An aerial view of a redevelopment site at Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue in Jersey City — Courtesy: Dresdner Robin
By Joshua Burd
Land use consultancy Dresdner Robin has completed the first phase of environmental remediation at the site of what will be a mixed-use, two-tower development in Jersey City.
The firm, which is based in the city, said the project known as The Cove is slated to break ground in 2022. Plans call for a campus along Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue featuring residential, retail and life sciences laboratory components, but Dresdner Robin noted that the 18-acre site requires a complex set of environmental, civil engineering, surveying and planning services that it’s providing on behalf of Argent Ventures and H&R REIT.
The site currently consists of vacant brownfields and is bisected by a tidal ditch that receives a combined sewer outfall.
“This is not a typical redevelopment project,” said Douglas Neumann, director of environmental services at Dresdner Robin. “As a matter of fact, there is nothing typical about this project. It is without question the most complicated remedial project that I have been involved with.”
Located adjacent to Liberty State Park, the site is one of the largest development parcels near downtown Jersey City, Dresdner Robin said. The firm noted that it has remained closely involved with the property for more than a decade, adding that it will require significant public infrastructure improvements that will pave the way for construction.
Its team has completed the first phase of the environmental remediation at an estimated cost of $10 million, according to a news release. The next phase of activity includes a series of land use permits tied to infrastructure improvement design and permitting that it expects to submit to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Dresdner Robin also detailed plans to design a large subsurface overflow storage chamber to help prevent the area’s combined sewer system from being overwhelmed in rainstorms, the news release said. The chamber will be used to temporarily store discharges during significant precipitation events, which will then be pumped back into the system for treatment.
Currently, discharges end up in the nearby marina basin and eventually the Hudson River.
“The sewer improvements are a crucial early component to The Cove and its eventual completion,” said Chris Collins, project manager at Dresdner Robin. “This type of storage is an effective mitigation method employed by other large cities and municipalities across the country — from New York City to Boston to Washington, D.C. It will be the first of its kind in Jersey City and will provide significant water quality benefits to the surrounding waterways.”
Additional plans call for a 10- to 12-foot site elevation, as recommended by resiliency studies commissioned by Jersey City, to make way for a new public park and roadways in an alignment shown to reduce flooding and accounting for future sea level rise, the firm said. The centerpiece of the planned two-acre park is an ecologically restored tidal salt marsh with public access, which will create a scenic and functional gateway to Liberty State Park.
The Dresdner Robin consulting team is working on the project in tandem with Argent, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency and the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority.