(Bayonne) The Bayonne City Council recently approved a request by the Administration of Mayor Mark Smith to authorize a redevelopment study of the southern portion of a city block bounded by East 21st Street, Broadway and Library Court. The redevelopment study is a pre-cursor to designating the area as “an area in need of redevelopment” which would permit the city to use all available redevelopment tools to spur redevelopment of the area. Included in the study area is a vacant parcel of land that was the site of a proposed movie theater but has been a vacant construction site for many years.
Mayor Smith said the city’s earlier designation of property on Broadway between 23rd and 24th Street has attracted the interest of several qualified developers who are looking to make major investments in the Broadway Shopping area. Ultimately, the Rendina Companies of Jupiter, Florida was selected to be the conditional re-developer of that parcel but the other developers remain interested in other sites.
Mayor Smith describes his approach to Broadway redevelopment as a Block-by-Block strategy that will see sections of the avenue redeveloped quickly. “Long vacant properties are the obvious first target,” said Mayor Smith, ‘in the case at hand on East 21st street I think everyone will agree that we’ve all looked at that hole in the ground for far too long. Now that the economy has turned, it’s time we got something going there.” The Mayor said the city would like to work with current property owners to get projects under way but he said his administration will not allow property owners to warehouse vacant and substandard properties. “The days of the people of Bayonne waiting for things to happen are over”, said Smith, “Now that the economy is improving, we’re going to push the envelope and make things happen.”
The redevelopment process begins with the city council authorizing a redevelopment study. During the study, the city’s planning professionals will meet with the property owners and engage them in a conversation about what can be done to redevelop the property. If the study determines that the area is indeed “an area in need of redevelopment” and the city council agrees, the area in question will benefit from the state’s redevelopment tools. The city would seek to work with current property owners and interested developers to craft a project that the community benefits from and more that project from concept through to actual completion. “The goal,” Mayor Smith said,” is to revitalize our shopping district, create new jobs and tax ratables and incentivize d