Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Massive Development In Jersey City Gets Final Approval

Jersey City's planning board gave final approval for construction of three 30-story buildings in the Powerhouse Arts District, yesterday. The massive development proposed by Toll Brothers almost four years ago, will rise on the site of the old Manischewitz matzo factory on Bay Street, near the Jersey City waterfront.
After four years of political wrangling, the plan for three 30-story towers with 950 units is moving forward despite the developers exceeding zoning codes -- by four times the height and twice the density, according to opponents -- and eschewing affordable housing for cash payments. Preparation is underway for demolition of the old structures, with construction slated to begin early next year.

The Toll Brothers plan had languished in court for two years as the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association sued the city for seemingly granting substantial zoning variances on a whim. New Jersey's appellate court sided with the city and the state supreme court refused to hear the case.

Final approval for the massive development in Jersey City's Powerhouse Arts District, is a clear signal that locals' efforts to keep the neighborhood an artist's haven have failed, according to an article published in the Jersey City Independent.

Though the developers bowed to local demands by promising a theater and public plaza, Toll Brothers has the legal right to back out of those obligations if the three residential towers they build prove unsuccessful.

And while payments are promised in place of affordable housing, the neighborhood association is worried that the city won't use the money solely to make the area livable.

By Peter Coyne