant at 79th Street and Kohn Pederson Fox at Fifth Avenue. Though neither is ideal, both designs follow the current fashion of integrating distinct historical elements into a larger whole, and they are both among the more sophisticated essays in this eclectic style.

Used in Other Cities

But the quality of the proposed towers is beside the point. They raise a larger issue, the whole matter of ''facadism,'' as the business of saving the fronts but scooping out the backs of landmark buildings has come to be called.

It is a way of building that is new to New York, but which already is relatively common in other cities, especially Washington, where it has served as a frequent means of detente between preservationists and developers.

For facadism holds out a great temptation - it seems, on the surface, to give both sides what they want. The small, older buildings valued by preservationists appear to be saved, while the large new ones developers seek can still be built.

But while facadism pretends to a certain earnestness, it is at bottom rather pernicious. For the compromise it represents is not really preservation at all. To save only the facade of a building is not to save its essence; it is to turn the building into a stage set, into a cute toy intended to make a skyscraper more palatable. And the street becomes a kind of Disneyland of false fronts.

A Case in Point

The Fifth Avenue project is a good case in point. The proposed tower is to be built behind one of Fifth Avenue's great blocks, a superb row of early 20th-century commercial buildings that includes the structure at No. 714 with three floors of windows by Rene Lalique, the great French artisan in glass, and the 712 Fifth Avenue building that until recently housed the offices and bookshop of Rizzoli, the Italian publisher.

These buildings, along with the pleasant, small building that once housed the Custom Shirt Shop, the marble-faced structure of Harry Winston, the jeweler, and the brownstone Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, together form one of the only completely intact, older blocks of Fifth Avenue, a street that has always had a remarkable combination of grandeur and modest scale.

For years, this block has been as important to Fifth Avenue's ambiance as Rockefeller Center - and it is all the more so now, in the years since the avenue's scale has been so brutally shattered by insensitive, larger buildings like Olympic Tower at 51st Street.

The developers - a partnership of Solomon Equities, G. Ware Travelstead and First Boston Corporation -originally proposed razing the Rizzoli, Coty and Custom Shop buildings and erecting in their place a skyscraper essentially like the one now proposed. But when the city, over the developers' objections, declared the buildings landmarks, the developers sent the architect William Pederson back to his drawing board to come up with a compromise in which they could save the landmarks and still get their tower.

That is the current plan, which calls for the tower to be shoved 50 feet back from Fifth Avenue and for the Lalique glass in the facade of the Coty Building to become the front wall of an atrium that would serve as the tower's entry. The old buildings would become, literally, a doormat for the tower, a small stoop cowering before a ponderous skyscraper of entirely different scale.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission, perhaps eager to appear flexible, has approved the plan. But some civic groups, led by the Municipal Art Society, have continued to object to the project as a violation of the spirit of the city's landmarks law. The building still has one political hurdle to clear, for zoning variances it requires will need the approval of the city's Board of Standards and Appeals.

Plans for 18-Story Tower

The situation has become more complex still by the announcement by Harry Winston, the jeweler, of a further instance of facadism - a plan to erect an 18-story tower on top of its building on the corner of 56th Street. That tower is being planned only because Winston's owners and the developers of the larger tower could not agree on a price for the air rights over the Winston building, which the developers had hoped to use to make the big tower bigger still.

Some observers of the real-estate industry speculate that the Winston project may be only a bluff, intended to intensify the negotiations for Winston's air rights - but the fact that it could be planned at all surely proves the extent to which the smaller buildings on Fifth Avenue have become pawns in the game of large-scale real estate.

And that is the problem - small buildings like the ones on this Fifth Avenue block are pawns, not active players. No matter how good they are as works of architecture, they do not have the economic strength to be treated as essential parts of the cityscape, and as a result they are valued mainly as sentimental objects.

This attitude may be better than treating small, older buildings with total indifference, but it is still not enough to make a civilized city. For the whole point is that buildings such as the ones on this Fifth Avenue block, or the brownstone facades on East 79th Street, are not sentimental objects; they are real buildings.

Distant Relationships

For the city is not a place of make-believe, a place of illusion where little buildings exist to be pinned, like brooches, on the front of bigger structures to which they bear only the most distant of relationships. To turn an older building of distinction into a fancy front door for a new tower is to respect neither the integrity of the new or that of the old, but to render both buildings, in a sense, ridiculous.

For in these cases both the new and the old are trapped in something that neither building was really intended to be part of. At its most extreme, this approach yields such absurdities as the block of Pennsylvania Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets in Washington, where a row of Victorian houses has been tacked, like wallpaper, onto the front of a sleek glass office block, a juxtaposition that manages the neat trick of making both the old and the new sections seem equally out of place.

This is not to say that there are not cases in which old and new construction cannot be combined successfully. Also in Washington, there is a complex on M Street in which new office wings have been discreetly inserted behind old brick houses. But this works because it is not really facadism as such - the old houses here remain as buildings, partners with the new wings.

That is not what is planned for Fifth Avenue in New York, where it really is little more than the facades that will remain. The setback of 50 feet that has been planned for the Fifth Avenue tower may be sufficient to create a modest atrium, but it is hardly enough to keep the skyscraper from bearing down on the older buildings.

And on East 79th Street, the setback of the tower would be only 15 feet. So this tower, though far smaller than the one proposed for midtown, will also overwhelm the old facades at its front.

It is true, however, that in this particular case the architects had no option of complete preservation, for the major portion of these brownstones was demolished some time ago, and now only the facades remain. But that still does not make idea of tucking a 19-story tower just behind the facades a comfortable one, or a wise precedent.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Posted on: 2008/1/17 2:50
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PADNA vs. Toll: Planning Brd Final, Wed, Jan 16
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Planning Board Decision To Be Made Wednesday, January 16

As you all know the PADNA vs. Toll issue was held over from the last Planning Board meeting on 11/27 until Wednesday, January 16th. This special session of the planning board will be held

Wednesday, January 16th
5:30 p.m. sharp

Middle School #4
107 Bright Street, Auditorium
(Between Jersey Ave & Varick St. Enter through iron gate on left side then straight through main doors. Auditorium is on the left as you enter)
Wheelchair and Handicapped accessible
(201)946-5740


A DECISION WILL BE MADE AT THIS MEETING! It is again imperative that you all come, bring your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. We filled the Council Chambers at the Courthouse, let's fill the auditorium at Middle School #4 and show the Planning Board and the City Council our support of the PAD Plan.

See our site for more info:
http://www.padnajc.org/

Click Here for MS#4 - Parking and Public Transportation Information Maps

Local Parking

Area parking is zoned. There is a two hour limit on cars without a Zone 1permit. Local Streets are subject to alternate side of the street parking. Street cleaning takes place either 8:00 - 10:00AM OR 10:00 - 12:00AM, please note the signs.

There is a school parking lot located on Jersey Avenue across from the hospital. (see the map on page 2)

The Frank R. Conwell Campus is easily accessible by Light Rail via the Jersey Avenue stop.

Posted on: 2008/1/10 8:14
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Re: Chairman of Newmark ALIGNS WITH PADNA to Prevent Toll Bros. Destruction
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the hearing was adjourned to November 27th and the developer was to meet with the neighborhood association. Unfortunately and par for the course, City Planning did not participate leaving private citizens to negotiate with the developer on their own.

lets hope for a surprise and that the Planning Board recommends against it before the application goes to City Council.

Ted Brunson, Jr. and the Historic Commission, after numerous forced recusals of the chair and commissioners, stood up to the owner of 111 First St, their attorneys threats, insults and nastiness to reject the the demolition application.

Let hope that the Planning Board can show some of the same courage and leadership as the public's representitives and reject these proposed changes.

The public will likely be given an opportunity to speak. Come down to the meeting and tell the Planning Board what the pubic wants.



Quote:

hero69 wrote:
What's the latest on this? What is Toll Brothers going to do?

Posted on: 2007/11/15 0:51
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Powerhouse Arts District: Vision evolves for 8 blocks of Downtown
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Vision evolves for 8 blocks of Downtown

Saturday, November 10, 2007
By RUSSELL BEN-ALI
NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

For decades, the warehouses in Jersey City's former industrial hub sat neglected or underused - forlorn reminders of the city's historic role in manufacturing, transport, trade and labor.

But as a recent housing boom exploded in neighborhoods around these warehouses, plans emerged to refurbish them into artists' lofts. Developers, city planners, local artists and residents hammered out a rocky truce for a redevelopment plan.

The Powerhouse Arts District - taking its name from a mammoth, abandoned brick relic of the industrial age - would be something special. Located in an immensely valuable stretch of land a few blocks from the Hudson River, it would be a haven for artists, preserving red brick warehouses and housing a theater, concert hall or gallery rivaling anything in New Jersey.

But the developers balked at the plan and now, after many legal battles, critics argue the latest plans are wildly out of scale - huge, modern high-rises with little respect for the historic character of the cobblestone streets.

City officials are backing developer Toll Brothers City Living on a proposal to turn the eight-block area into a taller, more densely built "bridge" between the new waterfront high-rises and the historic rowhouses to the west.

When it comes to entertainment and shopping, many Jersey City residents head to suburban retail, entertainment and performing arts centers, or else to nearby Manhattan.

Officials want a retail and entertainment anchor in the city, which was once a shopping mecca, and one that's closer to Downtown.

They see potential for another anchor in the Powerhouse Arts District, with its proximity to the PATH and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

Three years ago, the area was approved as an arts district after more than a decade of talks and planning.

But that has changed.

First, a colony of artists was driven from 111 First St., a hulking warehouse that has since been demolished by two Manhattan developers headed by Lloyd Goldman. The developers plan to build a 52-story "vertical city" of condos, art studios, a hotel, stores and a gallery - all designed by famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

In addition, the Toll proposal calls for three residential high-rises, each taller than permitted by the existing plan, with luxury condominiums, pools and gyms, as well as residential and work spaces reserved for artists.

The plan will preserve the facade of the old six-story Manischewitz factory building on Provost Street.

The proposal includes plans for Provost Square, a 25,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza. Benjamin D. Jogodnik, a Toll Brothers senior vice president, said the arts-oriented plaza would be surrounded by shops, caf?s and galleries and a 550-seat performing arts center.

Some residents oppose the plan, however, having invested in a neighborhood they had hoped would be more SoHo than Times Square.

The amended plan also is opposed by the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy and the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association.

City officials argue, however, that their plan benefits all city residents.

Posted on: 2007/11/10 10:24
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The Powerhouse Arts District: Neighborhood misses the artist's touch
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Neighborhood misses the artist's touch

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
BY RUSSELL BEN-ALI
Star-Ledger Staff

For decades, the warehouses in Jersey City's former industrial hub sat neglected or underused -- forlorn reminders of the city's historic role in manufacturing, transport, trade and labor.

But as a recent housing boom exploded in neighborhoods around these warehouses, plans emerged to refurbish them into artists' lofts. Developers, city planners, local artists and residents hammered out a rocky truce for a redevelopment plan.

The Powerhouse Arts District -- taking its name from a mammoth, abandoned brick relic of the industrial age -- would be something special. Located in an immensely valuable stretch of land a few blocks from the Hudson River, it would be a haven for artists, preserving red brick warehouses and housing a theater, concert hall or gallery rivaling anything in New Jersey.

But the developers balked at the plan and now, after many legal battles, controversy has returned. Critics argue the latest plans are wildly out of scale -- huge, modern high-rises with little respect for the historic character of the cobblestone streets and century-old buildings that remain.

City officials are backing developer Toll Brothers City Living on a proposal to turn the eight-block area into a taller, more densely built "bridge" between the new waterfront high-rises and the historic rowhouses to the west.

"Let's not get defined by what's there," said Robert P. Antonicello, director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, who laid out the questions he would like to see answered by new development. "How do we think out of the box, and how do we create something that the city actually needs?"

When it comes to entertainment and shopping, many Jersey City residents head to suburban retail, entertainment and performing arts centers, or else to nearby Manhattan.

"At the end of the day, what Jersey City lacks, what it used to have (was) a central stage in Journal Square," Antonicello said. "It had a place where the city 'recreated,' it had a place where on special holidays people went."

An effort to restore such a hub is already under way in Journal Square, where the Loews Jersey movie palace, which features live music and art shows, is being restored.

Officials want another retail and entertainment anchor in the city, which was once a shopping mecca, one that's closer to downtown and the tens of thousands of waterfront residential units under construction or built over the last two decades.

They see potential for another anchor in the Powerhouse Arts District, with its proximity to the water, the PATH and Bergen-Hudson Light Rail.

The area is named for an imposing 210-foot-tall historic structure, the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse on Washington Boulevard. At the foot of the vacant, contaminated building sits a key power supply for the PATH trains.

The city is currently in talks with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to relocate the transformer so the powerhouse can be renovated and converted into space for retail, arts and entertainment, restaurants and galleries, said city Corporate Counsel William Matsikoudis.

Three years ago, the area was approved as an arts district after more than a decade of talks and planning.

But that has changed.

ARTISTS FIRST TO GO
First, a colony of artists was driven from 111 First Street, a hulking warehouse that has since been demolished by two Manhattan developers headed by Lloyd Goldman. The developers plan to build a 52-story "vertical city" of condos, art studios, a hotel, stores and a gallery -- all designed by famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

In addition, the Toll proposal calls for three residential high-rises, each taller than permitted by the existing plan, with luxury condominiums, pools and gyms, as well as residential and work spaces reserved for artists.

The plan will preserve the facade of the old six-story Manischewitz factory building on Provost Street, home to one of the last industrial buildings to be used in the district. The matzo-baking firm that occupied the factory moved to Newark earlier this year.

The proposal includes plans for Provost Square, a 25,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza. Benjamin D. Jogodnik, a Toll Brothers senior vice president, said the arts-oriented plaza will be surrounded by shops, caf?s and galleries.

But the square's big draw is a 550-seat performing arts center, as well as classrooms, studios and rehearsal space available to local arts and performance groups.

Some residents oppose the plan, however, having invested in a neighborhood they had hoped would be more SoHo than Times Square. They argue the 111 First St. battle established a precedent favoring the gigantic over the historic, and they note the plan calls for the dismantling of Provost Street, one of the few remaining cobblestone thoroughfares.

"The feeling now is if you have enough money, you can build whatever you want, and the current laws and current plans are thrown out the window in favor of the biggest interest," said Carrie Craft-Chu, a clothier and condo association president at 140 Bay St., the first converted warehouse in the district.

The amended plan also is opposed by the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy and the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association.

City officials argue, however, that their plan benefits all city residents.

"It wasn't just for the eight blocks," city Planning Director Robert D. Cotter. "It was to be a place to come and enjoy the arts, and that involves a whole broad spectrum."

Russell Ben-Ali may be reached at rbenali@starledger.com or (973) 392-5807.

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/ ... 980.xml&coll=1&thispage=2

Posted on: 2007/11/7 13:34
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Re: Chairman of Newmark ALIGNS WITH PADNA to Prevent Toll Bros. Destruction
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It is a shame that the people of Jersey City elect such lame officials, who in my opinion see their job as serving the devleopers.

Posted on: 2007/10/12 14:46
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Re: Chairman of Newmark ALIGNS WITH PADNA to Prevent Toll Bros. Destruction
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Here is the issue that is to be voted on by the Planning board on Tuesday October 16th: In a case of breathtaking speed, Toll Brothers is presenting to the Planning Board on Tuesday, October 16, 5:30pm at Council Chambers, City Hall a mere 2 weeks after submitting major amendment proposals to the Planning Department! Final action may be taken. Toll's Plan guts the heart of the PAD by incorporating three wall-like towers, endangering two existing warehouses, reducing the number of live/work units, eliminating affordable housing for artists and reducing the amount of open space required by the PAD Plan. View the visualization of the PAD vs. Toll Plans Read Toll's proposed amendment to the PAD plan http://padnajc.org/uploads/amendment.pdf Show your opposition to the Toll Plan and have your comments put on the record by attending the Planning Board meeting: There is a need for donations and petition signing: Help us get the petition signed. Click here to download the petition, print it out, sign it, get your friends and neighbors to sign it. The download also contains a document outlining the major differences between the PAD and TOLL plans and an explanation of why you should sign the petition. PADNA has established a legal fund to help fight this battle. Every dollar counts and right now every dollar counts twice thanks to a generous matching donation. Just enter your donation amount in the box below and click DONATE. You will then be taken to PayPal to finish the transaction, If you don't want to make a donation online, feel free to bring a check or money order to the Planning Board meeting, give it to a PADNA board member or mail it to PADNA, PO Box 3834, Jersey City, NJ 07303-3834 http://www.padnajc.org/ Quote:
BrightMoment wrote: Subject: CHAIRMAN OF NEWMARK KNIGHT FRANK ALIGNS WITH PADNA TO PREVENT DESTRUCTION OF ARTS NEIGHBORHOOD Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2007 22:50:51 -0400 From: "PADNA COMMUNICATION" <padna.communication@gmail.com> Subject: CHAIRMAN OF NEWMARK KNIGHT FRANK ALIGNS WITH PADNA TO PREVENT DESTRUCTION OF ARTS NEIGHBORHOOD P R E S S R E L E A S E For Immediate release: For more information contact: Monday, June 18, 2007 Rich Tomko 201-536-8779 www.padnajc.org <http://www.padnajc.org/> Chairman of Newmark KNIGHT FRANK aligns WITH PADNA TO PREVENT DESTRUCTION OF ARTS NEIGHBORHOOD PADNA (The Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association) of Downtown Jersey City is pleased to announce an alliance with Jeffrey Gural, Chairman of international real estate powerhouse Newmark Knight Frank. Mr. Gural's holdings include 150 Bay Street, a 19th C industrial building recently partially converted to residential use in the Powerhouse Arts District. Jeff Gural, who also owns property in SoHo and DUMBO, two similar type neighborhoods, is shocked that Jersey City is contemplating amending the PAD Redevelopment Plan to accommodate a development proposal by Philadelphia-based "McMansion" developer Toll Bros. Toll Bros, through their subsidiary 134 Bay Street , LLC, purchased the Manischewitz Matzoh factory last year. Subsequently, Toll has taken possession of the adjacent "Caputo" lot to the East. Toll has been informally vetting a proposal for both lots with Jersey City politicians and officials. PADNA is against this proposal because of its negative impact on the neighborhood: ? Demolition of Two Historic Buildings ? Destruction of Cobblestone Streets ? Double the Density Currently Permitted Under Law ? Plunge 4 Occupied and Actively Used Historic Warehouses into Permanent Shadow ? Gut the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, perhaps the only Jersey City redevelopment plan developed with the Urban Land Institute and broad public input "We took great care in following the requirements of the PAD Redevelopment Plan. Now we have a landmark building that is home to a thriving community of artists, professionals and families. We saw what happened with DUMBO, and we understand the value of a thriving arts district. Anyone attempting a proposal of this nature [what Toll is proposing] would be laughed at by City Planning in New York," said Mr. Gural Jeff Gural has stated his intentions to "do what it takes" to prevent another amendment to the plan. He supports to the PAD Redevelopment Plan and he supports PADNA's efforts to keep existing law 100%. Mr. Gural marked the beginning of his relationship with PADNA with a $10,000 contribution to the PADNA legal fund. The PAD is home to over 350 residents with more than $125 million invested in the neighborhood. PADNA has over 150 active members, supports the current Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, and strives for a transparent city government that supports its residents .

Posted on: 2007/10/12 3:20
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