The branding power of rail-line parks in New York has exceeded expectations — with the High Line attracting millions of visitors every year and the nascent Low Line receiving a bevy of community funds. Not so in Jersey City.
A deal to transform a stretch of derelict Pennsylvania Railroad tracks into a copycat High Line has been stalled by concerns that so-called “clouded titles” may invalidate developments along the line — concerns that preservation groups are calling obstructionist delay tactics.
The proposed Jersey City park, known as the Sixth Street Embankment, has been a source of contention between the city and developer Steve Hyman for years. In 2003, Hyman purchased the Embankment for $3 million from Conrail, planning to demolish the structure to make way for new housing construction in the gentrifying area near the Grove Street PATH station. An ongoing legal battle between Hyman and the city has ensued.
Hyman filed papers in court Thursday against the city — claiming that the park would cloud the rights to his properties and make it difficult to build on, or transfer, the real estate. But according to Craig Ingber, a real estate attorney at the Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, the case has little merit. While public utilities can cloud titles of adjacent properties, the park is unlikely to bear any serious ramifications, according to Ingber.
“It sounds like everyone is trying to use what they can of leverage to force a solution,” Ingber said. [WSJ] — Christopher Cameron