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  1. #16
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    Group mulls landmark status for lighthouse

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    The Bayonne Historic Preservation Commission is reaching out to the U.S. Coast Guard to get a briefing in support of possibly designating the Robbins Reef Lighthouse off the Bayonne coastline for local landmark status.

    The now-automated beacon, also known as the "Katie Walker" light for one of its former keepers, has already been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The existing lighthouse has been flashing its warning light since 1883 and has been automated since 1966.

    Commission spokesman Joseph Ryan said members at last Tuesday's meeting also planned to contact the city's Master Plan Steering Committee to press for amendments to the Master Plan that would provide for additional protection of the city's older Victorian-style homes.

    In other business, the commission welcomed new member, Priscilla Ege - a partner with Alice K. Lotosky in PealCollection, which offers historic tours - as the replacement for Eric Lobel, who resigned last month after moving to New York. Ege will serve a five-year term.

    RONALD LEIR


    Good to see Bayonne and Jersey City are both trying to protect the great venerable Victorian homes that grace both cities.

  2. #17
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    Cool More shopping alternatives

    BLRA approves builder's loan request

    Monday, April 02, 2007
    By RONALD LEIR
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    The developer of a highway shopping center on Bayonne's East Side may be tapping a state fund to help pay for part of the project's utility work.

    The Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority - which has control over the 29-acre redevelopment site on the east side of Route 440 between New Hook Road and East 22nd Street - voted last Thursday to apply to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust for a loan of more than $19 million for a stormwater management system for the Bayonne Crossing "power" center.

    But BLRA Executive Director Nancy Kist said the authority wouldn't be on the hook to repay the loan.

    "If the NJEIT were to grant the loan request, Cameron Bayonne LLC (the shopping center developer) would be responsible for paying the loan and interest, as well as any costs associated with the loan," Kist said.

    Kist said the loan would provide nearly $6 million to prepare the site, around $4 million to install the system and about $8 million for environmental controls. An additional $800,000 would go for administrative costs and about $1.7 million is built in for contingencies by state mandate, according to Cameron associate Eric Alderman.

    "We're hopeful of getting this money later this spring and, 60 days after that, we expect to commence active remediation, site preparation and then actual construction for a 2008 opening," Alderman added.

    Alderman estimated that between $30 and $40 million of the overall $100 to $125 million estimated development cost would go for environmental remediation and/or environmental-related construction. ExxonMobil has accepted the bulk of the responsibility for cleaning up the underground contaminants on the site, Alderman said.

    Cameron has signed leases with "several tenants," Alderman said, but declined to name them, except to say they are national retailers.

    City officials have projected the project will generate construction jobs, 800 permanent jobs, $1.2 million in taxes and $4 million in Urban Enterprise Zone sales tax proceeds.

  3. #18
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    Thumbs up Bayonne Protects It's Lighthouse

    Bayonne votes historic status for lighthouse

    Saturday, June 23, 2007
    By N. CLARK JUDD
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    While Wednesday's Bayonne City Council meeting was mostly focused on the future, council members began the evening with a link to the past.

    Following up on an April decision by the Bayonne Historic Preservation Commission, the council voted unanimously to designate the Robbins Reef Lighthouse - already on the National Register of Historic Places - a historic landmark.

    "This is a welcome addition to the history of Bayonne," Council President Vincent Lo Re said before casting the final vote.

    For another part of Bayonne's maritime past, the council approved modifications to the transportation plan for the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor that were suggested by the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority.

    BLRA transportation planner Sue Mack explained that the modifications would allow a developer to build one fewer city block in the Peninsula's loft district than the plan currently specifies. With one fewer block, Mack explained, the street configuration would allow for larger blocks and the preservation of some of the historic buildings on the site.

    For the third time in 10 years, the council authorized spending on engineering work as part of a build-up to fixing the roof of the public library. Councilman Anthony Chiappone suggested looking into the availability of grant money to make the library roof a solar roof, like the one at Bayonne High School.

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  5. #20
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    Question Containers or no containers

    Call to halt MOT's rebirth

    Saturday, June 30, 2007
    By RONALD LEIR
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    A local dock workers group wants the federal government to order a stop to all redevelopment work at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, alleging the city violated the terms of the October 2001 agreement that transferred the former Military Ocean Terminal to the city.

    The group, the "Working Waterfront Committee" of Bayonne Local 1588, International Longshoremen's Association, says the city - through the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority - reneged on a plan to build a container port which, it says, could have generated enough jobs to replace the 2,000 lost when the MOT closed in 1999.

    In a June 18 letter to U.S. Assistant Army Secretary Keith Eastin, the WWC, under the signatures of Local 1588 members Robert Dickey and Angelo Mack, asked the Army, as the federal agency that last occupied the MOT, to "immediately insist that the BLRA suspend all redevelopment activity until a full investigation of (BLRA) actions is made and until (the original plan for the former base) is firmly back on course."

    Mayor Joseph V. Doria Jr. called the allegations "baseless and factually deficient" and labeled the committee action "self-serving, inaccurate and misguided," and BLRA Executive Director Nancy Kist said the committee was making "unsupported accusations and insinuations of fraud to make their pitch for a container port."

    But local attorney Patrick Conaghan, who based his unsuccessful mayoral campaign last year on a pitch for a container port at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, as the area is now known, said the committee was "right on the money."

    "The ILA position is correct - a container port would be in the best interests of Bayonne," he said.

    Army officials did not respond to requests for comment.

    The letter says that in 2003 the BLRA asked for container port proposals for the area it designated as the Maritime District at the Peninsula from prospective operators, and subsequently got nine proposals, but ended up shelving them and changing its redevelopment plan to exclude a container port.

    Kist said the BLRA has honored its commitment to the feds to stimulate job growth at the former base.

    "As of October 2006, when our most recent tabulation was done, 900 jobs have been created from the cruise business, the drydock and our other tenants," she said.

    As for the container port, Kist said the BLRA did opt to place restrictions on the type of maritime uses that could be placed in the Maritime District - but for good reason.

    "You couldn't have a full-blown container port," Kist said.

    She cited the lack of a 50-foot channel, reinforced piers and the off-site infrastructure improvements - such as a widened Route 440 and upgrade NJ Turnpike 14A Interchange - that she said would be needed to support the operation.

    And, Kist said, even if the BLRA did endorse a container port, "it would take five years to make it happen - it's not just going to pop up."

  6. #21
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    Exclamation Bayonne's fate is the Army's hands

    U.S. Army to decide Bayonne's fiscal fate

    Monday, July 23, 2007
    By N. CLARK JUDD
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    The state could move to play a bigger role in how Bayonne handles its finances if the U.S. Army doesn't agree that "Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor," a one-time military terminal, is environmentally ready for residential housing, officials said.

    The issue has to do with $23 million the city had been counting on receiving from the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority to close a gap in its budget year that ended June 30.

    The BLRA, the agency overseeing development at the terminal, had been expecting to receive the money from Bayonne Bay Developers LLC and Trammel Crow Residential, the designated developers for the site.

    But the developers haven't forked over the money, according to the city's finance administrator, Terrence Malloy.

    The developers are waiting for the U.S. Army to sign off on a ruling by the state's Department of Environmental Protection that found that parts of the Peninsula originally deemed safe enough only for industrial use are suitable for residential construction as well, Malloy said.

    The Army is the "responsible party" for polluting the site, officials said. As the responsible party, the Army could be liable if residents on the property were to become ill, officials said.


    The deadline for reports to the state for fiscal year 2007, which ended June 30, is Aug. 10.

    If the money comes in before Aug. 10, the city would report a balanced budget to the state, Malloy said.

    But a delay beyond Aug. 10 raises several possibilities, according to Malloy.

    State officials could let Bayonne carry over a deficit for the second year in a row, Malloy explained. Or, he said, "The state could oversee any hiring within the city, any promotion within the city, essentially oversight on the expenditures within the community.

    "A lot of the things the state may very well look at we're right now in the process of doing," Malloy added, referring to a hiring freeze and a study that could result in layoffs later this summer.

    Tom Lederle, the U.S. Army branch chief responsible for overseeing the Peninsula, said the Army anticipates reaching a conclusion on the state's ruling "in the near future" - "weeks, not months." A spokesman for the state's Department of Community Affairs, declined to comment until DCA receives Bayonne's financial statements.

    For the past few years, the city and the BLRA have engaged in swapping money. The city would float bonds to raise money for capital improvements at the terminal, and the BLRA would return the equivalent amount to the city from fees paid by the developers.

    The arrangement has been advantageous to the city since the cash-strapped municipality can't use money raised from selling bonds to pay day-to-day expenses.

    Last year, the city wound up with a $25 million deficit after developer D.R. Horton pulled out of a partnership at the Peninsula with Trammel Crow Residential and the BLRA couldn't hold up its end of the deal until after the fiscal year ended. The state allowed the city to carry over the deficit into 2007, and eventually the BLRA found another developer.

  7. #22
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    Bayonne: Light Rail hikes values
    Thursday, August 16, 2007 By RONALD LEIR
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    NJ Transit's expansion of its Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit System to its southernmost point - Eighth Street in Bayonne - figures to be an engine for stimulating additional economic growth in the area, real estate and transit analysts say.
    "Anytime there's public transportation available, it's a plus for the city," said Jack Pineiro, a co-owner of Prudential McGeehan and Pineiro Realtors since 1982. "The Light Rail has definitely made an impact on property values."
    NJ Transit will be taking bids later this month for construction of the mile-long extension, from the 22nd Street Station to Eighth Street, and the new station. Work on the project is expected to begin next spring and finish sometime in 2009 at a cost projected at $89 million.
    Two businesses - a tire repair shop and a fast-food place - operate on the future station site and will have to relocate when NJ Transit acquires the properties from their landlord. But future residents of an adjacent tract once occupied by Pagano's IGA supermarket that's now targeted for a 74-unit apartment cluster should benefit from close access to the rail line.
    And there may be yet another station in mind to service other prospective developments in Bayonne's Bergen Point section.
    Jason Kaplan, president of the Kaplan Companies, which is building an 84-unit condominium complex at the southern end of Kennedy Boulevard, said he's "had some preliminary talks with NJ Transit" about possibly extending the line southward and that "while there's no money appropriated for that yet, they didn't seem opposed to the concept."
    Martin Robins, a senior policy fellow for Rutgers University's Voorhees Transportation Center who helped plan for the Light Rail when he was with NJ Transit's waterfront transportation office, said that in Hudson County, where the Light Rail track goes, new housing typically follows.
    "That's what we've been documenting all along the length of the Light Rail," Robins said. "We've been looking at a half dozen locations, from 49th Street in North Bergen, all the way into Bayonne, and we've found very substantial evidence of economic development - usually housing - following the Light Rail line," he said.
    For example, Robins said, the Light Rail stop at Ninth Street on Hoboken's west side had been a desolate area, but now "townhouses and small apartment buildings of five and six stories are going up all around there," with the rail station "integrated into the neighborhood."
    At 22nd Street and Avenue E in Bayonne, for example, a developer has paid $1.2 million for an 88-by 114-foot lot with a tavern on it with plans to build multifamily housing there. And just across Route 440 from the 34th Street Station sits the former Military Ocean Terminal, where hundreds of new apartments are slated for construction.
    With the creation of new zoning districts, such as Transit Development Overlay, "Bayonne is preparing itself, probably as well as any city I know of, for these economic changes, and Eighth Street will be another element of that," Robins said.

  8. #23
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Arrow More Port Activity For Jersey

    Car terminal likely in P.A. deal

    Thursday, September 20, 2007
    By JOE MALINCONICO
    NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE

    After 10 years of trying to buy land on the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has reached an agreement with city officials.

    But the tentative $50 million deal for about 126 acres, which is scheduled for approval today, comes with a critical provision - the Port Authority cannot use the land to build a new cargo container terminal.

    Officials say the Port Authority, which owns about 3,000 acres in and around the harbor, most likely will put a terminal for handling car shipments on the site.


    Statistics for the first half of 2007 show the Port of New York and New Jersey is booming, whether measured by car shipments (an increase of 8.7 percent compared to 2006) or cargo containers (up 7.7 percent over 2006).

    That restriction against building a container port - included at Bayonne's insistence - has riled longshoremen who say a container terminal would produce more and better paying jobs than would other port operations. It has also drawn criticism from some port interest groups who see the old military base as the ideal location to handle large shipments of cargo.

    "I feel very betrayed that our politicians are not working along with our local to generate quality jobs," said Anthony Falcicchio, president of Bayonne Local 1588, International Longshoreman's Association. "We are losing work to areas like Virginia and Georgia. I can't figure it out.

    "The Ontario (Canada) Teachers Pension Fund is investing in our industry (by acquiring Global Terminal and another container facility in Staten Island) so if people from outside our area can see an opportunity for profit, why can't our own city?"

    Instead, Falcicchio said, Bayonne seems focused on encouraging development of "luxury housing" at the former MOT and a nearby private golf course for millionaires.

    "These are intended for people outside the area - not Bayonne residents," he said.

    Bayonne officials say the noise and traffic from a container port would interfere with the city's plans to develop housing and commercial space on the peninsula that juts into New York Harbor. Moreover, they argue, the area could not handle the heavy truck traffic that a container terminal would generate.

    "If you've tried to get in or out of Bayonne at rush hour, you know it's a disaster," said Nancy Kist, executive director of the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority. "That's now, without any new development."

    Bayonne's contracts with two developers who are planning to build homes on other portions of the 430-acre peninsula include commitments from the city to exclude a container terminal from the site.

    "It's obvious why Bayonne has made that stipulation," said Tom Wright, executive director of the Regional Plan Association, an independent planning group. "As long as the Port Authority still feels the site has value, then it sounds like a good compromise."

    The Port Authority's board is scheduled to vote on the purchase at its meeting this afternoon, while Bayonne's redevelopment board will vote in the evening.

    Jersey Journal staff writer Ronald Leir contributed to this report.

  9. #24

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    As many time as Ive been to Bayonne I had never noticed the seaport.

  10. #25
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    It's Port Jersey it's in Jersey City. The Peninsula is Bayonne next to 34th st Lightrail

  11. #26
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    Thumbs down PANYNJ Fouled Up

    Car terminal deal tripped by law

    Friday, October 05, 2007
    By N. CLARK JUDD
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    Just as the deal for a car import terminal in Bayonne rolled into the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority's plans, it will have to roll right out of them again, city officials confirmed yesterday.

    City Council President Vincent Lo Re Jr., who is also a BLRA commissioner, admitted the BLRA was not in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act when it gave notice of the special Sept. 20 meeting where the $50 million deal with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was approved.

    "I've been informed by legal counsel that there was a technical defect in the legal notice of the Open Public Meetings Act, and I'm considering all my options to make sure that the city receives the best offer for the maritime district," Lo Re said.

    The admission appears to come as the result of legal pressure from Councilman Anthony Chiappone and Local 1588 of the International Longshoremen's Association.

    Chiappone and the ILA's general counsel, Louis Nikolaidis, of New York-based Lewis, Clifton & Nikolaidis, P.C., sent separate letters to the BLRA stating that the meeting failed to comply with state public notice requirements for public meetings.

    ILA officials and others claim that the BLRA jumped at the Port Authority offer and passed up more lucrative deals that would have also brought Bayonne more jobs. Worldwide Group, a port operator, bettered the Port Authority offer by $25 million.

    City Law Director John Coffey II admitted that Chiappone and the ILA are correct, because the BLRA only placed a legal notice about the meeting in The Jersey Journal. By law, the legal notice should have been placed in more than one newspaper.

    The Port Authority deal has sparked so much controversy that Chiappone has taken the first steps to do away with the BLRA.

    Chiappone says he is still pushing for the BLRA's demise and is demanding Coffey answer other legal questions about the contract. Coffey is also the BLRA's general counsel.

    "This type of violation of the law is just one more reason why the BLRA should be dissolved," Chiappone said. But, he added, if the BLRA gave the council veto power over money decisions, he would back down.

    The next BLRA meeting is Thursday, but it couldn't be determined if the Port Authority deal would be reintroduced. BLRA Executive Director Nancy Kist could not be reached for comment.

  12. #27
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    Thumbs up Another joins the rebel forces....

    Rifle maker moving to Bayonne and says it plans to hire locally

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007
    By RONALD LEIR
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    A New York classic rifle company aims to make a new home on this side of the Hudson River.

    The Henry Repeating Arms Co. plans to move its Brooklyn-based manufacturing operations to Bayonne by this spring, company president Anthony Imperato said yesterday.

    And Imperato is hoping to tap the city's employee base to help make the 96-year-old company's vintage rifle, which made its debut during the Civil War. Today, the company sells its product to distributors who, in turn, sell to retailers nationwide.

    "Bayonne is the Brooklyn equivalent of New Jersey, in my mind at least," Imperato said.

    No retail sales will be done at the Bayonne location, he said.

    As its future home, Imperato said, the company bought a warehouse at 59 E. First St., the old Good Times Video building, which fronts on Lexington Avenue between East Second Street and the Kill Van Kull, near Brady's Dock.

    Imperato said the building has one tenant, a distribution business, on whose future he declined to elaborate, but he did say that Henry Repeating Arms plans to renovate 109,000 square feet of space to accommodate its manufacturing operation.

    In February, Henry won a $344,250 New Jersey Business Employment Incentive Program grant from the state Economic Development Authority, based on its promise to create 90 new jobs in the state, EDA spokeswoman Erin Gold said.

    Eventually, Imperato said that Henry hopes to employ as many as 150 at its Bayonne site.

    Yesterday, NJbiz.com reported - and Imperato confirmed - that Henry paid $8.5 million for the Bayonne property and will spend $3 million on renovations and $1.5 million for new equipment.

    City Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Michael O'Connor said that "we worked with EDA trying to find an appropriate location for them."

  13. #28

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    Farewell, 157 Tickets to Middle Class
    Dith Pran/The New York Times
    LATEST CASUALTY The AGC Chemicals plant, a fixture of Bayonne for more than 40 years, will close Dec. 31. By KEVIN COYNE

    Published: October 21, 2007
    Bayonne

    In the Region

    Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey
    Go to Complete Coverage »

    THE meeting was called for 7 in the morning, right at the start of the day shift at AGC Chemicals Americas, and when everybody at the sprawling plant filed into the warehouse they heard the news that nobody expected — that the future they all were counting on was gone.
    Gone: 157 jobs with mortgage-paying wages. Gone: a plant that has been a fixture for more than 40 years amid the tank farms and pipelines, the smokestacks and steel girders, the railroad tracks and lumbering trucks of Constable Hook, the storied industrial peninsula where John D. Rockefeller’s giant Standard Oil refinery once reigned. Gone: one more manufacturer from a state that does much more of its work in offices than factories these days.
    And gone: a workplace where fathers worked alongside sons and brothers alongside brothers for decades, just minutes away from their homes, in jobs they expected to retire from.
    “You could hear a dime drop, absolute silence,” said one longtime worker who, like several others, requested anonymity when discussing the closure, because the company had asked employees not to talk to reporters. “It’s like a funeral, no exaggeration. Every day, every department, the same way. It’s somber just talking about it — ‘What are you going to do?’ ‘I don’t know, what are you going to do?’ ”
    New Jersey has been bleeding manufacturing jobs for decades — from a peak of 892,500 in 1969 to 317,900 now — but the decline in many industries was gradual enough that workers could spot the end looming in the distance. At AGC, it was swift and unexpected, the dagger of global competition.
    “The company made every effort trying to make the business survive, but when you’re in a single-product business, it’s hard,” another longtime worker said, citing the millions spent in recent years on an expansion project that still isn’t finished. Then he slipped reluctantly into the past tense. “It was a really nice place to work.”
    The product is something that you don’t buy in a store but that you encounter without knowing every day: chemicals known as fluoropolymers, which are used in everything from brake pads to electrical cables to frying pans. And fluoropolymers, it turns out, can be manufactured much more cheaply in China and Russia, where wages are low and environmental regulations lax. Company officials didn’t respond to requests for comment, but a prepared statement cited “poor market conditions and changing market structure.” AGC is a subsidiary of Asahi Glass Group of Japan.
    “It’s gone from being a premium chemical to a commodity, and on that basis, even though AGC spent a significant amount of money upgrading the facility, they were unable to compete,” said Michael O’Connor, executive director of the Bayonne Economic Development Corporation. “It was definitely a shock.”
    Sanford R. Oxfeld — a Newark labor lawyer who has represented the union at the plant, the independent Bayonne Chemical Workers Union, for more than 25 years — was expecting to begin negotiations on a new contract soon for the 89 members, but instead has been working on the severance package. “This is heartbreaking,” said Mr. Oxfeld, who also represents scores of other unions. “This is my favorite client. They’re the way unions were, the way I think unions should be. They weren’t interested in endorsing anybody for president. They wanted to make a good living and aspire to the middle class.”
    And that’s where their jobs put them, with a wage scale that topped out at $28 an hour, and plentiful overtime available. Many managers at the company are union members who worked their way up.
    “You definitely got treated well,” said another worker, who also veered uncertainly between past and present. “It’s a very, very friendly place. It really was a great atmosphere.”
    The AGC plant sits within view of Route 440, adjacent to a redevelopment site where, as part of Bayonne’s continuing transformation of its industrial waterfront, construction is scheduled to begin soon on a 400,000-square-foot big-box shopping center. About a third of the 30-acre site belonged to AGC, land the company wasn’t using but was initially reluctant to sell.
    “We move from a production society to a consumption society,” said Joseph J. Seneca, an economics professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. The transformation of the land, he said, is “a good icon of it.”
    The names of the stores expected to open at the shopping center are scheduled to be announced this fall. “Instead of having really nicely paid manufacturing jobs,” Mr. Oxfeld said, “there’s now going to be a bunch of strip malls, and you’re going to have people getting paid one-third the salary these guys are getting paid.”
    The plant is still running around the clock, as it always has, turning out chemicals whose price has been undercut by other plants far from Bayonne. The shutdown is planned for Dec. 31, when the chill that has only now entered the air surely will have deepened.
    “There’s not much left, especially in New Jersey,” another worker said. “These jobs that you could support an entire family on, they’re just disappearing. It’s a different world now.”
    E-mail: jersey@nytimes.com

  14. #29
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    Thumbs down Bad news for Bayonne

    This is a shame, so many people depend on that comapny. Another 157 jobs outsouced to countries far away. Now to be replaced by a shopping center.

    Light rail bus service a casualty

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007
    By RONALD LEIR
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    Bayonne's municipal layoffs will force the city to cancel the free bus service linking downtown residents to the 22nd Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station, Interim Mayor Terrence Malloy said.

    "The drivers are being laid off, so the New Jersey Transit shuttle vehicle will no longer be available to transport people from Fourth Street, North Street and Avenue A to the station," Malloy said.

    NJ Transit had donated one of its vehicles to the city to use for the program and the city is giving that vehicle to Hudson County's Transcend Program, which is taking over the city's senior medical transports under a $100,000 contract with the city. The same drivers being let go by Bayonne were also assigned to handle senior transports.

    Discontinuation notices are being distributed to the shuttle passengers. The shuttle's last run will be Nov. 9, when the layoffs take effect.

    It operates Monday to Friday, running northbound only from 6 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.; and southbound only from 4 to 7:20 p.m., at 20-minute intervals.

  15. #30
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    Thumbs up New condos in Bayonne

    Uptown condos cleared to rise

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007
    By RONALD LEIR
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

    An uptown Bayonne residential development will be breaking ground soon, a city official said yesterday.

    Michael O'Connor, executive director of the Bayonne Economic Development Corp., said that Baker Residential, of Pleasantville, N.Y., is looking to begin the first phase of its long-planned Hudson Bay Club project, between the Hi-Hat restaurant/catering hall site at 54th Street off Kennedy Boulevard and Newark Bay, shortly after New Year's.

    O'Connor and City Planner John Fussa said in separate interviews that the state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a "No Further Action" letter affirming that a soil cleanup of chromate wastes on part of the development site performed earlier this year by a Honeywell contractor is complete, clearing the way for the residential project.

    Baker representative Rob Holmes said the company is prepared to go forward with the infrastructure for the first phase of its five-tower, four story, elevator-equipped, 158-unit for-sale condominium project, having obtained city building permits.

    In a press release, Baker sales director Brett Tinney said that "pre-construction sales" for a combination of one- , two-and three-bedroom condominiums, with 27 different floor plans, are expected to open "early next year."

    Tinney said that one-bedroom units will be tentatively priced "from the upper-$200,000s" and that two-and three-bedroom homes will be "priced from the mid-$300,000s."

    Amenities planned include underground parking, an outdoor pool, fitness center, clubhouse, elegant lobby and concierge service, Tinney said.

    Baker previously developed the 144-unit Boatworks townhomes in Bergen Point and the Bay Harbor Club, a 30-unit apartment building in the midtown area.

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