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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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Quote:

MDM wrote:
[quote]
Personally I would like to see some focus back on heavy commercial and manufacturing in order to bring some more variety in the local economy.


That would be great MDM,
But heavy commercial and manufacturing take a totally different type of infrastructure than we have in the immediate metro area.
This close to the city we are viable for Banking, Insurance, other financial service industries and smaller tech startups I think.
There was a very interesting article I ran across on Salon.com this week. http://www.salon.com/2012/03/10/on_th ... ront_the_battle_rages_on/
Relevant to Hudson County, less so for the Journal Square area.

Posted on: 2012/3/11 19:16
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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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Prediction: The JCRA reaches an agreement on April 1st to give MEPT another extension. MEPT reaches the end of the extension and is given yet another extension.

Let's face it: there's too much developable land downtown to warrant a project of this scale in JSQ. Maybe a 20-story building with rents $500 less than Grove Pointe for the same product, but a full-blown iconic luxury complex doesn't make sense for that site right now.

I think the below quote from the original article indicates that they exhausted their excuses not to build a long time ago:

"O'Reilly said the project is unique because it is being self-financed by its majority partner, the Maryland-based Multi-Employer Property Trust, and is therefore insulated from the credit crunch. MEPT is a national real estate equity fund that invests union pension funds."

Posted on: 2012/3/11 18:27
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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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Dahood wrote:
Does anything apart from residential construction happen in this city? What about parks, entertainment venues, sports facilities.


Personally I would like to see some focus back on heavy commercial and manufacturing in order to bring some more variety in the local economy.

Posted on: 2012/3/11 18:00
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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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Does anything apart from residential construction happen in this city? What about parks, entertainment venues, sports facilities.

Posted on: 2012/3/11 15:57
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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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I think now that the lot is fully cleared and the condemnation process completed, its a very attractive opportunity for larger developers. If a particular developer doesn't have the means to raise the financing and capital, I don't think they will prevent a more liquid or better capitalized developer for moving on the project. Of course, scrapping the original proposal will probably mean a new design phase.

The current developer would do well to get going on the pedestal of the tower, and hope financing improves over the course of the next year while work continues on the base.

Posted on: 2012/3/10 15:07
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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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So these guys get removed from the project... anyone in the wings to take over? Or will we have an empty lot for the few decades to come?

Posted on: 2012/3/10 14:43
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Re: Journal Square two apartment towers - 54 & 38 stories
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Jersey City signals it wants developer of massive Journal Square project to act, or face default

March 10, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald - The Jersey Journal

In April 2009, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy stood on a 1.5-acre site adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station and hailed an imminent twin tower project as a “great step forward” for the city.

The project two towers, one 58 stories and the other 38, sitting atop a seven-story retail and parking base with a rooftop terrace would begin later that year, and be completed in three years.

It’s now three years later and the site remains vacant, save for weeds and the occasional soda can or beer bottle surrounded by metal fencing.

The twin tower project appears to be nothing more than a dim fantasy, but that may all change soon. City officials say they want the heart of the city to see the same kind of development that’s occurred Downtown.

“Journal Square is really the next area, and Journal Square is primed and ready for a project,” said Jersey City Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Bob Antonicello.

For years, the Journal Square project was stalled, with main investor Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), of Washington, D.C., blaming the poor economy for its inability to find a partner to help it with financing, according to Antonicello.

After missing an August 2011 deadline to put a shovel in the ground, and then missing a second deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, MEPT has until April Fool’s Day to get the project started in earnest, Antonicello said.

“The issue that we had really with MEPT was this process was kind of ready, aim, aim, aim, aim ... and they never fired the gun to actually go vertical,” he said.

MEPT did not return a request for comment.

If the April 1 deadline passes without movement on the project, MEPT will be in default of its agreement with the JCRA, and the city agency can find someone else to help realize the long-awaited proposal, Antonicello added.

Healy said he stands by the JCRA’s latest bid to move the project forward.

“The redevelopment of Journal Square is a major priority for this administration and we support any and all actions that the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency takes so that construction may begin as soon as possible,” Healy said.

The proposal consists of 50,000 square feet of retail space on the basement, ground and second levels; 330,000 square feet of parking on five levels; and 1.24 million square feet of residential space, including about 1,500 units.
http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index ... y_signals_it_wants_d.html

Posted on: 2012/3/10 13:03
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Re: Journal Square Groundbreaking Reception - April 7th
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Construction on Journal Square mega-project to begin by end of year, officials say

by The Jersey Journal
Tuesday April 07, 2009, 11:01 AM

Resized Image
Rendering of the $500 million Journal Square project.

Construction on the $500 million Journal Square twin towers project will begin before the end of the year, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and other officials said at a news conference this morning.

Dozens of union workers stood shoulder to shoulder with city workers and politicians as the city trumpeted the demolition of the last buildings at the corner of Sip and Bergen avenues. The biggest cheers came when the mayor announced that the entire project would be built by union workers.

Healy promised 800 construction jobs for the site, with 160 going to Jersey City residents through the city's project-labort agreement.

As representatives from the Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT) and Lowell Harwood, the chief developers, spoke, rubble from the demolition was still being removed from the site.

Liz Opacity, a spokeswoman for the project, said the mixed-use development, which will include 1,615 rental units, 70,000 square feet of retail space and a rooftop terrace on top of a parking garage, would take three years to complete once construction started.

Posted on: 2009/4/7 15:52
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Re: Journal Square Groundbreaking Reception - April 7th
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I'd love to show support if I felt things were actually happening, but this project was originally green-lighted when, in 2006? That's pathetic! JSQ is a mess, its incredible that nothing has been developed here sooner, the population is in the neighborhood to support more restaurants, bars etc but no one can get things together to encourage growth, and what growth is going on, namely this oversized tower development, has been so ridiculously slow in geting going that it seems like a big joke.

Posted on: 2009/4/6 15:43
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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Well for the past two weeks, there has been a few guys doing something in and around the rotting buildings, I think I saw a van or truck listing an environmental remediation company or something.

It is insane given the amount of foot traffic that goes past that area everyday, that there is no development there.

Posted on: 2009/2/11 13:16
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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It's pathetic that nothing has been done with this site yet, the original development was greenlighted in what, 2006? JSQ has so much potential, the population is here to patronize businesses if the city would get there shit together and make something happen here.

Posted on: 2009/2/11 12:08
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest loan
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Call me crazy, but I think the City Centre Towers are good as dead. But I'll be really interested to see how much of this plan (which sounds wonderful) makes it into reality in the next 20 or so years.

So visioneer Tony Nelessen has taken on the Honeywell site and JSQ. What task will the Planning Division hand him next??

Posted on: 2009/2/10 10:33
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest loan
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Jersey City Council considers Greater Journal Square Redevelopment Plan

by Amy Sara Clark / The Jersey Journal
Monday February 09, 2009, 10:45 PM

The second major topic discussed at tonight's City Council caucus meeting was the Greater Journal Square Redevelopment Plan.

The plan would include in the 244-acre area several skyscrapers, landscaped streets, pedestrian malls, a revamped PATH station, a narrow-gauge trolley from Route 139 to McGinley Square, a light rail spur to Journal Square, bike paths and more parks.

Bob Antonicello, executive director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, praised the plan, saying it would bring people out of the PATH station and back onto the street, bringing vibrancy back to Journal Square.

He said the plan was based on more than 20 community meetings.

Tony Nelessen, principal planner of the plan, said, "One of the things we've heard over and over again is a kind of wonderful romance and nostalgia for the past. We wanted to capture the nostalgia for the past, but bring it into the future."

Council members were also fairly quiet about this plan, but one issue that came up was a plan to allow developers to build higher than the cap of a floor area ratio of 10 if they gave money to a district improvement fund, which would be used only in the Journal Square area.

"I don't know that I'm jumping for joy for that one," said Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano.

The plan will receive its first reading at Wednesday's council meeting.

Posted on: 2009/2/10 0:15
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Journal Square ‘vision’ closer to adoption
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Journal Square ‘vision’ closer to adoption
Planning Board recommends City Council approval

by Ricardo Kaulessar
Hudson Reporter

The Jersey City Planning Board voted at its meeting on Tuesday to recommend the Journal Square Redevelopment Plan for final adoption by the City Council.

The plan is meant to revitalize the Journal Square area of town, adding 10,000 to 15,000 new residential units including two towers next to the existing bus/train station.

The plan calls for a 244-acre area to be redeveloped covering Vroom Street to the south, Tonnelle Avenue to the west, State Highway 139 to the north and Baldwin Avenue to the east. The plan is known as the Journal Square Center City Plan or “Jerramiah T. Healy’s Vision for Journal Square.” It is currently posted on the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s website (www.jcra.org).

Within the area, the city envisions thousands of square feet of commercial and retail space and 9 acres of park space. As part of the plan, the existing Journal Square transportation station might be replaced with a newer model. Implementing the plan is estimated to take upwards of 50 years and billions of dollars.

The centerpiece of the plan is the two $400 million towers (68 and 50 stories) to be privately built on land adjacent to the Journal Square Transportation Center by longtime Journal Square businessman Lowell Harwood and Washington D.C.-based pension firm MEPT. That project is expected to break ground this spring.

In November, the City Council approved a resolution declaring Journal Square an "area in need of rehabilitation", a necessary step before any adoption of a comprehensive redevelopment plan, which calls for improvements to properties by their owners.

Now that the Planning Board approved the plan, the council may vote for final approval within a month’s time.

Watching closely

A truncated version of the plan was presented to the board by veteran urban planner Anton Nelessen, who along with Hoboken architect Dean Marchetto was commissioned by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency earlier this year to develop a plan based on input from city officials, and from community meetings that were held since July. Longer presentations on the plan were given last fall.

In those community meetings, there has been both praise and opposition from people living in the Journal Square area. At Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, there was a little of both from longtime Journal Square resident Richard Boggiano, a former Jersey City police officer and president of the Hilltop Neighborhood Association.

Boggiano said he did not object to the plan but wanted the city to make improvements to infrastructure and city services, which will be impacted by future Journal Square development. He also does want any large-scale parking garage or skyscrapers built in the vicinity of his block of Magnolia Avenue, both concepts which were proposed in the plan.

“We have one of the last neighborhoods in Jersey City … we are a tight neighborhood and we will be watching,” Boggiano said.

‘A model’

Mayor Jerramiah Healy. Healy, as expected, touted the plan.

“We think it is a great plan and it is a great vision,” Healy said, “and we really think it’s going to be a model for the United States.”

But Healy admitted that the financing is not readily available to fulfill many of the goals set out in the plan. The city is currently exploring the idea of designating the Journal Square Rehabilitation Area as a revenue allocation district (RAD) where the revenues generated in that district is dedicated to capital improvements within the district and/or retiring debt incurred due to redevelopment within the RAD. But the city has to wait for the state Legislature to pass a pending bill that would also allow RADs in an "area in need of rehabilitation" not just in “an area in need of redevelopment.”

After Healy’s speech and some other business, the audience was treated to a slide show containing numerous images of Journal Square at the present time, with its wide-lane roads, surface parking lots, and lack of greenery. Then images were shown of a future Journal Square, with narrower roads, more pedestrian walk space, and an abundance of trees.

Nelessen also talked about the other transportation elements of the plan, including the Hudson-Bergen light rail running through Journal Square, and buses that stop in the Square rather than inside a station.

Posted on: 2009/1/18 6:07
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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video from Speak NJ - of city council first expressing their concerns and the developer's unwillingess to provide information to them and work with them - then voting yes, unanimously.

video link - Journal Square Tax Abatement Vote

note: reposting is at webmaster's request of our three posts on this thread.

Posted on: 2008/12/9 23:56
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Link - Development, yes. This tax deal, no.

Development, yes. This tax deal, no.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

L ast week, the Jersey City administration of Mayor Jerramiah Healy did all but give away the first-born of every family in the city to make certain that the designated developers of the Journal Square Towers will realize an immense profit.

Two nights before Thanksgiving, the City Council set the table for MEPT Journal Square Urban Renewal LLC by approving the most generous tax abatement deal in the city's history.

What does one make of the fact that most of the City Council members voiced the opinion that the abatament is a bad deal for the city, and then voted to approve it? It is not a good deal for the city.

The 30-year abatements calls for annual payments instead of taxes to the city of 10 percent of gross annual revenues for the mixed-use 68- and 50-story towers. The city will receive $500,000 in the first year, with payments increasing in stages to $3 million a year - about $74 million over the life of the deal averaging nearly $2.5 million per year.

This is a result of original developer Lowell Harwood having to partner with a bigger player with deeper pockets. Maryland-based Multi-Employer Trust, an equity fund that is immune to the credit crunch, did not like Harwood's original tax abatement deal enough to justify it to shareholders - thus the renegotiation.

This newspaper has been clamoring for Journal Square development for years. It is potentially the most important first step in defining the above-the-Palisades-city for the 21st century. It is so significant that it was this opinion that the city is trying to ram a "vision" of Journal Square area redevelopment down the throats of its taxpayers solely to improve financing for certain projects that are on the drawing board, including the Journal Square towers.

One other item: The invasion of trade union members at the City Council meeting was a crass display. This was pulled in Bayonne to intimidate government decision making on use of the former Military Ocean Terminal. In Jersey City, these decisions are so momentous to a large neglected part of the city that unless more than 50 percent of these construction workers live here, they should have stayed home.

©2008 Jersey Journal
© 2008 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Posted on: 2008/12/9 23:51
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Journal Square – the-once-and-promised future city center, a true downtown – remains a hole in the heart of the city, with development once again stalled. The failure to seek proposals from developers nationwide experienced in mixed-use projects of this scale has left us with a no-bid redevelopment contract in its latest version proposing two 10-story parking garages with 50- to 70-story residential towers above, limited and reduced retail space, which will minimize this project as a destination. Prior to the financial meltdown in October, the developer sought tax abatement terms that would cost the city $500,000 per year.

We will never know if the current plans are the best use of one of the regions premier redevelopments sites, adjacent to a PATH station and the county transportation hub with 8 million annual commuters passing through. When will the city rein in no-bid development contracts of this scale and clean up the redevelopment process banning pay to play campaign contributions to city officials responsible for approving redevelopment plans and tax abatements?


Link-The Hotel On The Square Redevelopment


Landuse and Zoning: Hotel On The Square Redevelopment from One Jersey City on Vimeo.

Posted on: 2008/12/9 23:48
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest loan
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Question: When should a city float a bond issue to lend to a developer to build housing in a failing housing market?
Answer: NEVER!


If no SOLVENT developer can raise the cash to build, the city should plow the site, dig a 4 foot hole, fill with topsoil and seed with Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, aka, a LAWN.

When and if times improve, some developer with deep pockets can BUY the land from the city for a few $hundred million. Til then, center city has a nice park for its residents...Journal Square already has enough concrete.

Posted on: 2008/11/26 10:31
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Council approves Square abatement

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
By PAUL KOEPP
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Jersey City City Council last night, before a chamber packed with hundreds of union workers, unanimously approved the most generous tax abatement deal in the city's history for a giant two-tower development in Journal Square.

The 30-year abatements call for annual payments in lieu of taxes to the city of 10 percent of gross annual revenues for the mixed-use 68-and 50-story towers.

Under the terms of the three agreements - two for the towers and one for a seven-story pedestal of retail space and parking - the city will take in $500,000 in the first year, with payments eventually increasing in stages to $3 million a year.

The city is expected to take in $74 million over the life of the deal, which officials and the developer, MEPT Journal Square Urban Renewal LLC, have said is crucial to getting the project underway.

Union worker after union worker spoke in favor of the abatement, delaying the vote.

"Right now we're hurting," said Hudson County Building Trades president Mike McCade. "We can use the work."

Lowell Harwood, one of the project's principal developers, promised the towers would bring a "new era" to the Jersey City neighborhood.

"Journal Square can revive if we get together and do it," he said.

The $400 million development on 1.5 acres next to the PATH Transportation Center is planned to have 1,615 rental units, 70,000 square feet of retail space and 700 parking spaces.

The 68-story north tower will be built first, with construction expected to begin within months, officials said.

Posted on: 2008/11/26 3:32
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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Tuesday evening, November 25th, the city council will be voting on the "biggest tax break ever" and "biggest discount" on developer's taxes.

- the most recent financial impact study has not been released to the public yet, what is the net cost to Jersey City?

- is two ten story parking garages adjacent to a PATH station and bus transit center "smart growth" and consistant with the now proposed "VISION" of Journal Square that emphasizes removing cars from the square?

- is there still sufficient retail left in the plan (1/2 of what was originally proposed) to make Journal Square a destination?

- is this no bid redevelopment project (city brokered sale and current property owner is enjoying the benefits of state redevelopment law). why would JC not seek a variety of best use proposals for such a premier and unique development site?

- how much will municipal taxes increase in 2010 because of this deal?

- development and increased density is needed in Journal Square, but is this the best project? or the worst?

par for the course is that this is be voting on when most people are not looking. the meeting has been moved up and it is right before a significan travel holiday.

at least come out see for yourself what our "elected" representitives are deciding for our future......

Posted on: 2008/11/24 21:16
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2 TALL TOWERS, 1 MASSIVE BREAK -Push for 'biggest discount' on developer's taxes
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2 TALL TOWERS, 1 MASSIVE BREAK
Push for 'biggest discount' on developer's taxes

Thursday, November 13, 2008
By PAUL KOEPP
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Jersey City City Council gave the redevelopment of Journal Square a boost forward last night when it introduced the most generous tax abatement package in the city's history for a landmark two-tower development.

The abatements call for payment in lieu of taxes to the city of 10 percent of gross annual revenues for the mixed-use 68-and 50-story towers over the next 30 years.

Under the terms of the three agreements - two for the towers and one for a seven-story pedestal of retail space and parking - the city would see revenue of $500,000 in the first year, $1 million in the second and $1.5 million in the third year, said Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly.

The payments would then increase to $2 million annually in years four to seven, $2.5 million in years eight to 19, and be $3 million in each of the remaining years, he said. The developer would lease the buildings to an intermediate entity. The city's 10 percent share would be based on that lease agreement, not the higher amounts collected in rents.

O'Reilly said he did not know how much of a break that would mean for the developer, MEPT Journal Square Urban Renewal, LLC.

"There's no doubt this is a big tax concession," he said. "This is the biggest discount on property taxes the city has ever given to any developer."

But city officials and the developer say the long-term payoff will be huge, bringing in more than $50 million in Urban Enterprise Zone revenue, parking taxes and permit fees and adding $2.8 million to the city's affordable housing trust fund.

The $400 million project on 1.5 acres next to the PATH Transportation Center is planned to have 1,615 rental units, 70,000 square feet of retail space and 700 parking spaces.

The developer and city officials have insisted the project would be financially impossible without the tax abatement.

O'Reilly said the project is unique because it is being self-financed by its majority partner, the Maryland-based Multi-Employer Property Trust, and is therefore insulated from the credit crunch. MEPT is a national real estate equity fund that invests union pension funds.

The abatement could be finalized after a public hearing at the next City Council meeting, Nov. 25.

The 68-story north tower will be built first, officials said. Construction is expected to begin within the next few months.

The City Council also adopted a resolution designating the surrounding area as "an area in need of rehabilitation," allowing the city to advance its plans to redevelop Journal Square.

Posted on: 2008/11/14 9:39
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"Not all went smoothly, as an attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the neighboring transportation terminal, said the agency is concerned about the safety of its passengers.

The attorney, Harry Barr, asked the city to transfer authority for approval of the building plans to the P.A.'s chief engineer"

WHAT? The gaul of this guy! Who in their right mind would agree to such a thing? Lawyers say the dumbest things.

Posted on: 2008/10/8 10:07
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Amended Journal Square mega project is approved
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Amended Journal Square mega project is approved

by Charles Hack
Tuesday October 07, 2008, 10:34 PM

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Rendering of the development planned for Journal Square.

The Jersey City Planning Board approved a revised site plan for the Journal Square development tonight that slashes its retail space by more than half and boosts the height of its two residential towers by a few stories.

The Planning Board voted unanimously at a special meeting to approve the modifications to plans it approved in January.

Not all went smoothly, as an attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the neighboring transportation terminal, said the agency is concerned about the safety of its passengers.

The attorney, Harry Barr, asked the city to transfer authority for approval of the building plans to the P.A.'s chief engineer and wanted assurances that PATH would be indemnified against injury during the construction.

After a sometimes heated discussion, the developer's attorney, Eugene Paolino, agreed to show the plans to PATH engineers.

Many of the plan's approved changes are landscaping improvements to the plaza in front of entrances to the towers facing Kennedy Boulevard and to a rooftop terrace, but to keep costs to the approximately $400 million budgeted for the project.

The revised plan slashes retail space planned for below ground from 156,196 square feet to 70,385, according to the approved plans. It also cuts the number of parking spaces from 783 to 687, and places them above ground, squeezing out some more retail space.

The revised plan also boosts the number of rental units from 1,503 to 1,615. The north tower will now rise 667 feet and 68 stories. The shorter south tower will have 50 stories.

Lowell Harwood, the principal of Harwood Properties, which is involved in the project with Multi-Employer Property Trust and Becker and Becker, said demolition may start by the end of the year.

Posted on: 2008/10/8 8:23
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sounds good to me..just get it built

Posted on: 2008/10/7 7:07
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Jersey City's Journal Square mega project could get taller

Jersey Journal
by Ken Thorbourne
Monday October 06, 2008

The Jersey City Planning Board will consider tomorrow night an amended site plan for the two-tower, mixed-used development proposed for the old Hotel on the Square block in Journal Square.

The revised plan -- which modifies a proposal the board approved in January -- adds height and residential units to the development, while it cuts retail space; particularly the retail space that was planned to go underground.

The revised plan hikes the number of rental units from 1,503 to 1,615 and slashes retail space from 156,196 square feet to 70,385.

It also bumps up the height of the north tower from 65 stories to 68 stories and the height of the south tower from 45 stories to 50, according to documents submitted to the city. The higher tower will now stretch 667 feet, about 8 feet lower than the maximum height allowed for the project, city officials said.

Tomorrow's planning board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., 30 Montgomery St., 14th floor.

Lowell Harwood, one of the development partners, yesterday said plans to build a below-ground retail level were scratched due to a "problem with hard rock."

"It would be too expensive to remove," Harwood said. "It would have added a lot (of cost)." Harwood is the principal of Harwood Properties based in Jersey City and he predicted breaking ground within six months.

The previous design called for relocating and reconstructing the Journal Square fountain. According to the new plan, the fountain will remain in place and receive upgraded filtration and mechanical equipment.

This $400 million venture is being self-financed by its majority partner: The Multi-Employer Property Trust based in Bethesda, Md., a national real estate equity fund that invests union pension funds.

During the summer, administration officials rejected the terms of a 30-year tax abatement sought by the developer. Eugene Paolino, the developer's attorney, said yesterday he plans to submit an amended tax abatement "shortly."

Posted on: 2008/10/6 21:59
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Harwood in talks on tax break for Journal Square towers
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In talks on tax break for Square towers

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A proposed 30-year tax break for a landmark development in Jersey City's Journal Square would be a huge money loser, costing the city nearly $500,000 in the first year alone, according to a memo by a city official.

While the deal would bring in $323,000 to the city in the form of payments in lieu of taxes and other fees during the first year of the abatement, the city would have to shell out $793,000 for various government services, according to the May 20 memo by Stephen J. Skrocki, the city's division director of abatement management.

And the years following Year 1 don't look too hot either, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Jersey Journal.

Although "it is not possible to project past the first year . negative results can be expected over the life of the tax exemption unless the revenues from the Master Lease are improved," Skrocki wrote.

The proposed abatement calls for payment in lieu of taxes to the city of 10 percent of gross annual revenue.

But to maximize profits for the project's majority investor - the Bethesda, Md.-based Multi-Employer Property Trust, a national real estate equity fund that invests union pension funds - the development partners plan to create a company to lease the building.

The city's 10 percent would be based on the lease agreement, not the far greater amount collected from the building's residential and commercial tenants.

City officials and a representative of the developer - MEPT Journal Square Urban Renewal, LLC - were quick to emphasize last week that the tax abatement is still being negotiated.

"My hope is those discussions will conclude shortly," said Alan Marcus, a spokesman for MEPT. "It would not be appropriate to describe something that is at best ethereal right now."

Business Administrator Brian O'Reilly said the city might have to stomach a property tax loss to get the signature, $500 million project, next to the PATH Transportation Center, built.

"The renaissance of Journal Square is a priority of my administration," Mayor Jerramiah Healy said. "The benefits (of this project) for the entire city will be increased tax revenue, the creation of hundreds of construction and permanent jobs, and the jump-starting of the revitalization of Journal Square."

Lowell Harwood, one of the development partners, had predicted completing demolition of the 1.5-acre site by May and starting construction this summer.

"We all want this to happen. But it has to be favorable to us," said City Council President Mariano Vega, a member of the committee negotiating with MEPT. "We are not just surrendering."

Posted on: 2008/6/11 8:49
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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the Mayor looks to be talking deal in his state of the city speech -

"The declining national real estate market does not help the situation. Significant private investment and development will benefit Journal Square, but we must be prepared to take bold actions to create incentives for redevelopment.

Currently, the vacant land at the Hotel on the Square property generates $200,000 a year in property taxes. The developers are proposing to invest $600 million dollars to build two spectacular towers on this site that will support more than 1,000 new residential units and create significant commercial and retail space. This investment will create some 800 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs. Most importantly, this ground-breaking development will change the face of Journal Square forever, and it will spark the renaissance of that area which was once the commercial and cultural heart of our City.

In the near future, I will present the City Council with a plan that will increase the revenues received by the City and help facilitate the construction of those two new towers at the old Hotel on the Square. The redevelopment of Journal Square is key to making Jersey City even greater. "

full text of speech can be found on the JC website or here - Complete text of Healy's State of Jersey City speech

Posted on: 2008/2/21 11:05
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JOURNAL SQUARE: 2 towers promise to jump-start rebirth
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JOURNAL SQUARE
2 towers promise to jump-start rebirth

Thursday, February 21, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

When he was 8 years old, Lowell Harwood got his first taste of the family business. His job was parking cars on the family's lot on Cottage Street in Jersey City. His feet couldn't even reach the pedals.

"I used to put the car into neutral, and there was a little hill. So I used to roll the cars down and pull the brake up," Harwood recalled. "That's how I learned the parking business."

In many ways, Harwood, now 78, hasn't applied the brakes much since.

Together with brother Sanford, Harwood parlayed a four parking lot inheritance into a garage giant. By 1996, they owned 135 lots in the United States and Canada.

Then in 1997 they flipped it, selling the operation to Central Parking, the nation's biggest fish in the parking-business pond, for close to $100 million.

Since then, Harwood, a Lincoln High alum, has been making a second fortune assembling and selling real estate, mostly in Manhattan. With Sanford now retired, Sanford's sons - Brett and Scott - are now his top lieutenants.

The third-generation family operation, with headquarters at 26 Journal Square, is also investing in their own backyard.

Three years ago, as part of a quartet of partners, the Harwoods opened the 130-unit State Square apartments at the site of the old State Theater on Kennedy Boulevard in the Square.

But that effort pales in comparison with their newest venture: a massive $500 million, mixed-used development that holds the promise to make Journal Square the bustling, magnetic center of the city it used to be.

The two-tower development planned for the old Hotel on the Square block next to the Journal Square PATH Transportation Center is to consist of 1,500 market-rate units, 150,000 square feet of retail, and, not surprisingly, five levels of parking.

"Journal Square was the historic hub and center of Jersey City," Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy said. "We have removed a couple of unproductive eyesores from Journal Square and we look forward with great anticipation to the development of two spectacular towers that will bring retail, commercial and residential units to Journal Square and restore it to its former place as the heart and hub of our city."

Having agreed to buy out a slumlord who slinked out of town after paying a record-setting $1.1 million in building and fire code fines, Harwood Properties signed a redevelopment deal with the city in May 2006. Then came a couple of minor details: How to finance and build a $500 million development?

Through a family friend, Harwood generated a list of 25 potential partners. One choice topped the list: The Multi-Employer Property Trust based in Bethesda, Md., a national real estate equity fund that invests union pension funds. With $6.2 billion in assets, MEPT's presence on the development ticket meant the project could be essentially self-financed.

Last September, the newly formed MEPT Journal Square LLC - a partnership that includes MEPT, Harwood Properties and Becker + Becker, MEPT's builder - signed a new redevelopment agreement with the city.

MEPT has a 66 percent stake in the project, Harwood Properties 21 percent, and Becker + Becker 13 percent. The plan now calls for a 65-story north tower and a 45-story south tower. A terrace level on the seventh floor is to feature a swimming pool, fitness center and courtyard terrace.

Harwood hopes to start construction in the spring.

Asked about his motivation to get the project done, Harwood harkened back to a meeting he had with the partners in the State Square project.

"We felt sitting around the table that Jersey City has been very good to us," Harwood said. "We felt very strongly we have to do something to show Jersey City is going to rise up and be the old Jersey City it used to be back in the '20s when everyone was coming to Jersey City."

Posted on: 2008/2/21 8:25
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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incompetence at best (corruption at worst)

Posted on: 2008/2/13 8:50
"Someday a book will be written on how this city can be broke in the midst of all this development." ---Brewster
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Re: Journal Square: City may not see revenue for decades - Tower developer asking for low-interest l
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Quote:

MrWolf wrote:
That said, one can only hope that the city does not roll over on this one, for any further capitulation will be the final straw regarding their complete incompetence when it comes to assessing the commercial real estate market.





Excellent comment !!!

DTG

Posted on: 2008/2/12 15:56
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