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Partners unveil plan for ‘super-cluster’ science community in Jersey City

New York developer Argent Ventures and the Canadian real estate investment trust, H&R REIT have unveiled their plan for a ‘super cluster’ development of life science space wrapped in a 13-acres campus of homes, shops, restaurants and parkland on the edge of the Hudson River in Jersey City.

The Cove JC will eventually feature 1.4 million square feet of lab/tech office and 1.6 million square feet of residences with parking, a waterfront park, event spaces and terraces.

Situated at the center of one of the world’s largest STEM concentrations with colleges and universities, hospitals, healthcare companies, tech firms, data companies, accelerators, maker spaces, pharmaceutical companies, finance firms and more, Governor Phil Murphy said the massive development will “reignite New Jersey’s innovation economy,” adding, “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.”

Mayor Steven M. Fulop added, “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.”

Land-use consultancy Dresdner Robin has already completed the first phase of environmental remediation at The Cove JC site, a designated Brownfield Development Area along Aetna Street and Jersey Avenue adjacent to Liberty State Park.

Environmental remediation of Phase One properties is now complete, at an estimated cost of $10 million. The next phase of activity includes a series of land-use permits that are expected to be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The next phase of the project will focus on infrastructure improvement design and permitting and will include site elevation that will protect from flooding and account for future sea level rise.

The campus will be developed in multiple phases and construction of the first two-tower, mixed-use project is expected to commence in 2022. The ground-up development is being designed by Ennead Architects. Nancy J Kelley + Associates is leading marketing and leasing for the property.

The first phase encompasses two academic/laboratory/teaching facilities and a commercial life science building totaling up to 833,899 s/f of space.  The first academic building will include seven floors comprised of a spectrum of life science and teaching uses, including laboratory/office space for companies at all stages of growth, a state-of-the-art digital conference center, a café, and core facilities designed for biomedical engineering, clinical drug discovery and other translational uses.  The commercial building will include laboratory and office space, as well as street-level retail.  The plan also calls for a publicly accessible 3.5-acre waterfront park linked to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.

The project’s second phase calls for two commercial laboratory/office buildings totaling 596,000 s/f  just north and east of Phase I. Residential construction will be a multiphase development as well.

“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, president & CEO, 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 Cove could be among the first regenerative state-of-the-art carbon neutral neighborhoods.   Planning has begun to explore the possibility of heating and cooling all buildings through combustion-free heat exchange technology that extracts energy from municipal wastewater.  Power could also be provided by solar or other renewable means.  Abundant public transportation, dedicated electric vehicle parking, bike lanes and storage will provide residents and workers full mobility and further contribute to the project’s aggressive carbon reduction goals.  All buildings will be designed to extremely high standards of sustainability and resiliency and will be WELL Building Standard certified.

“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.”

The start of development on the massive project comes months after New Jersey enacted a $14 billion tax incentive package aimed at helping new businesses and development projects in the state. The legislation includes a slew of programs to aid everything from early-stage companies to large corporate employers making location decisions.

Clay McPhail, vice president of acquisitions and asset management at Argent Ventures said The Cove JC the state’s new programs provide a purpose-designed sources of stimulus to promote the kind of robust economic activity The Cove is designed to support.

“We are very excited to realize this unequalled vision for a new 21st-century community,” said McPhail.  “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.”

All renderings courtesy of Ennead Architects
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