From the Star Ledger:
A $170 million plan that city officials say will give them more control over the redevelopment of a formerly contaminated swath of waterfront land cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday when the City Council gave the plan its approval.
The council voted 7-2 to authorize the city to borrow $170 million, enter into an agreement with the autonomous Jersey City Redevelopment Agency to partner on the project and approve of the city’s plan to purchase some of the land from Honeywell. The site is known as Bayfront.
The city’s plan is the latest for the property, a formerly contaminated 100-acre site that sits west of Route 440 and is owned by the city and Honeywell. The city intends to buy Honeywell’s portion, pay for infrastructure improvements and slowly sell portions of it to real-estate developers to pay off the debt.
The final vote was not a surprising one, with the six allies of Mayor Steve Fulop — Rolando Lavarro, Joyce Watterman, Daniel Rivera, Denise Ridley, Mira Prinz-Arey and Jermaine Robinson — joining James Solomon in favor. Council members Rich Boggiano and Michael Yun voted no.
Boggiano cited fears that the city would botch the project, citing the 11 years it took the city to build a police station in the west district.
“Mark my words, I will be right. This will be a fiasco with the City of Jersey City running it,” he said.
Yun expressed concern about the amount of borrowing. This year’s budget shows the city has $574 million in outstanding bonds, up from $499 million in 2015. In that time, the city’s net debt per capita has decreased from $1,947 to $1,596.
The initial plan for Bayfront was for Honeywell to sell the property once it was remediated of chromium. That sale is expected to occur later this year.
In May, Fulop announced this new plan, which he said would allow the city to dramatically increase the share of affordable housing at Bayfront, which could have as many as 8,000 residential units. Fulop said by doling out the parcels in pieces and acting as a “master developer,” the city could push for a share of affordable housing as high as 35 percent. The old plan had the one-site share at 5 percent.