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Kaplan Companies to redevelop Bayonne waterfront.

The Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority (BLRA) has designated Kaplan Companies as the "conditional developer" to build a $500 million neighborhood on the long-vacant Texaco waterfront site, located in the city's Bergen Point section.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to redevelop this property," said Bayonne Mayor Joseph Doria. "We look forward to the completion of this project."

Kaplan Companies will work with Chevron Texaco to remediate portions of the 76-acre parcel that wraps under the base of the Bayonne Bridge at Avenue A and First Street. The plan calls for the development of 1,310 housing units comprising stacked townhouses, multi-family condominiums and multifamily rentals in buildings between five- and seven-stories tall.

The homes will be ideal for young commuters, as the waterfront at the southern tip of Bayonne would become a strategic stop for regional ferry services now in operation. In addition, it is anticipated that the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail--connecting Jersey City and Hoboken--will extend to the redevelopment area.

"The Texaco site has laid fallow for more than 10 years, generating basic tax revenues to the city," said Nancy Kist, executive director of the BLRA. "Kaplan Companies is proposing to add significant ratable to the city's tax base, creating a community that will be a great place to live and work in Bayonne."

The new neighborhood will also be ideal for local senior citizens who no longer need to live in single-family homes and appreciate the vibrancy of a mixed-use, waterfront community.

The plan also calls for 150,000 s/ff of retail space and 180,000 s/f of office space. In addition, Kaplan Companies plans to construct parking decks with a total of 4,200 spaces, a 116-slip marina, a public fishing pier and seven acres of park space, featuring ball fields and tennis courts.

"One of the best amenities of this project will be the public riverfront walkway, featuring decorative lighting and benches," said Jason Kaplan, president of Kaplan Companies. "Since 1907, Texaco had closed this waterfront parcel off to the public. Through our redevelopment plan, we are reclaiming it on behalf of the citizens of Bayonne."

To undertake such an aggressive plan, Kaplan said, the company will have to create a grid of roadways that connect with the pre-existing streets in Bergen Point. He noted it is important this project be designed as a natural extension of the city, rather than as its own development.

"The entire Bergen Point neighborhood is undergoing an incredible renaissance," Kaplan said. "We are pleased that we can play a leading role."

Kaplan said the project has been designed to serve as a national example of New Urbanism--in which older, industrial parcels are converted into thriving, mixed-use communities for people of all ages. In following New Urbanism principles, Kaplan said, the housing units will wrap around parking decks, concealing the structures. Residential garages will also be accessed by alleys to keep cars off the streets and in front of homes.

Kaplan Companies must still finalize the redevelopment agreement with the city, and will likely have its application heard by the Bayonne Planning Board next spring. Prior to construction, the company must obtain environmental clearance from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"Kaplan Companies has been interested in the site for quite a long time and selected by Chevron Texaco for this redevelopment project," Kist said. "We are pleased the property owner wants to cooperate in the redevelopment of this site and has requested that Kaplan be named the redeveloper. Kaplan Companies has shown through its record of success on other projects that it can handle a project of this magnitude."
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 2, 2006
Words:601
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