The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 2
Living it up Hudson County’s progress defies national trends udson County had 30,000 more residential housing units in 2010 than back in 2000, according to the U.S. Census. In the last 10 years, a slew of restaurants, “big box” chain stores, new rail and ferry stops, and services have arrived to make the county – with its proximity to New York and river views – one of the most exciting places to live in the country. Even in a slow economy in which people are hesitant to buy homes, the rental market here has proven strong, and people are still spending money on entertainment and transportation options. The stories in this year’s Progress Report detail the newest projects in the county as well as various demographic and economic trends. For example, a major waterfront development in Bayonne on the site of the former Military Ocean Terminal is going to accept container ships rather than provide new housing. Several residential developments in the last few years have been offered as rentals rather than sales. Even though most of the county is built out, a few new projects are being planned to meet the growing needs of the area. And with new residents comes a need to get around. A new light rail stop opened in Bayonne recently, and the ferries on the waterfront will begin taking commuters and tourists from Hudson County to Queens and Brooklyn starting this June, besides the regular Manhattan stops. Even a canceled rail tunnel to New York hasn’t stopped progress, since Amtrak will create a similar rail route, and some of the money that was to be spent on the tunnel will go back into local infrastructure.
STILL BUILDING UP – Most of Hudson County’s vacant spaces saw development between 2000 and 2010, but there are still a few projects sprouting, as seen in this view of Bloomfield Street in Hoboken. Yet towns are also trying to make sure some of the remaining open spaces are preserved for parks.
Whether the economy dips or rallies, it is clear that in a popular area like Hudson County, the downturn is felt a bit less. Find out more about what’s going on in residential real estate, com-
mercial development, parks and recreation, transportation, education, and hospitals within these pages.
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3 • The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011
What’s new in residential development More housing available, and rentals are hot in Hudson By Ray Smith Reporter staff writer
ith many of the vacant spaces in Hudson County now built out, the focus of residential development has shifted from constructing the units to renting them. With money tight in many households right now, more Americans nationwide and locally are choosing to rent rather than buy. In 2000, Hudson County had 240,618 residential housing units. After a decade of development, that number has grown to 270,335, with only approximately 10 percent vacant, which is better than 14.9 percent vacancy nationwide, according to the Census. Only 66.5 percent of American households owned their home at the end of 2010, which is down from 69 percent in 2005, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. There are still new projects on the horizon as Hudson County continues to attract those looking for a better deal than New York City with the same transportation and entertainment access.
Jersey City The Monaco, a large $210 million development on Washington Blvd. in Jersey City, is slated to be completed this spring. The project, developed by the team of Roseland Property, Garden State Development, and Hartz Mountain Industries, will feature two 50-story rental towers including 524 residences, a 558 parking space garage, and 11,900 square feet of retail. The property will feature luxury rental apartments and is scheduled to be open later this year. For 2012, the Planning Board has approved a 40-story, 790-unit residential/retail development at 700 Washington St. in the Newport area of Jersey City, on the waterfront near the Hoboken border. Newport Development Associates Company, a subsidiary of the Lefrak Organization (the developers of the Newport residential community), says the project will include 15,000 square feet of retail and 876 parking spots. And looking far into the future, construction continues on the Van Leer Place project in a former chocolate factory near the Jersey City/Hoboken border. The residential development is slated for completion in 2015. Hoboken developers Danny Gans and George Vallone of Hoboken Brownstone Company,
who were honored as recipients of the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award, are creating more than 480 units in two buildings, 8,700 square feet of retail space, and on-site parking. The project has been in the works since at least 2006. Ironstate Development Company of Hoboken and KRE Group of Bridgewater are continuing to develop 225 Grand, a rental building in downtown Jersey City. The developers recently announced that 90 percent of the building’s 348 residences have been leased in the first nine months of availability. Some buildings continue to see upgrades in Jersey City. Gull’s Cove, a luxury condominium building also located in downtown Jersey City, recently upgraded and remodeled the building’s lobby and created what developer Dean S. Geibel calls a unique social lounge space. The building is now 90 percent sold. Jersey City’s residential housing unit total is 108,720, with 11,861 units vacant, according to the 2010 Census. Jersey City’s population was counted in the 2010 Census as 247,597, a slight increase from 240,055 in 2000. However, Mayor Jerramiah Healy believes the city may have been undercounted, and has publicly questioned the results of the Census.
Hoboken The magic word in Hoboken is redevelopment, as the city is drawing up plans for several redevelopment zones along the formerly industrial western, southern, and northern borders. Once they figure out what they want, they’ll seek developers to create the desired mix of residential and commercial buildings. The administration of Mayor Dawn Zimmer continues to hold community meetings about the proposals. The Western Edge plan, which skirts the city’s midtown western border, appears to be one of the next plans to be visited. The city has presented their own plan to the public, but one developer, Hoboken’s Ursa, has asked them to consider their plan that includes a largely residential development with open space. The city’s plan calls for multi-use zoning with business, residential, and commercial zoning, as well as open space. Ursa Developers will also be introducing 44 luxury rentals available in the spring of 2011 at 1100 Jefferson St. in Hoboken. see RESIDENTIAL page 12
JEFFERSON STREET RISING – Ursa Developers will be renting out 44 luxury units this spring in western Hoboken.
The Hudson Reporter â€˘ PROGRESS REPORT â€˘ March 6, 2011 â€˘ 4
From Zinfandel to Xanadu Commercial development continues all over the map
and dodgy air quality, had been prized by three groups: those who supported Mayor Healy and the warehouse project, those who wanted a golf course, and those who wanted parks. Along with the warehouse, the county public golf course is coming to pass, slated for a 2012 opening and designed to be an extension to Lincoln Park across the street. People who opposed the warehouse charged that it would be a three-football-field-size travesty that will
By Kate Rounds Reporter staff writer
n a year in which the economy tried to claw its way out of a recession, with highs and lows, commercial development in Hudson County experienced its own highs and lows. While some businesses closed, including a Barnes & Noble in Hoboken, many restaurants opened in a county full of young professionals who like to dine out. On a grander scale, most of the office towers that were built on the waterfront in the last 15 years are now occupied with financial services tenants and smaller companies, particularly in the Exchange Place financial center in Jersey City. There are still a few plans in the works for new developments with commercial components. Hartz Mountain, the Secaucus-based development company, announced this year that it will be keeping one of its major tenants â€“ UBS Financial Services, which leases one million square feet in its waterfront Lincoln Harbor complex on the Weehawken waterfront. They decided to stay in Hudson County rather than consolidate their operations in New York City, according to a published report. UBS is expected to remain in Weehawken through 2028. Proximity to New York, increased ferry service, and the convenience of various types of transportation make Hudson County a strong contender for business development.
Hoboken The biggest commercial development news in the mile-square city is old news â€“ the ongoing debate between New Jersey Transit and the city, mayor, and concerned citizens about NJTâ€™s plan to develop 52 acres of prized real estate along the cityâ€™s southern border with Jersey City. The land in question encompasses Hobokenâ€™s historic â€“ and hectic â€“ transportation hub, including a train terminal, bus station, NY Waterway ferries, and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail. NJTâ€™s original plan included residential buildings as tall as 45 stories and a 70-story commercial tower, but Mayor Dawn Zimmer and town activists felt it was too big. Last month, a review team made up of city offi-
HIGH FINANCE -- The Jersey City waterfront is home to many financial services companies.
cials and members of community groups recommended their own architectural firm to oversee a new development plan. NJT is now pitching an 18-story commercial building. At the other end of town, the Rockefeller Group, the company that built New York Cityâ€™s Rockefeller Center, is planning to build a project between Park Avenue and Clinton Street on Weehawken Cove. The plans, which have not yet been approved by city boards, are completely commercial, with a 40-story tower that would be the tallest building in Hoboken. The city is also drawing up three redevelopment proposals for the cityâ€™s western and southern borders, to turn formerly industrial land into residences, open space, and possibly some commercial components. Right now, Hobokenâ€™s biggest companies are in the relatively new buildings on the south waterfront, including Wiley Publishing. On a smaller scale but no less significant were the fates of two longstanding Washington Street businesses â€“ Barnes and Noble and Blockbuster. In the age of the e-reader and Netflix, both outlets closed, leaving vacant two very large commercial buildings. At press time, new tenants had not been found. However, Hoboken also saw some new businesses on Washington Street this year, including a Walgreenâ€™s drugstore in a large vacant bank building.
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The controversial AMB warehouse project appears to be moving forward, with a required site cleanup on schedule. This is the plan calling for an 883,000-square-foot warehouse to be built by the San Francisco-based AMB Company off Highway 1&9. This stretch of land, once an otherworldly dreamscape of burning tires
increase truck traffic while not necessarily increasing jobs and not addressing the cityâ€™s open-space deficit. Champions of the warehouse say it will boost tax revenues by $1 million a year and bring in 300 jobs. More resonant with many residents is the Powerhouse, the gigantic iconic structure that houses the substation that powers the PATH trains. Itâ€™s bounded by Bay, Washington, First, and Greene Streets. Artists and officials have been pushing for it to be the anchor in an arts and entertainment district called the Powerhouse Arts District, similar to Baltimoreâ€™s Inner Harbor area. In the near future, the Port Authority is set to move the substation, an essential step before the building can be renovated. The district will be home to theaters, galleries, restaurants, and other arts and entertainment venues. Other commercial business and projects that came to Jersey City last year include Pole Position Raceway on Caven Point Road, an indoor go-kart racing facility; Buon Italia, a gourmet Italian market in Trump Plaza; Barcade bar on Newark Avenue; Key Foods on Monticello Avenue; Big Easy restaurant on Communipaw Avenue; Fine Fare supermarket on Garfield Avenue; Hudson Green Gourmet among the financial companies at 77 Hudson St.; Goldâ€™s Gym on Communipaw Avenue; Rue Viet, a sandwich shop on Newark Avenue; Grill 274 restaurant on Central Avenue; and Wholesale Liquidators, which reopened on Route 440. The bakery behind the â€œCake Bossâ€? reality show will expand the Hoboken business to the eight-story Lackawanna Center warehouse. Carloâ€™s Bakery will lease 32,000 square feet of ground-floor space as the building renovates 200,000 square feet of retail space for its the Shops at Lackawanna project. Jersey Cityâ€™s big commercial centers are Newport and Exchange Place, which house financial services firms such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.
North Bergen Urban Renewal, LLC, plans to construct 17,247 square feet of retail space along Kennedy Boulevard near 56th Street. The developer has begun work on the buildingâ€™s foundation. see COMMERCIAL page 13
Privatization changes medical landscape
New services Hudson Countyâ€™s six hospitals include: Jersey City Medical Center and Christ Hospital in Jersey City; Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen; Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus; Hoboken University Medical Center in Hoboken, and Bayonne Medical Center.
Palisades Medical Center
tem has an open-bore that is 18 percent larger than other systems to provide a greater feeling of openness for the patient. The Vantage Titan also takes advantage of Toshibaâ€™s proprietary contrast-free MRA techniques. This allows physicians to perform scans on patients with known renal compromise and diabetes. Bariatric surgeries are also now offered at Palisades for people who have been unable to achieve significant weight loss through diet modifications and exercise programs alone. Bariatric surgery is also known as weight loss surgery. The hospital has also completely renovated and remodeled its ER. â€œAll of the renovations provide a better patient environment, increase capacity capabilities, improve community access, and enhance patient safety and the quality of healthcare delivery,â€? said
A member of the New YorkPresbyterian Healthcare System, the 202-bed acute care Medical Center has made a number of see HOSPITAL page 9 improvements to its services over the past year. Patients at Palisades Medical Center now benefit from the latest in Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡ MRI technology now that the hospital has fully buy all gold & silver jewelry (damaged installed its new Vantage We or wearable) stamps, coins, & currency Titan from Toshiba. collections (USA and foreign) antiques, toys, The new MRI systemâ€™s trains, dolls, books & cameras, watches, & most collectibles patient-focused features Â‡instruments Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡Â‡ significantly improve Compramos todo dâ€™ore y plata (daĂąado o usable) sellos, patient comfort and monedas, billetes, (USA y extranjeras) antiguedades jugetes, muĂąecas, libros, camaras, relojes, instrumientos y la increase the range of trenes, mayorias de colleciones. patients who can be www.frankiesrarecoinsandstamps.com given an MRI. The sys- ENGLISH â€˘ 201-553-9592 â€˘ SPANISH â€˘ 201-233-2544 327 48th Street, Union City
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Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus
By E. Assata Wright Reporter staff writer
ith the sale last year of Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus and the likely sale this year of Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC), what, if anything, will these sales mean for patients who rely on these facilities? Ever since the non-profit LibertyHealth System announced in January 2010 its intention to sell Meadowlands Hospital to a for-profit group of investors called MHA, the transaction was viewed with caution by the state agencies that had to approve the deal, a process that took most of the year. Similar caution is likely to be applied to the sale of HUMC. MHA had hoped to have the deal wrapped up by last spring. But three state authorities had to approve the deal â€“ the office of the Attorney General, the Department of Health and Senior Services, and the state Health Planning Board. It was approved close to the end of last year. â€œI think what weâ€™re seeing is the state exercising prudence with regard to a nonprofit asset being moved out of the nonprofit world and into a for-profit company. There is always hesitancy in privatizing things,â€? said MHAâ€™s lead principal, William Vazquez, last summer. There is some question about how for-profit companies balance their obligations to their shareholders with their mission to provide quality health care to their community. Specifically, will hospital services change to attract more patients and profits? The short answer appears to be â€“ yes. Last summer, for example, MHA detailed a number of improvements the company plans to make to Meadowlands Hospital to generate more income. The company plans to create a new oncology program at the hospital, upgrade and expand the emergency room, and improve the facilityâ€™s medical imaging technology. The company plans to purchase a new $4 million MRI machine. In an effort to attract new business to Meadowlands Hospital, MHA â€œis actively trying to recruit physicians from different medical disciplines to improve the patient flow of the facility,â€? said spokesman William Maer. But as some departments are expanded, others â€“ ones that perhaps attract fewer patients
or treat the poor â€“ could be cut back. â€œThe New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has required MHA to keep Meadowlands an acute care hospital for at least seven years,â€? said RenĂŠe Steinhagen, an attorney with New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center. â€œThey will be required to maintain all core clinical programs. And if they want to cease providing that, they will have to make a formal request to the department. But you can be an acute care hospital and not have half the departments youâ€™d associate with a hospital, for example obstetrics. And thatâ€™s a big one because that is where youâ€™ll see a lot of uninsured and undocumented patients. So obstetrics becomes very expensive.â€? As an example, Steinhagen pointed to Memorial Hospital of Salem County, which was bought by the for-profit Community Health Systems (CHS) eight years ago. When the Department of Health and Senior Services approved the sale, CHS was required to remain an acute care facility for 10 years. Recently, however, the company has asked for state permission to close all of its obstetrics and gynecological services. Steinhagen suspects these departments likely bore the biggest share of the hospitalâ€™s Charity Care (funding for the poor that the state reimburses hospitals for). New Jersey Appleseed has asked the Department of Health and Senior Services to consider whether the hospital is trying to â€œevadeâ€? its Charity Care obligation â€“ required under New Jersey state law â€“ by shuttering its OB-GYN services. It also remains to be seen whether MHA and any potential buyer of HUMC will successfully negotiate agreements with health insurance providers to provide services at certain rates. The company that is in negotiations to buy HUMC is a part owner of Bayonne Medical Center, and knows how to make a hospital profitable. After Bayonne was purchased and it switched from being a nonprofit facility to a forprofit, the hospital dropped its contracts with some insurance carriers in the interest of trying to negotiate better deals. As a result, patients were unsure of whether the hospital would accept their insurance. However, the hospital has gone from being in great financial trouble to turning a profit. Facing increased competition from private facilities, it is clear that hospitals have to find a
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5 â€˘ The Hudson Reporter â€˘ PROGRESS REPORT â€˘ March 6, 2011
Whatâ€™s new in countyâ€™s six hospitals
way to stay competitive, or find private owners who will run them more like a business. In that regard, Hudson Countyâ€™s six area hospitals have begun to offer some new services and some expanded facilities.
The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 6
GOING UP – Raising the Bayonne Bridge is considered one of the most important transportation projects in the region over the next few years in order to allow larger container ships to reach the ports in Newark and Elizabeth.
Some money to be used for existing projects
Full speed ahead? Some transportation projects continue; others stall By Al Sullivan Reporter staff writer
decade ago, when many of the transportation plans were being finalized for Hudson County, the future seemed bright. Development was at its peak and local, state, and federal officials envisioned projects that would transform Hudson County’s economy into a hub of regional growth. While the region remains a center for commuter trains, buses, ferries, and light rail, the county got a reality check last year when newly-elected Gov. Christopher Christie canceled the Access to the Regions Core (ARC) tunnel, one of the largest and most expensive infrastructure projects in U.S. history, claiming the nearly bankrupt state of New Jersey could not afford the expected cost overruns of the project. The new project would have provided an additional rail route through the county to Manhattan, doubling trips from 23 per hour to 48 and providing 44,000 permanent jobs. The cancellation of the tunnel could cost as many as 6,000 local construction jobs, according to reports.
CROSS TOWN TRAFFIC – Gov. Christopher Christie has a lot to say about how much will get spent on repairing of Hudson County’s transportation infrastructure.
However, Amtrak recently announced that it may build the tunnel instead, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has since revived an old plan that would connect the Secaucus Transfer Station to the existing No. 7 subway line. The Amtrak project, already on the drawing board, proposes a tunnel that would follow the same route as ARC. Trains would run through Secaucus, under the Hudson River, and connect to new tracks in an expanded Penn Station. The project, being called the “Gateway” tunnel, would allow eight more Amtrak trains and 13 more NJ Transit trains per hour to take the route, as opposed to the 25 more NJ Transit trains that ARC would have allowed. As for the 7 train project, it is estimated to cost $5.3 billion — less than the $9.78 billion low-end projection for ARC. Subways on that line travel to the east side of Manhattan and on into Queens. Besides extending to Secaucus, there is talk of a Hoboken stop. The expansion was first proposed in the 1970s when the line was envisioned connecting the Meadowlands Sport Complex with Manhattan.
“The governor’s decision to withdraw from the ARC tunnel project dramatically re-cast how resources will be spent on infrastructure on this side of the Hudson River,” said County Executive Tom DeGise. Now, state money will go to various improvements throughout New Jersey, some of which date back to recommendations by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority more than a decade ago to rebuild local bridges and improve other local infrastructure. Among the most important of these, said Freeholder Bill O’Dea, is part of what is called “The Portway Project.” “Portway is the network of new roadways, bridges and traffic interchanges built over the last decade to swiftly move cargo from the Port of New York and New Jersey through Hudson County,” said DeGise. “It will soon be substantially complete thanks to improvements at the Charlotte and Tonnelle Circles and along Doremus Avenue. However, two pieces of Portway remain on the drawing board – a new bridge across the Passaic River and the completion of the Portway truck route network from Charlotte Circle to Secaucus Road.” Money formerly intended for ARC will also be used to build a new Route 7/Wittpenn Bridge – important because it links Route 139 with Route 1&9 East
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and the New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 15W. “This is key because it will promote port related development that will create thousands of blue collar jobs and help develop Kopper’s Koke,” O’Dea said. Hudson County had hopes for the ARC project because it expected NJ Transit to acquire the 100-acre countyowned site called Kopper’s Koke in Kearny, creating revenue for future budgets. DeGise, however, said the demise of ARC had a positive impact. “The shadow of the ARC Tunnel project loomed large over Koppers,” DeGise said. “It was clear from 2008 on that the property was likely to be targeted for acquisition by the state through sale or eminent domain. This lowered interest from developers.” O’Dea said private developers are now interested again, partly because the property ties into the Portway transportation network and could serve as a warehouse site for goods out of the port. “A completed Portway network,” DeGise said, “would allow companies to bring parts through the port for assembly and storage at sites nearby like a new Koppers Koke industrial park.” To discuss the issues of the Portway, DeGise will be hosting a conference in the spring at Hudson Community College. “We will invite officials from New Jersey Department of Transportation to attend,” DeGise said. “During this conference, representatives from the trucking industry, the business community and local government will describe how investment in the Portway’s completion will mean a stronger port and more jobs.” In this regard, the Hudson County Board of Freeholders has passed a resolution strongly supporting Christie’s proposed transportation plan, urging the governor and the state legislature to “fast track” funding for these projects in Hudson County.
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O’Dea said raising the Bayonne Bridge is “obviously priority number one,” since it has such a regional impact. The $1 billion project, which Gov. Christie announced last fall, will raise the bridge’s roadbed to 215 feet, allow-
Light rail expansion The southern-most stop on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system is a newly constructed station on 8th Street in Bayonne, and there have been hints that the line might be extended into Staten Island at some future point. Rep. Albio Sires, however, said he is pushing for expansion up the west side of Jersey City from the current stop at West Side Avenue – possibly connecting to Journal Square. “The extension of the HBLR to Route 440-Valley Fair site [a mall complex] will help promote over $1 billion in mixed use development,” O’Dea said. When it was first proposed, the HBLR was to extend to Bergen County, but so far it has terminated in North Bergen.
New ferry stops Thanks to a $9 million, three-year contract awarded to Billybey Ferry Co. by New York City, commuters using the NY Waterway ferry service out of Hoboken and Weehawken will be able to land at new stops in Queens and Brooklyn. Billybey contracts with Waterway to operate its 16 ferries. The new stops will open in June. Two extra stops, at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bridge Park) and Governors Island, will operate during summer weekends.
Other projects Going out to bid shortly is the long-awaited 14th Street Viaduct project for the elevated roadway that connects Union City and Jersey City Heights with Hoboken. The road will be renovated, expanded, and a park will be built underneath. Another transportation issue Hudson County officials are pushing for will be the repair of the Pulaski Skyway, which is essential because of the safety concerns with the current roadway. O’Dea, as freeholder chairman, is still pressing to get the Port Authority to consider creating a PATH station at the Marion/Route 1&9 area in Jersey City. “It will both encourage residential development in that area,” he said, “but more important on the Newark Avenue side, [it will] create another Urban Transit Hub eligible for tax credits that could create thousands of new jobs.”
Possible stalling But not all of the promised funding for projects is coming. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg blasted Congressional Republicans last month, saying they had cut over $50 million in federal grants that were marked to come to New Jersey for four transportation and infrastructure projects – including work on a replaced rail bridge in Secaucus, a traffic reduction project in Bergen and Hudson Counties, and a huge redevelopment project in Jersey City. The cuts came as part of the House of Representatives’ version of the “Continuing Resolution (CR)” to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2011, Lautenberg said. The bill was approved in the House last week, and the Senate is now working on its own version of the budget. Funding threatened includes $38.5 million to complete the design for a new rail bridge over the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus. The new Portal Bridge would help improve the reliability of Amtrak and NJ Transit trains and reduce wait times for commuters. The House-passed budget will also eliminate $10 million to improve traffic flows in Bergen and Hudson Counties along U.S. Routes 1&9 and 46 and state Routes 7, 17 and 120.
To comment on this story on-line, go to www.hudsonreporter.com. Email Al Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEXT STOP – The Hudson Bergen Light Rail system was expanded this year to Eighth Street in Bayonne. Officials hope the next phase will expand the line up the west side of Jersey City.
7 • The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011
ing newer, larger ships to access the ports of Elizabeth and Newark. Raising the bridge, DeGise pointed out, will allow the enormous new panamax class supertanker cargo ships to pass under the bridge to access port facilities along Newark Bay. The proposed plan to raise the roadbed rather than the replace or rebuild the bridge allows the Port Authority to meet a pressing timetable, as the new ships are expected to start arriving with the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014.
The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 8 AWAITING PIER C PARK’S OPENING — Pier C Park in Hoboken is scheduled to open this spring.
BLUEPRINTS FOR WATERFRONT PARK — These plans are what North Bergen submitted to the state to get Green Acres funding for a joint park in North Bergen and Guttenberg.
Parks, recreation grow in Hudson County Golf course, swimming pool, waterfront parks on the way By Tricia Tirella Reporter staff writer
n the most densely populated county in New Jersey, several new parks and facilities are on the drawing boards or nearing their grand open-
ing dates. In addition, municipal recreation departments have been expanding to provide services to both the young and the young at heart. Despite delays, whether due to funding or construction issues, it appears progress is being made on urban parks.
You could be here when your water breaks…
Countywide The Hudson County Board of Freeholders officially approved a public golf course near Lincoln Park on Jersey City’s west side through a resolution three months ago. The nine-hole course will be built on Duncan Avenue on 60 acres of wasteland that once was used by the federal government. The estimated completion date is fall 2012. The course will be open to the public. It will be funded through the county with $12.7 million in bonds. Also, it appears that after nearly two years of delays, a parcel of James J. Braddock Park in North Bergen, which was slated to host a 1,500 seat football/soccer field, will be returned to passive space. State funding for the project was frozen in spring 2010 after contaminated soil was found. The county hopes to complete remediation, reseed, and landscape the area by this summer.
Jersey City: New pool, renovations
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The first new swimming pool in Jersey City in more than 30 years, Lafayette Pool Complex on Johnston Avenue, did not open on time last year due to electrical problems, but is scheduled to open for residents this coming summer. The $5.3 million project will feature a lap pool, an activity pool, a concession stand, and changing rooms.
“We needed a new pool to service citizens,” said Department of Public Works Director Rodney Hadley. Columbia Park on John F. Kennedy Boulevard was recently renovated with a playground and splash pad, costing $462,000. A renovation of Bayside Park, located on Garfield Avenue, is under way. This should cost around $3.9 million and will feature a new playground, splash pad, three new basketball courts, two new tennis courts, and security enhancements. According to Recreation Director Joe Macchi, the city recently received a $120,000 grant from the United States Swim Foundation. It will go to a free “learn to swim” program around April 1. Only five towns in New Jersey received the grant, with Jersey City receiving the largest funding.
Hoboken: More parks possible On Feb. 22, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in her first State of the City address that she hopes to present a $20 million bond ordinance at the March 2 council meeting to designate funds for renovating and creating parks. Residents of the dense mile-square city have long complained that not enough open space has been preserved. Zimmer’s administration has identified several areas they would like to turn into parks. Because they are near each other, two uptown sites, 1600 Park Ave. and Hoboken Cove, will both be designed by Remington and Vernick along with input from the community. The city hopes to finish the parks by the fall of 2012, but the final designs have to be approved by the council. Meanwhile, the city is working with Trust Republic Land to acquire a parcel of land near Madison and 12th Streets, see PARKS page 14
from page 5
Bruce J. Markowitz, president and CEO. Palisades began its Emergency Department Renovation Project in 2009 by adding new technologies and incorporated a new rapid evaluation unit to provide immediate assessment to incoming patients and allow for faster triage and bedside registration. This year, ER renovations will include access for walk-in patients to permit direct access from the waiting area. Additional restroom facilities and new storage areas will also be added. New Jersey hospitals face a great struggle due to the state’s unusually high population density and its 1.2 million uninsured residents who often rely on Emergency Departments as their provider of last resort. Palisades’ Northern Hudson service area has a poverty rate that is four times the New Jersey average, according to the hospital.
Jersey City Medical Center Women requiring biopsies after a mammogram are now reaping the benefits of new technology being used at the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center at Jersey City Medical Center. Doctors say the new stereotactic breast biopsy equipment promises women greater comfort and precision during biopsies. It is the first technology of its kind available at a comprehensive breast center in Hudson County. “This computer-guided technology allows us to get a better and smaller sampling of tissue with greater precision, shortens the time of the procedure, and provides the patient with little if any discomfort,” said Dr. Edward Poon, chair of radiology at the hospital. “The incision is much smaller so there is little if any scarring and decreased pain. The procedure is completed within 45 to 60 minutes.” “The new technology is another example of our goal to make the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center the leading breast cancer facility in the area,” said Medical Director Dr. Julie DiGioia. “It’s part of the center’s mission to provide our patients with excellent medical care and treat them with the utmost in dignity and compassion.” As part of this effort, the center recently created a tumor board comprised of a group of leading physicians with diverse specialties in oncology, radiology, surgery, pathology, radiation oncology, and reconstructive surgery, who meet weekly to discuss complex cases and the most appropriate care. In addition, the Radiology Department recently received a three-year term of accreditation from the American College of Radiology.
Hoboken University Medical Center HUMC has recently expanded its Senior Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP). STEP is among the most comprehensive behavioral health programs for the elderly in Hudson County and HUMC is the only hospital in Hudson County that offers specialized behavioral health care for this demographic, according to hospital spokespeople. The program not only addresses the psychiatric needs of the elderly but their medical needs as well. Patient and their families also participate in treatment planning to help develop interventions aimed at improving symptoms. Patient rooms in the department are all private. The rooms are designed to meet the needs of patients with a mix of psychiatric and medical problems. Also at the hospital, there is a brand new dining room to accommodate
meals that will be served family-style, which provides patients the opportunity to eat in a community non-institutional setting. Family members are also able to join patients for meals. Equally as important to this new unit is an area where families can visit with loved ones. The family area was developed to help create a home-like setting and provide comfort to families when visiting. The company that is hoping to buy HUMC has indicated that it plans to make more improvements. In a press release issued last week, HUMC HoldCo said: “HUMC Holdco is continuing to explore additional sources of financing in order to advance HUMC’s goal of building a nursing home/assisted living facility, modernizing and expanding the maternity unit, and longer term capital needs.”
Bayonne Medical Center Last fall, Bayonne Medical Center was designated as a primary stroke center by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. The designation recognized the hospital’s expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of strokes. “We are extremely pleased with our recent designation as a Primary Stroke Center,” said hospital president and CEO Daniel A. Kane. “The center of excellence that we have developed for the diagnosis and treatment of strokes is another example of the high level of care that we are providing to the residents of Bayonne and Hudson County.” The cardiovascular program at Bayonne Medical Center is the most recent service to receive new advanced equipment, enhanced technology and a complete facility renovation at a cost of $2.2 million. The new equipment will allow physicians an opportunity to perform complex cardiac and peripheral vascular procedures. Physicians will have an opportunity to share patient images electronically with the patients’ primary care physician and other physicians involved in their care. The newly-renovated space incorporates what the hospital calls its “healing environment concept” which provides patients and family members a more relaxed recovery experience. Kane said, “Bayonne Medical Center has invested over $10 million dollars on improvements in facilities, equipment and technology since February 2008.”
Hoboken University Medical Center in Hoboken
ment on the way which will focus on brain injuries and disorders. The department will treat such conditions as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, Alzheimer’s, developmental brain disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and other cognitive conditions. According to MHA officials, Meadowlands Hospital’s new owners have invested more than $8 million to upgrade its electronic health records, a trend that several hospitals in the area are following, including Palisades Medical Center.
Christ Hospital Beginning in January 2011, Christ Hospital acquired the necessary equipment to treat heart attack patients with Medically Induced Hypo thermia. The procedure allows physicians time to treat a patient’s heart condition, while
reducing harm to the brain. Once initial treatments are complete, and the patient is stabilized, the patient’s core body temperature is gradually raised back to normal. Induced hypothermia can double or triple the survival rate among some patient groups. “Having this therapy available to our physicians will greatly benefit patients being brought to the Emergency Department at Christ Hospital,” said Vijay Akkapeddi, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “Inducing hypothermia to patients suffering a coronary event will avail us the time to treat them and help assure they do not needlessly suffer additional brain damage.” To comment on this story on-line, go to www.hudsonreporter.com. E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudson reporter.com.
Or at Hoboken University Medical Center
Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center MHA’s first priority has been to find ways to attract more patients to Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center. Upon taking control of Meadowlands, MHA turned the hospital into an all private-room facility. Patients no longer have to share their recovery time with roommates. Rooms are also equipped with TVs, phones, and internet service without additional charge. And specified visiting hours have been abolished, giving families broader access to their recovering loved ones. The hospital’s radiology department already has new Xray and advanced MRI equipment, and MHA also plans to expand the hospital’s emergency room and cardiac program by the fall. There’s also a new physical rehab depart-
Dr. Osbert Fernandez, OB/Gyn, Prenatal Educator Robin Petrick and Family Birthing Center patient Emily Fernandez.
Everything you need for a safe and healthy delivery is moments away at Hoboken University Medical Center. Exceptional care from the area’s leading medical specialists. Private maternity suites and a lactation consultant on site, 24/7. And an advanced Level II Neonatal Special Care Nursery with the latest treatment and technology to encourage infant development. To tour the Family Birthing Center or learn more, call (201) 418-1015. We’re changing more than our name.
308 Willow Ave. I Hoboken, New Jersey 07030 I (201) 418-1000 I www.HobokenUMC.com
9 • The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011
The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 10
Education reform on a local level State policies have impact on local school districts
CHRISTIE CUTS – Education reform at the state level has brought two new charter schools into Jersey City and funds to West New York’s Harry L. Bain School, but also the possibility of cutting pre-K programs. Pictured: (r) Gov. Christie.
Bayonne Bayonne’s Marist High School welcomed its first female principal ever this year. Alice Miesnak, formerly Marist High School’s assistant principal, took over for Marist Brother Donnell Neary as acting principal on Jan.7, after he became ill and needed to recuperate. Time will tell if she decides to submit her name to the search committee to become more than just the acting principal.
Hoboken OFFERING SERVICES – The North Bergen School District is in talks to expand its autistism program, which currently includes kindergarten and first grade.
By Deanna Cullen Reporter Staff Writer
very Hudson County district has been affected in some way by Gov. Christopher Christie’s firm stance on education reform. Schools have seen their budgets slashed to help balance the state’s budget without increasing taxes, and the governor’s to-do list includes closing low-performance schools, adding more charter schools, and introducing merit pay for teachers. Recently, he has declared his push for the abolition of teacher tenure and cutting the preschool budget in urban areas. A Republican-proposed plan calls for funding only half-day preschools in urban districts and diverting the $300 million saved to suburban schools, although Christie failed to endorse it in his budget address last month. But three schools will benefit from Christie’s revamping of the state Schools Development Authority construction program. It will finance projects for Jersey City’s PS 20 Elementary School and Elementary School 3, and West New York’s Harry L. Bain Elementary School. An instrumental part of Gov. Christie’s education policy is the addition of charter schools. In his 2011 N.J Budget Address, he said that his administration had announced the approval of 23 new public charter schools – two of which are in Jersey City – and by the fall, 97 would be operating in the state. His budget proposes to more than double school choice aid and to
increase funding for charter schools by more than 50 percent.
The great charter school debate The existing charter schools in Jersey City and Hoboken are looking to the state for increased funding. Charter schools are public schools founded by parents and/or educators. They are exempt from the local school board oversight and teacher’s union contracts that other public schools must face. They do not charge tuition and get most of their funding from the state, administered through the local boards. They are considered public schools. Jersey City’s parents had been petitioning heavily for more funding for charter schools. Charter schools in New Jersey are supposed to receive state funding equal to 90 percent of what local public school receive, but it has been argued that Jersey City’s charter schools receive as little as 50 percent of the state’s funding allotted to traditional public schools in the district. Before Gov. Christie announced the approval of new charter schools this year, there were eight in Jersey City – with a combined enrollment of 3,600 students – and three in Hoboken. Two new recently approved charter schools now bring Jersey City’s total to 10 – the Dr. Lena Edwards Charter School and the M.E.T.S. Charter School. Here is a rundown of what’s happening in the schools, town by town:
The Hoboken Board of Education unanimously voted Jan. 11 to approve the contract of a new superintendent, Dr. Mark Toback, who is the current superintendent of Sussex County Vocational School District. Toback will receive total pay of $157,700, which could increase to approximately $180,000 with five incentive-laden bonuses offered under his contract. He is set to start in the position on March 14. On the charter school front, the HoLa Charter School opened this past September as New Jersey’s first Spanish-English charter school. It currently teaches students in kindergarten through second grade, but plans to add a new grade level each year until it reaches grade 5. The Stevens Institute of Technology recently hired a new president, Dr. Nariman Farvardin, currently the provost at the University of Maryland, at a base salary of $625,000. He will take over the office from Interim President George Korfiotis on July 1, and Korfiotis will return to the role of Provost at Stevens. Former President Harold Raveche, who resigned after the school was sued in 2009 for financial mismanagement, will pay off more than $721,000 in lowinterest loans the school gave him to buy two vacation homes. The school had lent the former president, who took in a $1.1 million annual salary, $1.8 million to buy the two homes, and forgave half the loan.
Jersey City Jersey City’s P.S. 20 Elementary School and Elementary School 3 are two out of the 10 schools in the state to benefit in 2011 from a state investment of $584 million under a revamped School Development Authority construction program.
For P.S. 20 on Danforth Avenue, which is currently falling apart due to extensive water damage and cannot meet its students’ needs, the financial assistance will translate into the construction of a new school on Ocean and Cator avenues. The district will get new charter schools next fall. The Dr. Lena Edwards Charter School will serve 396 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade. It will offer a classical education program with a focus on character education. M.E.T.S. Charter School will serve 560 students in grades six to 12. It will offer a program that features a strong mathematics, engineering, technology, and science curriculum. M.E.T.S. is planning to partner with Liberty Science Center. The Jersey City School District was taken over by the state in 1989 and is slowly coming out of state control after having to meet certain benchmarks. More power is being given to the superintendent of schools – Charles Epps, who was appointed in 2000 – and the local school board. The next Board of Education election will be held this April. On the private school front, the wellregarded St. Peter’s Preparatory High School at 144 Grand St. is in the midst of a 12- to 15-year expansion project. This June, the doors will close on St. Mary’s High School, a private school affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, which had served 295 students in grades 9 through 12.
North Bergen North Bergen High School is waiting to hear back from the U.S. Department of Education to find out if it has been chosen for the 2011 Blue Ribbon program, an award conferred upon schools demonstrating superior levels of achievement. The school sent in an application after it was selected as one of nine New Jersey nominees back in December. The school received the nomination, according to Superintendent Robert Dandorph, due to many factors, including test scores, high school graduation and failure rates, and cost per pupil. If chosen, the school will receive a plaque and a flag to signify its Blue Ribbon School status, along with being honored at a ceremony in Washington D.C. see EDUCATION page 14
11 • The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011
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The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 12
from page 3
Construction from Toll Brothers is continuing in uptown Hoboken near the corner of 15th and Washington streets, as a pair of 13-story mixed use, residential/retail buildings continue to climb toward the Hoboken sky. The buildings are at the site of the developer’s already existing Tea Building, where notable sports stars like Eli Manning live. The City Council is expecting the results of a planner’s study of the southwest area of town. And in the northwest, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Local Assistance Program will pay for a $75,000 redevelopment study. Hoboken has a total of 26,855 housing units, with 25,041 of them currently occupied, according to U.S. Census data. Hoboken’s population is 50,005, significantly more than 38,577 in 2000.
Secaucus The major residential project in Secaucus is the XChange housing development, located near the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station near the New Jersey Turnpike. The project is developed by Fraternity Meadows. Phase II of the project opened in 2010, and features 140 market rate units and 38 affordable units. The third phase of the project, expect-
ed to be finished this year, will have 270 market rate units and 48 units designated as affordable housing. Secaucus has 6,846 total housing units, and 6,297 of them are occupied, according to Census data. Secaucus’ 2010 population is 16,264, which is a slight increase from 15,931 in 2000.
North Bergen and Guttenberg Not all proposals for residential development are met with open arms. Debate continued in January over a River Road property that would include a 59-unit residential development on the cliffs in North Bergen. Appleview, LLC is proposing the five-story residential building near the North Bergen border with Guttenberg. Multiple zoning variances are needed in order for construction to move forward. The developers originally intended to build on a lot that was less than half the size called for by zoning and traversed in part by a high pressure pipeline supplying the majority of New York City’s natural gas. A nearby high-rise association in Guttenberg, as well as other local residents have fought the project. Residents are concerned that the project’s close proximity to the high pressure Transco Williams Gas Pipeline could cause some problems in the
MONACO READY TO OPEN – The Monaco in Jersey City, developed by the team of Roseland Property, Garden State Development, and Hartz Mountain Industries, will feature two 50-story rental towers including 524 residences, a 558 parking space garage, and 11,900 square feet of retail.
future. Discussions will continue for this project at the city’s Planning Board in early March. North Bergen will soon auction off three small lots along 7711 – 7815 River Road, beginning at $1.7 million. They expect a developer who owns the nearby 7601 River Road to purchase this property and erect 300 residential units and retail space. Urban Renewal LLC is building 164 rental units and retail space on Kennedy Boulevard near 56th Street. The project resurfaced in the news in January when the Board of Commissioners voted on two 30-year financial agreements with the company in lieu of regular taxes. In order for the agreements to remain valid, construction must be completed in the next 18 months. Development of residential areas may become a little easier in North Bergen in the future. The Board of Commissioners passed a general ordinance authorizing long-term tax exemptions in January, which will enable the township to award retail and residential abatements to developers who meet certain criteria, such as redeveloping a blighted area. A tax abatement is an agreement between a developer and a municipality allowing the developer to pay a negotiated, separate fee to the city rather than paying regular taxes for a fixed number of years. Town Administrator Christopher Pianese said in January that some of the tax abatements may help jump start development in North Bergen. In North Bergen, 23,912 housing units were counted in the 2010 Census. Over 22,000 were indicated as occupied, and 1,850 were recorded as vacant. North
Bergen has 60,773 residents, which is up from 58,092 in the 2000 Census.
Union City Union City, one of the few landlocked towns in the county, has little vacant space, so there wasn’t much development news last year. In January, the City Council passed an amendment to the city’s rent control ordinance recognizing that an “emergency” exists from a lack of affordable rental housing. A new ordinance bans landlords from withholding available housing units, requiring them to report a vacancy exceeding 90 days to the Rent Leveling Board Office. Union City has 455 affordable housing units, but the approximate waiting time for someone on the waiting list is eight years, according to a Union City Housing Authority employee. The issue will continue to be addressed in 2011. The city, which now has 66,455 residents, according to the 2010 Census, has a total of 24,931 housing units. 22,814 of the units are recorded as occupied. The population shows a slight decrease from the 67,088 residents counted in the 2000 Census.
Weehawken In the waterfront city of Weehawken, a total of 6,213 housing units were recorded in the 2010 Census. Of those, 5,712 units are occupied. Weehawken has 12,554 residents, according to 2010 Census data, which is a slight decrease from the 13,501 counted in 2000. The main residential project in Weehawken, developed by Lennar Urban and Roseland Property, is Henley on the Hudson, a new luxury condominium home collection. The developer held an event as recently as the end of January to stimulate sales. The Residences, which opened in 2010, feature 27 single-level units in a sixstory building. The new homes are priced from the $400,000s to over $2 million.
West New York The highest inventory of unsold housing in Hudson County is in West New York, according to a recent New York Times article. The inventory is meas-
Bayonne The main issue for development in Bayonne is the future of the Peninsula, a set of six development zones on 430 acres of the former Military Ocean Terminal site. The project was originally designed to be residential, but a
large portion of the land was sold last year to the Port Authority for commercial and container properties. The issue will continue to be addressed in 2011. Elsewhere in the city, plans are underway for the eventual opening of a 99-unit residential building at the former Maidenform factory. The development, being completed by Silklofts LLC, at 142-180 Avenue E, received Planning Board approval last year. It is intended to one day be a residential community with businesses and spaces for social activities. Bayonne has 63,024 residents, according to 2010 Census data, which is a slight increase from the 61,842 residents in 2000. The city has 27,799 total housing units, with 25,237 reported as occupied.
Looking ahead Some analysts see a rebounding economy and a future upbeat real estate market on the horizon, while others fear more foreclosures are on the way. Hudson County has recently stayed ahead of the curve in real estate development due to the close proximity to Manhattan and the comparatively lower prices. Regardless of the economy, this area continues to be a draw due to the multiple transportation options, nightlife, recreation, and Manhattan skyline views. To comment on this story on-line, go to www.hudsonreporter.com. Email Ray Smith at RSmith@hud sonreporter.com.
manner of unique and charming treasures. In the same ’hood were Vigneto Wine and Gifts and GoodieBox Bakeshop, which operated out of Vigneto. Both shops closed their doors last year.
Last year also saw the opening of a mall called Bayonne Crossings, on route 440 with major big box stores.
One big project that will affect Hudson County is just outside of Secaucus, on Route 3 in East Rutherford. The unfinished $2.3 billion Xanadu development project looms in the middle of the Meadowlands like a mirage of future commercial prosperity. It was designed to feature five theme-oriented shopping and entertainment districts, including a 287-foot Ferris wheel, aquarium, indoor snow dome for skiing, two skydiving tunnels, movie theaters, chain restaurants, and up to 200 stores in 2.3 million square feet of retail space. It was also expected to add 20,000 temporary jobs during the construction phase and another 20,000 permanent jobs once completed. After the project ran into financial trouble, it was saved by a corporation called Triple Five, the owner and developer of Minnesota’s Mall of America. Late last year, the company signed a letter of intent to take over the project. Gov. Christopher Christie encouraged the project’s rebirth.
The Bayonne waterfront is fast developing with commercial, industrial, and residential entities: Global Marine Terminal, Cape Liberty Cruise Port, and the Alexan Cityview luxury rental complex, which stands in a huge open tract within view of the windswept links of the Bayonne golf course. All of them are just minutes away, yet a world apart, from the town of Bayonne proper, chock-a-block with little retail stores, restaurants, banks, and corner bars. The perennial Bayonne development question is: what’s to become of the Depressionera Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne, which in its time has been a naval station, shipping port, and dry dock? In June of last year came the stunning news that the city had approved a deal to sell most of it to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to become a shipping port. It was shocking because residential housing had originally been planned. But the job-creation of the port project was more appealing. Now the city and the Port Authority have to draw up specific plans for commercial operations on the waterfront.
from page 4
Nearby, residents of North Bergen continue to oppose a strip mall that would add 30,309 square feet of retail space next to the Vornado Realty Trust mall development along Tonnelle Avenue and 88th Street. Residents have focused on protesting a liquor store that is proposed. They fear an increase in traffic, but town officials point to an ongoing road improvement project that the state is doing, which should be finished by the end of the year.
Secaucus Secaucus stands to lose one of its biggest companies. Panasonic, the electronics giant that currently leases 1 million square feet of space at 1 Meadowlands Parkway from Hartz Mountain Industries, said last year that it might move. In order to keep it in the state, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved more than $100 million in tax incentives if Panasonic moves to Newark. But that didn’t sit well with Secaucus officials, who want Panasonic to keep its 800-plus jobs in town. The incentives are part of the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, which gives tax credits to companies that employ at least 250 full-time workers and occupy space near nine designated transit communities. Newark is one of these cities. Secaucus is not. Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, recently lost an appeal
of the decision to use the tax credit program. Meanwhile, Secaucus, with its outlet mall, is also home to clothing companies. One fashion designer, Alice + Olivia, has opened a 75,000-square-foot Secaucus office, bringing 50 jobs and plans to create 20 more. The company got help from the Business Employment Incentive Program, which awards grants of up to 80 percent of income taxes due on new jobs created in the state. Other apparel companies like The Children’s Place that had warehoused their goods in the Meadowlands are moving to newer, larger, cheaper digs farther south on the Turnpike. Some of the clothing companies have been replaced by food companies. Apparently, there is value in proximity to New York. Commercial real estate experts said that in the fourth quarter of 2010, 13.7 percent of the Meadowlands’ 58 million square feet of leasable industrial space was vacant, up slightly from 12.2 in the same period in 2009.
Weehawken While the aforementioned UBS is staying in Weehawken, three much smaller businesses that helped give Weehawken’s Park Avenue its distinctive entrepreneurial energy closed their doors late last year, unable to tough out the brutal economy. ArtsEcho Galleria was one. The eclectic boutique and gallery sold vintage clothes, jewelry, antiques, and all
To comment on this story on-line, go to www.hudsonrepor ter.com. Email Kate Rounds at email@example.com.
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13 • The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011
ured by the amount of time it would take to sell the current “onthe-market” housing units, which is 23.3 months in West New York, according to the report. However, the downturn isn’t stopping more development. Roseland Properties has advertised a new residential building, “Building G,” for the luxury Port Imperial development along the waterfront, which is still being planned by the developer and will be a rental property. Meanwhile, the fight continues over a proposed 22-story development at 57th Street and Park Avenue. Developers Park Terrace LLC originally applied for a 30story building in a 12-story zone, and then scaled their plans down. Residents are still concerned about potential overcrowding that would increase traffic congestion, and filed a lawsuit in July 2010 in Hudson County Superior Court. The fight over the property has not re-surfaced yet in 2011, but is expected to be addressed once again this year. In West New York, a total of 20,018 residential units were counted in the 2010 Census. Over 18,800 were counted as occupied, and 1,166 sit vacant. West New York now has 49,708 residents, up from 45,768 in 2000.
The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 14
from page 10
Blue Ribbon aside, the high school is in the midst of expansion. It hopes to complete an extension on its front side which would enlarge the space for the college center, main office, and nurse’s office, but progress has been delayed. The district is in talks to expand its autistic program, which currently includes kindergarten and first grade.
Secaucus Like many districts, the Secaucus School District made anti-bullying programs a priority this year. They offered two anti-bullying programs in 12 months, with the most recent one unveiled at an assembly in October. The program included videos, information from legal experts, and personal testimonies from adults who were either harassed as children or who have seen the impact bullying has had on victims’ lives. The district has also stepped up efforts to educate students about depression, stress, and available support systems for overwhelmed teens.
Union City A few months ago, Union City was one of three cities nationally to receive the Resilience and Recovery Initiative grant furnished by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A local health agency will receive $5 million over the course of four years to run it. Through the grant, the district’s children – and residents in general – will be eligible for long-awaited support counseling and services. The district has also added eight full-time staff members to address substance abuse and depression in elementary schools, middle schools, the ninth grade academy, and the high school. The Union City School District may suffer a blow, however, with the New Jersey Senate Republicans’ proposal to roll back state-funded full-day preschool in urban districts. Christie failed to endorse the measure in his budget address, but no one knows whether it could still rear its head in some form.
Weehawken The district, recently named as a “high performing district” by the New Jersey State Department of
Education will benefit from a new technology system, Learnia. The system will track the progress – and analyze student strengths and weaknesses – of students grade three through eight by documenting student test grades and class performance through online tests given throughout the year.
can be used as a white board or a computer screen, in 33 of its 44 classrooms. The Secaucus School District, too, continues to place emphasis on technology, with its shift to online lesson plans and improvements made to the school system’s fiber optic system.
West New York
The district received a new superintendent last year: John Fauta. Now they will soon welcome new construction. West New York’s Harry L. Bain School Elementary School will receive funding for a new building after being selected as one of the 10 schools in New Jersey to benefit from a state investment of $584 million under Gov. Christopher Christie’s revamped School Development Authority construction program. In other school construction news, the district plans to acquire the old St. Joseph’s of the Palisades Elementary School building on Palisade Avenue to expand Memorial High School. Also, the new Public School No. 3 is nearing completion. That school is anticipated to open next September. Higher-learning programs were recently instituted at Memorial High School, such as college-credit courses offered through a partnership with Syracuse University. MHS Principal Scott Cannao said the school is looking to add more affiliate universities in the near future. The organizers of MHS’ “Tomorrow’s Teachers” education program also hope that their students can get college credit for taking it.
The county hopes to someday build a new main campus for the Hudson County Schools of Technology – a group of countywide public schools – in Secaucus, and close the existing campuses in North Bergen and Jersey City. However, they may keep a satellite campus in Jersey City. The project hinges on approval from the town of Secaucus and the state, as well as up to $199 million in funding. Under current plans, a new campus would be built in Laurel Hill Park, a county-owned park. Hudson County Schools Superintendent Frank Gargiulo unveiled the latest plans for the vocational project to the unanimous endorsement of the Hudson County Freeholders in early January. Gargiulo has already approached the New Jersey Department of Education and the state Schools Development Authority for project approval and funding of the project. He hopes to get about 70 percent, or $139 million, from the state under state funding formulas for vocational school construction projects in the past. The remaining $50 million would have been offset either by the sale of the North Bergen and Jersey City sites or covered by county taxpayers. Gargiulo’s presentation at a Jan. 25 Secaucus Town Council meeting received an initial favorable nod by Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, but he was requested to come back when an audience of residents was present.
Trends across the board Arguably the biggest trend this school year has been the push for anti-bullying programs throughout all districts. After New Jersey lawmakers approved the toughest anti-bullying legislation of its kind in the nation in November, schools have conducted anti-bullying assemblies and implemented anti-bulling measures in the classroom and school hallways. Another trend, “going green” has been tremendously popular among Hudson County Schools. The North Bergen Board of Education placed solar panels on six of its seven public schools, with the help of more than $1.4 million in grants. Bayonne continues to benefit from grants awarded to two Bayonne teachers from Public Service Gas & Electric to continue their environmentally progressive class work, which include a “Rock N’ Renew Community Garden” and an outdoor classroom. A few months ago in Hoboken, a group of middle school students from All Saints Episcopal School took “going green” to a new level by meeting with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, council members, and city directors to propose a plastic bag ban in the city. Another huge trend was the “retooling” of classrooms with advanced educational technology. Guttenberg’s Anna L. Klein School – its sole school –has installed SMART boards, which
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HCCC Meanwhile, Hudson County Community College’s new North Hudson Higher Education Center in Union City, which has been under construction since the spring of 2009, is scheduled to open this spring, with classes to begin in the fall. The $28.1 million structure is the largest construction ever undertaken by HCCC and is being billed as “a complete campus under one roof.” The new building, located along Kennedy Boulevard and just steps away from the 49th Street Light Rail Station, marks the first institute of higher learning within Union City limits. It will replace the current center in West New York. Due to skyrocketing HCCC enrollment, the school has also been implementing a $147.7 million physical development plan. Future plans include a welcome center with computer stations at the Journal Square PATH Station, the development of the entire block on Sip Avenue to include classrooms and a library, and a classroom center in the southern part of the county. To comment on this story on-line, go to www.hudson reporter.com. Email Deanna Cullen at dcullen@hud sonreporter.com.
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formerly the site of the Cognis/Henkel chemical plant, to turn it into a park. And Ursa Development, a company that has built housing in the city’s Northwest Redevelopment Zone, is seeking to build a new park and additionally housing in that part of town if the city approves a new proposal of theirs. They discussed their plan with a City Council subcommittee in late February. Further south, Zimmer has said that the city hopes to put artificial turf on the Mama Johnson Field near the Housing Authority buildings in the 4th Ward. The site needs remediation first. Families have been waiting for a major new park on the south waterfront. Pier C Park, off Sinatra Drive between Third and Fourth streets, was partially opened in November of 2010, but various construction delays held it up, including concerns about how hot the slides will become in the sun. Officials have slated the opening of the rest of the park for this spring.
NB/Gutt: Waiting for funding for new park A waterfront park along River Road overlooking the Hudson River has been in the design phase now for years, but officials say that this is because of their search for funding. The project started as a Guttenberg park after the town purchased land from developer K. Hovnanian for $1.2 million. The town then received a $192,000 state Green Acres grant and a $400,000 Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund grant. The town borrowed an additional $800,000 to go forward with the project. However, when it became apparent that K. Hovnanian would not be developing residential units on their North Bergen land north of their Guttenberg parcels, that meant more land was available, so the two towns worked together to create a joint park. The North Bergen Commissioners approved and purchased land at 7200 River Road in July 2010 from K. Hovnanian for $1,620,000. Then in January they received $1,835,000 from the Hudson County Trust Fund.
Secaucus rec center slashing membership cost With membership numbers falling and costs increasing, Secaucus announced in January that it will be cutting its Recreation Center membership rates. The Recreation Center, which opened at 1200 Koelle Boulvard in Dec. 2008, had 1,811 members in December, down from one year earlier when its membership peaked at 2,300. It is only open to local residents. At the same time, the facility lost $538,311 in 2009 and $681,090 in 2010.
Meanwhile, last year the town reopened its former recreation center site at 145 Front St. as a teen and senior center with the help of $40,000 in donations from local area businesses.
WNY dog park slated for spring After complaints that the Verrazano Dog Park at 66th Street and J.F.K. Boulevard East was a smelly mess due to drainage problems, a new and improved version is slated to open this
The plan calls for digging up the existing surface, increasing the park area from 4,000 square feet to 7,2000 square feet, improving drainage, and encasing it with a new fence. The other amenities include dog exercise components such as weave poles, hoops, and two water fountains.
Union City The Washington Park Association (WPA), a group of volunteers in support of Washington Park near the Union City and Jersey City borders, has been working with Union City and the Hudson
“We needed a new pool to service citizens.” — Rodney Hadley spring. In January, $85,000 was designated for the project. Due to its construction over an old tennis court, the dog park retained water and dog urine, which created health concerns and complaints about fleas, bacteria, and the stench.
County Parks Department on a design for a proposed multi-purpose synthetic turf field. The 21-acre park spans both cities. However a parcel of land known as Park No. 3 is under the stewardship of Union City, with the other three under the county’s responsibility.
The field is slated to be funded with a $500,000 grant from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund and will be finalized over the next year.
Two passive parks in Weehawken According to Mayor Richard Turner, two new passive parks are on the way in Weehawken. On J.F.K. Boulevard East, the American Legion is working in conjunction with the town to construct a halfacre park with $48,000 in Green Acres funding. The town is also creating a 25-by-100 foot park along an old church in the Shades area in town. This is being funded by $40,000 in left over money from other grant projects. Turner said both should be completed by the end of August. To comment on this story on-line, go to www.hudsonreporter.com. Email Tricia Tirella at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com
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North Bergen Mayor Nicholas J. Sacco Commissioners Allen Pascual Hugo Cabrera Frank Gargiulo Theresa Ferraro C A L L T O W N S H I P A D M I N I S T R AT O R C H R I S P I A N E S E AT 2 0 1 . 3 9 2 . 2 0 0 0 F O R I N F O R M AT I O N
15 • The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011
North Bergen now awaits the decision on a $927,742 state Green Acres grant application, which would be put toward construction. Once the funding is finally assembled, the two communities will create an interlocal agreement, accept bids for an architect and engineer, a plan will be developed, and construction could begin. Guttenberg is now considering putting its funds toward the architect and engineer while North Bergen seeks more grants.
The Hudson Reporter • PROGRESS REPORT • March 6, 2011 • 16
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Commercial & Residential Development in Hudson County