Last week, the Jersey City Council cast 7 of its 9 votes in favor of an ordinance to amend the redevelopment plan encompassing University Place. The amended plan now provides for a mixed-use development comprising multi-family residential, retail, education and performing arts on Block 4. Moreover, the amended plan for Block 4 now provides for high-rise structures to allow our proposed 11-story residential tower.
This approval represents a major step forward toward the closing of the developer’s construction financing and the Foundation’s forward bond sale. This approval surmounts the most difficult hurdle in this process. Below are some of the critical points relative to this initiative:
The development of the cutting-edge Center for Music, Dance and Theater (“CMDT”) for instruction and learning in the performing arts at NJCU and the adjacent, world-class Performing Arts Center (“PAC”), is fully consistent with the University’s Strategic Plan as well as the Foundation’s mission to support the University.
The University has a dire need for these new facilities in order to preserve its leadership position in performing arts education among state universities and other competitors and indeed to significantly grow enrollment in these programs.
The world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School has an agreement in place to partner with NJCU and thereby to move its operations from New York City to NJCU at these proposed new facilities and, in partnership with NJCU, to offer all students an NJCU degree, i.e., a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, and a Joffrey certificate. This joint program will be the first of its kind in the history of public education.
These new, world-class facilities combined with the Joffrey’s residence at NJCU will significantly add to the prestige of the University’s performing arts curriculum while contributing to a boost in NJCU’s enrollment in the performing arts from its present 200 students to more than 500 students.
The Block 4 Development is comprised of five (5) components:
a. Center for Music Dance and Theatre (“CMDT”)
This component is a cutting edge, two-story, 52,305 square-foot academic building comprising: classrooms, practice studios, teaching studios, music and dance rehearsal spaces, faculty offices, student lounges and common areas.
b. Performing Arts Center (“PAC”)
This component is a world-class, 25,437 square-foot theatrical showplace comprising: a 492-seat theatre, complete with orchestra pit and fly stage, a 100-seat recital hall, two large dance studios for both rehearsal and performances with exterior glass walls looking out to a large public plaza, performers’ dressing rooms, scenery fabrication shop and storage, grand lobby and special event space.
c. Restaurant Row
This component comprises 12,068 square feet, divided into three separate restaurant spaces, one of which is adjacent and open to the PAC grand lobby, to provide food service and catering for performances and special events.
d. Luxury Rental Apartments
This component is a 320-unit, eleven-story, 244,787 square-foot luxury rental apartment complex comprising studio units, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and recreation deck, other amenities, and available parking on an adjacent parking deck.
e. Parking Deck
This component is a 123-space, second-story, 38,449 square-foot parking deck.
Groundbreaking for the Performing Arts Center is slated for early spring of 2020, and the project is expected to be completed by 2022.