REVISED PLAN FOR SQUARE
Taller towers, fountain stays
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
The Jersey City Planning Board will consider tonight an amended site plan that would make the two-tower, mixed-used development proposed for the old Hotel on the Square block in Journal Square even taller.
The revised plan - which modifies a proposal the board approved in January - adds residential units to the development, while it cuts retail space; particularly the retail space that was planned to go underground.
The revised plan boosts the number of rental units from 1,503 to 1,615 and slashes retail space from 156,196 square feet to 70,385. It also bumps up the height of the north tower from 65 stories to 68 stories and the height of the south tower from 45 stories to 50, according to documents submitted to the city. The higher tower will now soar 667 feet, about 8 feet lower than the maximum height allowed, city officials said.
Tonight's Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., 30 Montgomery St., 14th floor. Lowell Harwood, one of the development partners in the project, yesterday said plans to build a below-ground retail level were scratched due to a "problem with hard rock."
"It would be too expensive to remove," Harwood said. "It would have added a lot (of cost)." Harwood is the principal of Harwood Properties, based in Jersey City. Harwood predicted breaking ground within six months.
The previous design called for relocating and reconstructing the Journal Square fountain. According to the new plan, the fountain will remain in place and receive upgraded filtration and mechanical equipment.
This $400 million venture is being self-financed by its majority partner: the Multi-Employer Property Trust, based in Bethesda, Md., a national real estate equity fund that invests union pension funds.
During the summer, administration officials rejected the terms of a 30-year tax abatement sought by the developer. Eugene Paolino, the developer's attorney, said yesterday he plans to submit an amended tax abatement application "shortly."