Plan would put 3 towers next to Jersey City's Journal Square PATH

Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
on August 16, 2012 at 7:20 AM, updated August 16, 2012 at 2:20 PM

KRE Group's proposed Journal Square towers
Enlarge A rendering of the three towers Jersey City-based KRE Group wants to construct in Journal Square by the PATH station. KRE hopes to put a shovel in the ground by the end of 2013. Photo courtesy of KRE Group KRE Group's proposed Journal Square towers gallery (4 photos)

Journal Square could soon be home to Jersey City’s largest buildings, with the developers behind some Downtown developments hoping to break ground next year on three residential/office towers that could reach up to 75 stories and contain as many as 1,800 units.

Though members of the surrounding neighborhood are reportedly nervous about the size of the towers, developers KRE Group say they will be a dream for commuters because of a planned, direct connection to the PATH station.

“You wouldn’t even have to be exposed to the elements,” said KRE’s Jeff Persky last week in the group’s Marin Boulevard office, where there’s a model of the three towers.

The towers will be located just north of the public drop-off for the PATH station in the area of Magnolia and Summit avenues. The drop-off area will remain, and KRE is working with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to renovate that end of Magnolia to become a pedestrian plaza.

KRE will also renovate access to the PATH station on that side, replacing the current steps and ramps.

Persky said the group hopes to put a shovel in the ground by the end of 2013 on the first tower, which would contain 500 residential units along with retail on the ground floor. All three towers would likely house about 1,800 units total, he said.

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said the city is “looking forward” to the groundbreaking, noting that a project of this density makes sense for Journal Square, where PATH ridership is fourth-highest in the area.

“It will create much-needed construction and permanent jobs, as well as ratables, in an area that is poised for a renaissance,” Morrill said.

The project is just one of at least three possibly transformative developments planned for Journal Square. Washington, D.C.-based Multi-Employer Property Trust plans two towers for the lot just south of the PATH station a long-delayed project that city officials fear may never happen while developer Robinhood Plaza wants to construct a residential tower as high as 42 stories on a lot across Summit Avenue from the planned KRE towers.

A city official called that project “a pipe dream,” adding that the KRE plan is the city’s “best shot at jump-starting the Square.”

Local activist Althea Bernheim said the KRE plan is causing some “nervousness” in the neighborhood, but added that similar towers in Downtown have “created better neighborhoods.”