A rendering of phase one of SciTech Scity near the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, which includes a 400-unit residential phase known as Scholars Village — Courtesy: Liberty Science Center
By Joshua Burd
The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City has tapped a New York-based developer to build 400 apartments on an adjacent property, with plans to market the units to entrepreneurs, teachers, students and others as part of a sweeping innovation campus alongside the facility.
The museum and learning center announced Tuesday that Alpine Residential will spearhead what’s known as Scholars Village at SciTech Scity. According to a news release, the project will consist of two market-rate apartment buildings with ground-floor retail space and parking, rounding out a plan that also calls for research and commercial uses and a five-acre park.
“The Scholars Village residential housing is essential to making SciTech Scity a 24/7 community, and we engaged a first-rate developer,” said Paul Hoffman, the center’s CEO and president. “Alpine Residential shares our vision of invention and social impact and has deep knowledge of Jersey City. We are excited to be working with them, and look forward to getting started.”
The center, which opened in 1993, has sought to expand its footprint with the planned 30-acre campus, where it would foster science and technology companies and provide opportunities for students in those fields. The first phase of SciTech Scity would also include a Liberty Science Center High School for some 400 students, along with an eight-story facility known as Edge Works that will house research and development labs, offices and co-working areas for startups and entrepreneurs.
Plans also call for a state-of-the-art conference center and tech exhibition gallery, the news release said. Meantime, the campus would have a park with a similar goal of encouraging innovation, plus an events plaza for concerts, farmers markets, art exhibitions and food-truck festivals.
Alpine Residential will come to the project with past experience in the Jersey City market, including the development of 500 units in the nearby Morris Canal Redevelopment Area.
“We are extremely happy that LSC has chosen us as their residential developer at SciTech Scity, and we are honored that they have entrusted us with their vision and confidence to create Scholars Village,” said William Rosato of Alpine Residential, a venture of Alpine Real Estate Group and Beachwold Residential. “We are excited to start and look forward to working with LSC and expanding our work in Jersey City and the LSC neighborhood.”
LSC said Scholars Village will incorporate innovative systems and sustainable technologies, which may include storm water recycling, solar energy collection and storage and augmented and virtual reality leasing and interior design, among others. The center also cited examples such as composting integrated into trash removal, smart HVAC and heating systems with the ability for residents to monitor usage and electric vehicle charging stations.
Scholars Village will look to cater to entrepreneurs, teachers, students, families and individuals who are part of the SciTech Scity community, the news release said. Those residents will be given the opportunity to test new products and services developed by the startups at SciTech Scity and other corporate partners.
Construction of Scholars Village is slated to begin in early 2022, with completion set for mid-2024.
According to LSC, the selection of Alpine Residential follows recent local and county approvals for Liberty Science Center High School, a county-wide public magnet STEM academy that will be part of and operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology. LSC also announced private funding for special programs for middle-school students in Jersey City and Hudson County who want to attend the new high school but could use extra help getting their prerequisite skills up to the level needed for admission.