Back in 2014, YIMBY sat down with the Mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, to discuss the latest happenings across the Hudson. The city’s skyline has been continuously changing since then, and YIMBY revisited similar topics once more in an interview with the Mayor this week.
YIMBY in bold.
Jersey City’s skyline is bustling with cranes; looking to the near future when is the next phase of URBY breaking ground and are there any other big projects moving forward under the radar?
It’s hard to keep those big projects under the radar but there are conversations right now regarding the second tower for URBY. We’re starting to see the China Construction project on the waterfront (99 Hudson Street) really start to get some height on it. In Journal Square, we saw demolition this past week for the second tower next to the first KRE one, so that site is getting prepped. The Boys & Girls Club site is moving forward. There’s lots of activity and we see no signs of it stopping.
With plans for 99 Hudson and One Journal Square vying for the state’s tallest, in 25 years, will Jersey City or Journal Square be the epicenter for business?
I think that when you look forward 25 years, Journal Square is going to reclaim the title of being the heart of the city from a business standpoint. It used to be, many years ago, and obviously we’ve seen a surge of development and businesses moving to the waterfront. But when you look to the plans in Journal Square, its transportation infrastructure, it just kind of makes sense. The plans for arts and culture, between the Loews Theatre, and the Museum building that we are acquiring — you just logically come to the conclusion that Journal Square is going to be the heart of the city again.
Speaking of One Journal Square, do you have any updates on progress? And how about the Jersey Journal building’s redevelopment?
We haven’t seen anything come through at the planning department so everything on that front has been reported on.
With the current administration’s enthusiasm for EB-5, do you think Jersey City will see an increase in opportunities for foreign and local investors to work alongside one another?
It’s hard to tell how that’s going to change, and whether they are enthusiastic or not. My understanding is that the EB-5 program has been supported by President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, President Bush, etcetera. The city doesn’t see the capital deck in that type of detail to know whether a project will or won’t need EB-5 financing. We look at the viability and some of the finances, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you how changes in Washington will directly impact Jersey City.
What has been your biggest learning lesson in urban planning and development since taking office, and how has that changed your approach?
I always thought that the Port Authority would be more responsive with regards to transportation, and that has been a challenge. I think with the change in administration in Trenton, that will provide better resources in the future on the transportation front. But that’s a challenge, and a need, and a priority. I would say it’s an area of government where there have been a lot of lessons learned.
Finally, with New York’s transit crisis also spiraling out of control, what advice would you give DeBlasio, if any?
I’m not getting involved in New York City politics — in our corner of the world over here, we’re working with the Port Authority right now in extending the platforms and the train signals. They say we’re going to be able to get 30% more capacity, so we have enough to focus on over here.