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Thread: New Mixed-Use Community in Bayonne

  1. #1
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    Default New Mixed-Use Community in Bayonne

    GlobeSt.com

    Last updated: July 27, 2006 02:27pm

    Developer Slates $500M Mixed-Use Neighborhood

    By Eric Peterson



    BAYONNE, NJ-The Kaplan Cos. has won “conditional developer” status from the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority for a proposed project that would transform a 76-acre waterfront site into a $500 million mixed-use mini-city. The action follows an earlier move by the city council to designate the 76-acre tract as an area in need of redevelopment.

    “The site has laid fallow for more than 10 years, generating only basic tax revenues,” says Nancy Kist, executive director of the BLRA. “Kaplan is proposing to add a significant ratable to the city’s tax base, creating a community that will be a great place to live and work.”

    Texaco has owned the site for nearly a century, and Kaplan officials say they have an agreement with the company, now known as ChevronTexaco, to buy the land pending final approvals for the project. The “conditional developer” designation calls for a six-month window for Kaplan and the BLRA to iron out a formal redeveloper’s agreement.

    And the approval process Kaplan faces includes environmental OKs from the New Jersey DEP and the US Army Corps of Engineers, site plan approval by the city planning board and water/sewer extension permits from the local utilities authority. A portion of the site, which wraps around the base of the Bayonne Bridge in the city’s Bergen Point section, needs environmental remediation, a process that Kaplan and ChevronTexaco say they have agreed to work on together.

    “We are pleased that ChevronTexaco wants to cooperate in the redevelopment of this site,” Kist says.

    The site plan, as outlined by Jason Kaplan, president of the Highland Park, NJ-based firm, calls for more than 1,300 residential units made up of stacked townhouses and multifamily condos and rentals in buildings ranging from five to seven stories. Also part of the proposal is 150,000 sf of retail space, 180,000 sf of offices, parking decks with a total of 4,200 spaces, a marina, public fishing pier and seven acres of parks.

    “One of the best amenities will be the waterfront walkway,” Kaplan says. “Since 1907, Texaco had closed this waterfront parcel off to the public. We are reclaiming it for the people of Bayonne.”

    And while the project has been characterized locally as a mini-city, the developer plans to, “create a grid of roadways that connect pre-existing streets in Bergen Point. It is important that this project be designed as a natural extension of the city, rather than as its own development,” Kaplan says. “The entire Bergen Point neighborhood is undergoing an incredible renaissance.”

    Also in the works as part of the city’s larger redevelopment plan for the area is a ferry stop for regional ferry services already in operation. And local officials say they anticipate that the existing Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system connecting neighboring Jersey City and Hoboken to be extended to the redevelopment area.

    Kaplan is also no stranger to Bayonne. The company is currently developing The Waterford at Bayonne, a 145-unit apartment complex near the ChevronTexaco site.

    Copyright © 2006 ALM Properties, Inc.

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    Perhaps a preview for their upcoming Bayonne project, here's a rendering of the Waterford development:


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    And while the project has been characterized locally as a mini-city, the developer plans to, “create a grid of roadways that connect pre-existing streets in Bergen Point. It is important that this project be designed as a natural extension of the city, rather than as its own development,” Kaplan says.
    Some developers have the desire and know how to do it right. Those developers often find they have to wrestle down the zoning with variances. Oddly, the zoning which is meant to protect the public from greedy devopers, then becomes the obstacle to virtuous development by enlightened developers. I'm working on a project now where that's the case.

    * * *

    Waterford development rendering is not inspiring.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Re: Waterford / Bayonne ...

    Here is a great example where there needs to be some flexibility in the zoning -- to the effect that where a certain amount of square footage is used in the ground-floor plate (or whatever that is technically called) that this would then allow for a certain percentage of the site (say 30%) to rise above the height restriction plateau. This should actually be encouraged via zoning regulations.

    A plateau of 7-story structures soon becomes monolithic as they are lined up side-by-side -- it is deadening to the eye -- and ultimately to the public spirit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    A plateau of 7-story structures soon becomes monolithic as they are lined up side-by-side -- it is deadening to the eye -- and ultimately to the public spirit.
    This is generally true in places like New Jersey.

    It's dramatically untrue in Paris for a multitude of reasons, mostly having to do with the size and urbanity of the whole. It generally fails to apply in such predominantly plateau cities as Paris, Budapest, Barcelona, Vienna, Buenos Aires and Washington. These are, of course, all big.

    It also fails to apply throughout Italy, where plenty of interest is provided by church towers and other monuments poking through the plateau of red-tile roofs.

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    The question is: will the development truly be mixed-use? We already know that age and scale of buildings will be identical in most cases, leaving little architectural diversity to provoke interest. But if there exist reasons to draw different people at different times of the day to the area, be it for work, services, or leisure, then it might be a planning success. I recently saw an example of this in Long Branch, New Jersey. During a Saturday evening a few weeks ago, there were tons of people on the sidewalks, waiting to get into new restaurants and shops, or just strolling on the boardwalk. Above the shops and restaurants, residents were hanging out on their balconies, admiring the lively scene below. It was almost picture-perfect, something right out of Jane Jacobs' Hudson Street, with one major drawback: everyone was getting there by car. The architecture was fairly standard throughout - a kind of New England beach-resort Victorian, except for some of the oceanfront restaurants. I only worry about how it'll hold up once the newness wears off, and colder weather arrives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    It was almost picture-perfect, something right out of Jane Jacobs' Hudson Street, with one major drawback: everyone was getting there by car. The architecture was fairly standard throughout - a kind of New England beach-resort Victorian, except for some of the oceanfront restaurants.
    Did it look like this?: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...light=birkdale

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    Not nearly on that scale, but it shares a lot of similarities. Here's a picture of, from what I remember, most of the northern half of the development:



    So from your perspective, and experience with these new "villages": is New Urbanism a good, bad, or just another form of planning?
    Last edited by pianoman11686; August 26th, 2006 at 05:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    ...is New Urbanism a good, bad, or just another form of planning?
    It's not perfect, but I'm all for it. It sprawls less, it gets people out of their cars for at least some of their errands and activities, it gets them used to seeing and liking places that look urban, and it loosens the grip of zoning's dead hand. (It's this that mandates Suburbia, which is enshrined in its dictates.)

    In some places you must do New Urbanism with a PUD designation; in some places, such as where Birkdale Village is located, it's been written into the zoning to replace Suburbia. If enough of these are built, the tipping point will be reached and we'll get genuine towns and cities returning.

    When built within the boundaries of cities, there's some chance they'll fuse into a continuous organism. That may happen in the next quarter century in some of Charlotte, parts of which once again resemble a city; and some of these parts are in process of being linked by a light rail line.

    It may seem iffy and Utopian, but the alternative carries with it the certainty of sprawl.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    The architecture was fairly standard throughout - a kind of New England beach-resort Victorian...
    Substandard, really. That seems one of the weaknesses of this approach; often the architecture just isn't good enough: flimsy cheap, paper thin and cartoony. And then --effrontery!!-- it's all topped off with repetition.

    In the USA, New Urbanism was launched at Seaside. This remains the best example because of the quality of the architecture. It helps that Krier was the guru there; he cannot abide shoddiness.

    For a really good example, see Poundbury: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3799
    Last edited by ablarc; August 26th, 2006 at 07:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Substandard, really. That seems one of the weaknesses of this approach; often the architecture just isn't good enough: flimsy cheap, paper thin and cartoony. And then --effrontery!!-- it's all topped off with repetition.
    Slavish imitation, especially when it's cheap, never comes off looking authentic. I never intended to imply that it was worthy of being some kind of standard; rather, it seems to have become the standard. As far as repetition is concerned: I'm with you 100%. In the example I provided, however, the effect isn't quite deadening because the development is relatively small, almost the size of a beach resort. I don't doubt that they were going for that effect from the onset.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    Slavish imitation, especially when it's cheap, never comes off looking authentic. I never intended to imply that it was worthy of being some kind of standard; rather, it seems to have become the standard. As far as repetition is concerned: I'm with you 100%. In the example I provided linkstar uk with the right stuff, however, the effect isn't quite deadening because the development is relatively small, almost the size of a beach resort. I don't doubt that they were going for that effect from the onset.

    lawl it was cool xD
    Last edited by akatsuki; November 11th, 2008 at 01:22 AM.

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