Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop has unveiled plans to build a science and technology campus that would include a school, labs, hotel and technology business incubator.
The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) officially designated Liberty Science Center as the master developer for 16-acres of city-owned land adjacent to Liberty Science Center to be called SciTech Scity.
The land that the city has committed to the project is valued at more than $20 million dollars.
“The City designating this land to Liberty Science Center is a major departure from past practices of selling property to private developers and instead speaks to the City’s commitment to growing Liberty Science Center as we create a world class city,” said Mayor Fulop.
SciTech Scity will include light manufacturing space, a coding lab, and a grade school with a STEM focus (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), as well as a science-themed hotel and residences for visiting scientists.
“This is a great project for both Jersey City and the State of New Jersey,” said Mayor Fulop. “It speaks to our commitment to the Science Center that we would take such a significant step designate them, and we now will assist in a projected $80 million dollar capital raise. The city taking this first step is significant financially and speaks to our commitment.”
It is hoped that the incubator model will attract scientists and entrepreneurs from around the world who will pioneer new technologies, creating new businesses that will build Jersey City’s sci-tech sector and generate thousands of construction and permanent jobs.
The Liberty Science Center will now begin the process of seeking corporate partners and will finalize the concept plan for the site.
The campus’ research facility, to be known as Edge Works, will be a 100,000 s/f hybrid technology-based maker space combining private studios and open co-working spaces with high-tech workshops for start-ups and emerging businesses.
SciTech Scity would also be an educational hub for the entire community with residents of all ages being able to utilize the leading-edge facilities, such as the coding lab to develop new apps or learn to write code.
According to Mayor Fulop, since he took office, nearly 9,000 jobs have been created and his administration has attracted new business sectors, including the clothing and media industries with both Nautica and Forbes Media relocating offices to Jersey City.
Jersey City is also making a faster unemployment recovery than all other New Jersey urban, with 50 percent faster job growth than New Jersey and 62 percent faster job growth than the nation as a whole, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics for the twelve months ending September 2014.
“The development of STEM fields is key to the continued prosperity of our country,” said Leonard J. Sciorra, Ph.D., professor of applied science and technology at Saint Peter’s University.
“The planned STEM project, located in this beautiful setting, in a state that has been a leader in the development of so many STEM breakthroughs, is a wonderful step in maintaining the country’s commitment to scientific innovation, education and entrepreneurism.
“The project will place Jersey City at center stage in the ongoing efforts to train scientists, promote new technologies and create new 21st century businesses to employ our citizens.”
Other major cities have launched similar sci-tech and education partnerships to increase entrepreneurship and job growth.
Cornell NYC Tech, a plan developed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is under construction on Roosevelt Island, through a partnership between Cornell University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
SciTech Scity is also planned to feature a science-themed hotel with 135 rooms and a visiting scholars residence for up to 275 scientists, entrepreneurs, and college students.
The project is expected to create approximately 2,526 construction jobs during its development, and once complete will create 594 permanent jobs.