The Real Deal New York

Developers see big money in Lady Liberty’s park. But here’s why their plans haven’t panned out

The state hasn’t ruled out private development
August 16, 2018 10:30AM

(Credit: iStock)

Against the backdrop of Lady Liberty, developers want to build attractions for the rich.

Liberty State Park’s 1,212 acres are allotted for public use — but companies have pitched ideas to attract high-end crowds, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, Jersey City’s Sam Pesin, who led the park’s creation, is pushing for a law to keep the space off limits.

In light of New Jersey’s financial burden — including unmet pension obligations — the state in 2015 said the park was ripe for “revenue-producing activity” from long-term leases. Over the years, developers have sought the space for projects like theme parks, a strip mall, luxury housing, an amphitheater and a hotel, the report said.

New Governor Phil Murphy said he hasn’t ruled out private development at the park.

Liberty National Golf Club, on the outskirts of the park, applied last year to expand into the park’s Caven Point wildlife area. In May, state environmental officials nixed the plan — and rejected another developer’s plan for mega-yacht docks that opponents dubbed “the millionaire’s marina.”

Another plan, for a Formula One racetrack — plus a 100,000-seat grandstand and fields for international cricket matches — would be mostly on private land. But it needs about 20 public acres for views that compete with Monaco’s Grand Prix, the report said. In exchange, it would clean up about 200 park acres that are contaminated. Still, the proposal is seen as a long shot.

“I don’t see any sort of avenue where I could support this,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. “You have people from all over the world who aspire to come and see that view. Ultimately what you’re talking about is capitalizing on that view financially.” [Bloomberg] — Meenal Vamburkar