Massive Jersey City redevelopment plan takes first step forward

May 22, 2012 09:30AM

Jersey City has taken a crucial step towards the redevelopment of 100 acres of contaminated land on its western edge, according to the Wall Street Journal. NJ Transit began an environmental review of the plan last week, a precursor to extending the Light Rail to connect the region’s public transit to the area, known as Bayfront. An estimated $213 million extension of the Light Rail could help encourage developers to move forward with a plan to build 8,100 residential units, 1 million square feet of office space and 20 acres of park on the waterfront site.

The land is owned by technology and manufacturing company Honeywell International, which took it over after a merger in the late 1990s. But its contamination goes back to the late 1800s, when the area was filled by chromium waste from nearby plant owner Mutual Chemical Company, which made shipbuilding substances.

A retail complex opened on the site after the plant closed in 1954, but by the 1980s the stores’ walls began to crumble from the waste. The buildings were vacated and the land has been abandoned ever since.

In 2005, Jersey City sued Honeywell to recoup lost tax revenue and to get it to clean up the site, but settled upon developing the land together instead. Now they’re working together to prepare the site to sell to a developer to bring the plan to fruition. Construction wouldn’t start until at least 2016, and the project likely wouldn’t be complete for another 25 years. [WSJ]