A rendering of The Cove JC, a planned 3 million-square-foot, mixed-use campus in Jersey City that will be dedicated to life sciences, technology and medicine — Courtesy: Argent Ventures
By Joshua Burd
A joint venture is detailing plans for a 3 million-square-foot, mixed-use campus in Jersey City that it says will be a hub for life sciences, technology and medicine just outside Manhattan.
Argent Ventures and H&R REIT say the project, known as The Cove JC, will span 13 acres with 1.4 million square feet of lab and technology office space and a 1.6 million-square-foot residential component. Slated for a property along the New Jersey Turnpike extension, at Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue, the development would revitalize a former brownfield site, while tapping into the growing demand for commercial space serving high-growth, innovative industries.
Groundbreaking for the multiphase project is slated for next year, starting with two academic, laboratory and teaching facilities and a commercial life science building totaling up to 833,899 square feet.
“The Cove epitomizes our commitment to reigniting New Jersey’s innovation economy as a global leader in technology and life sciences,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “With the most educated workforce in the country and unmatched location, New Jersey is uniquely positioned to innovate and build the companies of the future.”
Argent Ventures said the project, with a location along the New Jersey Turnpike, will benefit from connectivity to the largest concentration of biomedical engineers and scientists in the world. The first building will include seven floors geared toward life science and teaching uses, including laboratory and office space for companies at all stages of growth, a modern digital conference center and a convergence café, the firm said, along with core facilities designed for biomedical engineering, clinical drug discovery and other translational uses.
Meantime, the commercial building will include laboratory and office space, as well as street-level retail, according to a news release. The plan also calls for a publicly accessible 3.5-acre waterfront park linked to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.
“We are very excited to realize this unequalled vision for a new 21st-century community,” said Clay McPhail, vice president of acquisitions and asset management at Argent Ventures. “The Cove has the scale to be truly transformative not only economically, but also ecologically. The views are phenomenal and the location at the crux of downtown Jersey City and Liberty State Park just can’t be matched. It’s going to be a great place to work and live.”
The project’s second phase calls for two commercial laboratory and office buildings totaling 596,000 square feet just north and east of the first phase, the news release said. Construction on the residential portion, which was not detailed this week, will also occur in multiple phases.
The project team includes Ennead Architects and Nancy J Kelley + Associates, which leads leading marketing and leasing for the property, along with land use consultancy Dresdner Robin.
“The Cove is a unique, singular and unrivalled opportunity to develop a destination hub for life sciences/tech with access to local resources and connectivity to both New York’s major academic institutions and New Jersey’s pharmaceutical companies,” said Nancy J. Kelley, CEO and president of Nancy J Kelley + Associates. “As a ground-up development, it will offer the very latest in space requirements for the life sciences industry, focused on flexibility, collaboration and efficiency. And it will offer an environment unique in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area that is particularly attractive to the younger, highly skilled employees that life science/tech companies need, at lower rental rates and with great incentives.”
The developers say they will emphasize open space and recreation as much as they will modern workspaces and residential options. Tucked between downtown Jersey City and Liberty State Park, the site would provide easy access to green space, retail and restaurants, along with connectivity to the region’s network of highways, rail, ferries and airports.
“We have worked to establish Jersey City as a sought-after destination for innovation, science and technology, igniting an untapped economic engine that is attracting jobs and countless other opportunities for our community,” Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop said. “The Cove is an exciting addition to Jersey City on this front, and, coupled with neighboring SciTech Scity, will further strengthen Jersey City and the entire State of New Jersey as a leader in scientific and technological innovation.”
Dresdner Robin is spearheading the remediation of what started as a polluted industrial site. The developers noted that combined sewer storm water will be diverted from the harbor, stored and treated, while a restored wetland habitat with full public access and an eco-education loop will connect to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.
Additionally, the joint venture is exploring the possibility of heating and cooling all buildings through combustion-free heat exchange technology that extracts energy from municipal wastewater, the news release said. The firms also cited their potential use of renewable energy sources and plans to design “to extremely high standards of sustainability and resiliency.”
“The Cove will be a transformational next generation mixed-use environment, an interconnected smart city hub where live, work and play all take place within a 15-minute walking radius,” said Peter Schubert, partner at Ennead Architects. “Designed as a holistic approach to urban living, outside spaces and terraces are integrated throughout all programs, as are a variety of amenities, including a wellness and business research center.”