Mayor Steven Fulop, with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) and other officials, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday for the 17.5-acre Berry Lane Park, located in the Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City. It is the both the city’s largest municipal park and the first new one in decades. The public park is the site of a former brownfield property bound by Garfield Avenue to the west, NJ Transit’s rail tracks to the south, and Woodward Street to the east. It features two basketball courts, two tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a soccer field, bike paths, and two plazas (one with a splash pad). Over 600 new trees have also been planted. The Department of Recreation is in charge of hosting community events and games in the park. The site once consisted of abandoned and underutilized industrial properties, although the city demolished many of the structures, then remediated and graded the land by 2014. Multiple concrete silos were preserved and utilized for the splash pond. Berry Lane Park is right across the street from NJ Transit’s Garfield Avenue Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station.
Earlier this week, the City Council voted to approve a rezoning proposal that would allow landlords of the commercial properties with public pedestrian arcades along Water Street, between Fulton and Whitehall streets in the Financial District, to convert the arcades into retail space in exchange for renovating adjacent public plazas. The total amount of space that could be converted spans 110,000 square feet across 20 buildings, DNAinfo reported. The rezoning requires retail conversions of greater than 7,500 square feet to be approved through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). It also limits the amount of street frontage chain banks and drugstores can take up, and requires the entire height of the arcade to be built out. Future renovations to the existing public plazas in the area could include new seating and planters, among other upgrades.
The city’s Parks Department is planning to move forward with transforming the vacant lot at 50-02 39th Avenue, located on the of 50th Street in Sunnyside, into a public park. The city recently designated $3 million to acquire the property from its owner, DBH Associates, DNAinfo reported. DBH acquired the plot in 2007 for $1.45 million and is open to selling the property. The owner attempted to built a two-story, eight-unit apartment building at the site, but the Landmarks Preservation Commission disapproved the plans in 2014. The site is located within the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, which means the design of the park (and its structural elements) will have to be approved by the LPC.
Back in March, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) officially approved plans to rebuild LaGuardia Airport, in East Elmhurst, in addition to incorporating a 24-hour ferry service and an AirTrain to help transport travelers. Now, LaGuardia Gateway Partners – comprised of Vantage Airport Group, Skanska, and Meridiam – has closed on a deal with the Port Authority to actually construct the project, and to operate the new 1.3-million-square-foot airport through 2050, according to Crain’s. Demolition is expected to begin within the next few months on the five-story parking garage in front of the Central Terminal building. The Central Terminal will be the first portion to be redeveloped and is expected to be complete by 2021, followed by Terminals C and D. The development team, which is putting up $1.8 billion of its own money, has already secured $2.5 billion in financing. The Port Authority is responsible for an additional $2.2 billion that will go towards infrastructure work.
Back in 2013, Kushner Companies, RFR Realty, and LIVWRK acquired, for $375 million from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the five-building, 1.25-million square-foot commercial complex at 55 and 81 Prospect Street, 117 Adams Street, 77 Sands Street, and 175 Pearl Street. The developers have since converted the collection of mid-rise buildings into offices and retail space, dubbed DUMBO Heights. The developers are now constructing a two-block-long public plaza along Sands Street between Adams and Jay streets, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plaza will extend the 15-foot-wide sidewalk by 15 feet. It will include public artwork, seating, and planters. La Fantástica is behind the design, and the Dumbo Improvement District is associated with the project. Current office tenants in the complex including WeWork Cos., Etsy Inc., Frog Design, Alexis Bittar Inc., and retail tenants include Randolph Beer, fitness center Shadowbox, Row House, Bluestone Lane Coffee, and Dig Inn. Roughly 350,000 square feet of commercial space remains vacant, according to Real Estate Weekly.