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Thread: Elizabeth Becomes Transit Village

  1. #1
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Jersey City

    Default Elizabeth Becomes Transit Village

    Article from the Star-Ledger about Newark's neighboring sister city to the south ELizabeth become a transit village. I expect to hear more coming out of Elizabeth in the coming years. Currently Elizabeth is New Jersey's fourth largest city behind Newark, Jersey City, and Paterson.

    Elizabeth becomes a 'transit village'
    Growth is promoted near train stations

    Saturday, February 10, 2007
    Star-Ledger Staff

    Roughly 8,000 people pass through Elizabeth's midtown train station every day, transit officials say, making the station one of New Jersey's busiest mass transit hubs.

    But the city has long struggled with finding a way to keep those business commuters and college students shopping and eating in midtown once the day is done.

    Three years ago, an upscale cafe opened inside the station, and just last month, the city launched the state's first municipal wireless net work in the surrounding area.

    Today, Elizabeth will take another step toward midtown revitalization when Gov. Jon Corzine designates the area as the site of the state's newest transit village, an 8-year-old program designed to promote redevelopment and growth around the state's mass transit stations.

    Since the transit village program's inception, 17 designated municipalities have become eligible for state grants, coordinated planning assistance and fast-track approvals for construction projects. Their locations range from Jersey City's bustling Journal Square to the area around Netcong's train station in sleepy Sussex County. In Union County, both Rahway and Cranford have transit villages in development.

    The designation comes with an initial $100,000 grant for planning assistance, said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Erin Phalon.

    In Elizabeth, officials hope the designation will serve as a lure for developers and a catalyst to reinvi gorate midtown redevelopment plans that have languished on the city drawing board since the mid- 1980s.

    Though the transit village designation will not immediately set any one project into motion, Director of Planning and Community Development Oscar Ocasio said plans are being drawn up for close to 700 new housing units and 70,000 square feet of retail and office space in the immediate train station vicinity. In addition, Union County College is moving forward with a new 120,000-square-foot building that should be completed over the next two years, Ocasio said.

    With the transit village designation, Ocasio said the city also will likely be soliciting new ideas from developers and working to generate interest in other compo nents of the midtown plan. In its application for inclusion in the program, the city estimated that transit village development could produce up to 1,200 new jobs.

    "The transit village is a tool with financial investments from the state that we can use to market this site for development," said Mayor Chris Bollwage. "What we're hoping to do is create an atmosphere in midtown -- with the Thursday concerts in the plaza and restaurant in the station -- that will attract the college students and some of the train personnel to possibly make that a destination when they come home."

    Jonathan Casiano covers Elizabeth. He may be reached at (908) 527-4012 or

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran West Hudson's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Jersey City/Harrison, NJ


    There is some huge new project under construction immediately southwest of the Elizabeth train station....I wonder if this is the Union County College building? Whatever it is, it almost looks like it will be pretty huge.

  3. #3


    I live down the block in a high-rise. I have not seen construction of that proportion being done in Elizabeth in a long while. Hopefully these are signs of things to come.

  4. #4
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Jersey City

    Cool Elizabeth Rising?!?!


    Sunday, February 03, 2008
    Star-Ledger Staff

    Standing amid the reeds behind Jersey Gardens Mall, Dil Hoda peers out over Newark Bay, the arch of the Goethals Bridge in front of him, a hulking cargo ship docked a stone's throw away at Port Elizabeth.

    But his attention is fixed on a small patch of smooth sand below him, where the bay's gentle tide laps against an assortment of washed-up trash.

    "There's actually a beach here, you know?" he says, before gazing wistfully back over the bay. "We want to see people kayaking on this."

    Sunday afternoon kayakers mingling with cargo ships is just one example of what Hoda -- the managing member of Tern Landing Development -- sees when he strolls these 30 acres of capped landfill in the heart of New Jersey's industrial corridor.

    He also sees a small city of glass towers -- 14 in all -- rising from the former city dump. He envisions, too, a ferry carting commuters across the bay, up the Kill Van Kull and into Lower Manhattan. And a nearly mile-long wooden promenade hugging the bay's shore, with a marina for recreational boats. Then there's the hotel and charter school surrounded by restaurants and shop. He sees thousands of new residents on this isolated spit of land where not so much as a shack stands today.

    In all, Tern Landing plans to spend as much as $2 billion over the next 12 years to bring the success of New Jersey's Hudson River waterfront south to Newark Bay.

    "I don't know why people have discounted Newark Bay," Hoda said. "This is waterfront property in metropolitan New York."

    For Elizabeth, Hoda's vision is the city's best chance yet to complete the redevelopment project started over a decade ago with the construction of Jersey Gardens.

    The city had always planned further development around the outlet mall, including a commuter ferry to New York, said Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage.

    But aside from a handful of hotels and restaurants, those plans fizzled after the mall's opening in 1999. An office park proposal fell apart when the market for office space tanked. A $10 million federal grant for ferry terminal construction languished and eventually dried up. The "Elizabeth ferry" became a phantom project, a campaign speech staple that never materialized.

    That ferry has undergone a lot of near deaths," said Martin Robins, a senior policy fellow at Rutgers University's Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center. "It's been declared a 'go' project many, many times, and it hasn't ever come to pass."

    Then, about three years ago, Hoda set his eyes on the site. A civil engineer with 30 years in real estate development, Hoda was looking for something on the water, and had a vague vision of an "airport city" similar to one he had worked on in Saudi Arabia.

    With Newark Liberty International Airport on one side and Newark Bay on the other, the Elizabeth property fit both criteria. He envisioned Turnpike commuters bailing off the highway at Interchange 13A and taking a ferry the rest of the way. On the reverse, he pictured New York shoppers hopping the ferry west to the mall.

    "This site has attributes that no other site on the entire Eastern Seaboard has," he said.

    In June 2006, he plunked down $31.5 million for the property and began mocking up plans for a development big and dense enough to cover the prohibitive costs of building on a garbage pit. He named the project Celadon, a shade of green alluding to the project's environmentally-friendly design.

    Last June, the Union County Improvement Authority agreed to issue up to $19.5 million in bonds to build the ferry terminal and promenade. Final site plan approval was granted by Elizabeth's planning board in December. An all-important waterfront development permit was issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection last month.

    According to the agreement, the UCIA will hire the professionals to design and build the terminal and negotiate a contract with a private ferry operator. In turn, Tern Landing will guarantee the bonds and pay back the debt through proceeds from the ferry and associated parking. As the terminal is built, Tern Landing will begin constructing temporary retail space and its first tower.

    If all goes well, Hoda said, he expects terminal construction to begin by late spring.

    Still, after all the false starts, there is skepticism. Robins, whose research has centered on transit-oriented development, said that in today's sagging real estate market, transportation links are even more vital than location and he wonders if an untested ferry is enough to make Celadon viable. On the other hand, he said, without something like Celadon bringing people to the bay it is difficult to see the ferry taking off.

    "It is a chicken and egg situation," he said. "If you tie together transportation investment and economic development you may get a kind of synergy, and it can work, but this particular case is one of the more challenging ones."

    Officials are also tempering their enthusiasm. Jonathan Williams, general counsel for the UCIA, declined to attach a start date to the project, but said the ferry seems to have finally overcome many of the past decade's obstacles.

    "The project seems more viable and much more doable than it ever has," Williams said.

    Bollwage, meanwhile, was so initially skeptical about the proposal he sent someone to the county registrar's office to see if Tern Landing had really bought the property. Now, with discussions moving from site plans to tax agreements and financing, he's cautiously optimistic.

    "We've worked collectively with the developer and in-house to come up with a vision for what the waterfront near the mall will look like," he said. "If all the stars line up, this could happen."

    Jonathan Casiano may be reached at (908) 527-4012 or

  5. #5


    Some more pics.

    Here are the renderings of the proposed ferry.

  6. #6
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton

    Thumbs down It looks horrible.

    Way too dense.

  7. #7


    ^I have to agree, and not to mention...all those buildings kind of seem characterless (I guess function beats form on this one)

    But...I guess anything's better than a landfill on a waterfront so I do hope they build something

  8. #8


    I guess the ferry must come first. Hopefull it'll usher new things for the area.

  9. #9
    membro sênior giselehaslice's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Gramado, Rio G. do Sul


    It is very dense, but I think that it is DRAMATICALLY better then a brownfield landfill. Hopfully this gets built =)

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by giselehaslice View Post
    It is very dense, but I think that it is DRAMATICALLY better then a brownfield landfill. Hopfully this gets built =)
    Although I'm happy to see land used in such a way, I've a concern regarding the brownfields. Concerning these, the condos off 440 in Jersey City, and whatever is going to be on the site of the Westinghouse Plant in Newark, how safe are these sites? Is there any chance of chemicals leeching into the water or soil?

  11. #11
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Jersey City


    They cap them with an industrial thick plastic layer deep down then put clean soil and top and build underground conrete walls aound the contaminated soil. It sounds pretty stong.

  12. #12
    membro sênior giselehaslice's Avatar
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    Gramado, Rio G. do Sul


    their is a website for the project:

  13. #13

    Thumbs up

    ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY Redevelopment Project - 300 to 450 Units, Mix Use Development

    The City of Elizabeth NJ has selected the George Group to head up the redevelopment of its downtown area. The city has always been an industrial town but the downtown’s proximity to Manhattan via rail makes Elizabeth a jewel for the commuter who spends over an hour in each direction to get home. The George Group controls a 1.9 acre piece of property directly across the street from the rail station that will whisk the commuter to Manhattan in 22 minutes. The 400 unit, mixed use project, will give the commuter all the amenities of country living, but in the city. Swimming pool, shopping, tennis courts, restaurants, even covered parking, are just some of the benefits in this project for the commuter.

    Midtown Elizabeth Redevelopment

    City of Elizabeth, NJ

    As part of an urban design and land use planning team, SSC is providing traffic engineering services for the master plan and design guidelines phase of the Midtown Redevelopment Project in Elizabeth, NJ. The redevelopment program includes 1200 units of new housing and corresponding office and retail uses focused in and around NJ Transit’s Elizabeth Station. SSC is conducting analyses of the traffic impacts and parking requirements of this proposed program. SSC will estimate trip generation, modal Split and parking demand for the various phases and land use components of the plan. We are evaluating alternative circulation schemes and recommending roadway geometries for safe and convenient access for pedestrians, bikes and vehicles.

  14. #14

    Default Hoda interview

    Both this and the Harrison Project should have been Newark. Perhaps Newark is too far up the bay to make the ferry feasible. It still will be real cool to see this project go up.

    Last updated: February 19, 2008 10:27am

    The Story Behind an Ambitious Plan to Develop Elizabeth’s Waterfront…


    As reported by, the Elizabeth waterfront is about to be the site of a major mixed-use development. RENJ recently spoke to Dil Hoda, manager of the Hoboken-based Tern Landing Development, LLC about his plans and hopes for the site and for the City of Elizabeth.

    RENJ: Jersey City and Hoboken have experienced major renaissances in the past few years. Why hasn’t Elizabeth had a similar resurgence?

    Hoda: I think it’s a combination of things. For one, the ferry was not there. The ferry is being done as part of our project, whereas in Hoboken and Jersey City it already existed. This is waterfront property in metropolitan New York, and in my opinion this is probably a better location than Hoboken or Jersey City. The Turnpike and Newark Liberty International Airport are only minutes away. Those are resources Hoboken and Jersey City don’t have. With the ferry there, making a trip to the city only takes about 30 minutes, and suddenly Elizabeth will start to become just as competitive as our project moves forward. Our project will kick-start development along the waterfront in Elizabeth.

    RENJ: Why wasn’t the property developed earlier?

    Hoda: There were other projects proposed, but none went through. An office complex was proposed, but the office market was not there in North Jersey, so the buildings weren’t built. Subsequently, there were proposals to build low-density, low-rise residential, but that didn’t make any economic sense because when you’re developing on a landfill, there are a lot of extra costs involved. For that, you need high density.

    RENJ: What’s your vision for the finished project?

    Hoda: There are two projects going on simultaneously. There is a real estate project, and then there is another project that has to do with environmental awareness and cleansing the bay. The real estate project, Celadon, which we anticipate will take about 12 years, has been positioned as an airport city. Eventually, we hope there will be either a light rail or a monorail connection to the airport, and meanwhile we’ll be running shuttle buses to the airport. In addition, we will have an on-site connection to Manhattan through the ferry.

    If I were to define it, I would say that Celadon is a culturally anchored, transit-oriented, sustainable mixed-use development. Culturally anchored because it will have studios and spaces for artists and arts-related businesses. There’s also a proposed school that will be centered around environmental issues because we have the bay, we have the wetlands there. The school will be totally integrated into its surroundings that way. As far as the project being sustainable, of course the transportation hub is there. We are also making adaptable reuse of the landfill. There’ll be systems in the buildings to make them more environmentally friendly—for example, geothermal systems. Also, all our roofs except for the towers will be green roofs, and we’ll be harvesting rainwater. And it’s mixed use—we’d like people to live, work and play within Celadon so they’re less dependent on cars.
    This is a demonstration project for the US Green Buildings Council—it’s a pilot project for a LEED neighborhood. This is a new designation for an entire neighborhood that is LEED certified.

    RENJ: Green building and environmental awareness are very central to your company, isn’t it?

    Hoda: That is correct. It’s not just in the real estate aspects of the project. We are bringing people to the water. Right now, there is no access to the waterfront where we are proposing to build all this, and we’ll be building a promenade, an access road, a pier that goes substantially out into the bay and kayak launching pads, so we’ll be bringing people to the bay so they can use it as the recreational resource it is. And the more people that come there, become aware of Newark Bay and demand that it get cleaned—that helps our project and it helps the bay.

    This is what I would call 21st century development, where environmental elements are not only important to us as developers but to our end users and society at large. We want to leave the site we work with better than we found it. There’s another term for this is “generational justice.” We want to leave the planet better than we found it.

    RENJ: What attracted you to the green building movement?

    Hoda: I have an engineering background and one of the first things I got involved in coming out of engineering school were waste treatment plants. That was almost 30 years ago, and everything I’ve done either from a construction or development viewpoint has had some environmental aspects to it.

    RENJ: With the economy and the real estate market the way they are do you have any concerns about embarking on such a large project?

    Hoda: Yes and no. The good news is, the project is spread out over 12 years, so in all likelihood we’ll have one or two recessions in between. That’s the nature of the economic and real estate cycle that we would go through. Mixed-use developments tend to navigate real estate and economic cycles much better than projects that are all one product type.

    What concerns me is that credit is tighter these days because lending institutions are very careful. The good part is the supply of product has come down, so if a project is well designed and has the right support, which we believe our project does, we are in a very competitive position. And our phasing has also been designed to take that into account. We’re starting off with the transportation, leading into retail, leading into the hotel. Markets for those spaces exist and are doing well now. After they’re complete, we’ll move into rental residential, which is relatively strong, and by the time we finish that, hopefully the for-sale market will pick up. If it does, we have the flexibility to move quickly and do for-sale housing. We don’t intend to do this in the near future, but we are in a position if the market turns.

    RENJ: In 20 years, if all goes well and Celadon is completed as you’ve imagined it, what will Elizabeth be like?

    Hoda: I believe this would become one of the hottest waterfront locations in the metro area. As far as location, there is no comparable site on the entire Eastern seaboard in terms of public transportation, road, ferry and international air connections right next to a part of the most important metro area in the country. This is a phenomenal site. Going forward, we hope to connect our waterfront walkway with Elizabeth River Park, which will connect into the national trail system, so you could take a ferry from Manhattan into our project and walk almost the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from New Hampshire to beyond the Blue Mountains. That’s what I’d like to see in 20 years. Somebody has to think it through and push it in a certain direction. We’ll do our piece and hopefully others will do their pieces and it will all get connected.

  15. #15

    Default Elizabeth Named One of America's Greenest Cities

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