A New York developer is promising yet another tower for Journal Square in Jersey City, an estimated $400 million project that could contain a hotel, offices or housing units and ground-floor retail.
Dubbed HAP Tower, this is the fourth major project slated for the heart of Jersey City, an area that, if all the promised projects are built, will see a dramatic change in its skyline as a result. Journal Square hasn’t seen major development in decades.
The new project, one that could rise as high as 42 stories and contain 1 million square feet of space, would sit on Summit Avenue just east of the PATH station and south of a proposed three-tower residential development courtesy of Jonathan Kushner. Three other towers have been proposed for the site of the old Jersey Journal headquarters and the vacant lot across the street.
The HAP Tower property is now a parking lot at 500 Summit Ave. The previous owner, Robinhood Plaza, had an agreement with the city to build a 42-story tower on the lot in exchange for a developer-financed park between Summit and Baldwin avenues.
The agreement came after Robinhood sued the city in 2010, saying the city’s plan for the area included “no development potential.”
Eran Polack, the developer, said he’s making his first foray into New Jersey because of the lot’s proximity to the PATH station.
“PATH is very nice transportation,” he said. “It’s very efficient, it’s very fast.”
His firm is in contract to purchase the 80,000-square-foot lot for $28 million. Preliminary design should take about a year, so “it will take some time” for construction to begin, Polack said.
Developers are taking a new interest in Journal Square, and that’s precisely the aim of Mayor Steve Fulop, who last year implemented new rules for long-term tax abatements that offer longer tax breaks for buildings in the Journal Square area and less lucrative deals for Downtown developments. Kushner won a 30-year abatement for his three-tower project.
Rich Boggiano, who represents Journal Square on the City Council, opposed the Robinhood deal and remains opposed now that Polack is involved.
“Over my dead body they’ll put a 42-story tower there,” Boggiano said. “This is going to directly impact people’s houses and backyards.”
The councilman isn’t swayed by promises of a park, saying the proposed location is “half the size of the City Council chambers.”
Polack declined to respond to Boggiano’s comments.