By Joshua Burd
Officials in Perth Amboy are hoping to sharpen their focus on three key redevelopment areas in the city, touting their access to mass transit and the region’s vast highway network.
Chief among them is a 54-acre site just south of Smith Street at the Route 35 Victory Bridge, according to the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency. Long known as the Gateway parcel, the property sits on the water near the Cornucopia Cruise Line and is a 10-minute walk from the city’s NJ Transit station, while it’s steps from the planned Borinqueneer Park and what will be an extended riverfront walkway and park.
“A key reason for the enormous interest in Perth Amboy is our unparalleled transportation infrastructure,” PARA Chairman Joel Rosa said. “The city has a NJ Transit train stop at the heart of the downtown, a beautiful marina for boat travelers, public transportation that can take you anywhere throughout the state and major highways that pass through the region.”
The site is among three that PARA hopes to advance in 2023, the agency said, noting some initiatives build upon older plans that have been discussed for years, while others have been brought forth by developers eager to take advantage of what Perth Amboy offers as a waterfront urban core. It did not provide specifics on any plans to solicit proposals, but said the Gateway property is ideal for affordable housing, jobs and social empowerment, citing analysis from Dean Marchetto, founding principal of Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects.
PARA also highlighted the potential to create a transit village at the Perth Amboy train station, in part by redeveloping many vacant and city-owned parcels on the blocks between Market Street and New Brunswick Avenue and between the NJ Transit line and Maple Street. The city noted that NJ Transit is earmarking nearly $50 million to overhaul the station, which was built in 1927, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and now serving nearly 900 commuters each weekday.
“The goal is to build density on the four blocks between Market Street and New Brunswick Avenue, replacing low-rise buildings that are currently not taking advantage of the strategic proximity of the train station,” the agency wrote. “PARA is also eager to introduce entertainment and culture into the downtown mix, creating a more vibrant outdoor environment into the evening hours.”
Elsewhere, at 599 Fayette St., the city hopes to redevelop the former site of a municipal landfill that closed in 1974. Officials touted the 20-acre parcel as being ideal for office space, homes and commercial and retail opportunities, noting that it provides easy access to Smith Street and nearby highways.
Prospective developers would have to cap the landfill as a so-called final remedy, manage any soil gas and comply with all other state environmental regulations as conditions, the city said.
“It’s often been said that the future belongs to those who can visualize it,” PARA Vice Chairman Daniel Gonzalez said. “At PARA, we believe the redevelopment projects under consideration are our generation’s shining opportunity to create lasting amenities for Perth Amboy, further catalysts for redevelopment and investment throughout our city.”