New Jersey Future, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on the promotion of responsible land use policies, has named the Military Park renovation in Newark and 18 Park in Jersey City as two of its 2015 Smart Growth honorees. Gibbons P.C. played a significant role in both of these projects. The awards were given out on Thursday, June 4 at the annual awards gala.
Military Park, a historic, but long neglected 6-acre park in downtown Newark, was selected for revitalization in 2013. The park is home to major sculptures, including ‘Wars of the Americas’ by Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore. Under the guidance of Dan Biederman and Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, best known for Manhattan’s Bryant Park, the Military Park Partnership was formed by the City of Newark, Prudential and the MCJ Amelior Foundation, to bring Military Park to life with a new restaurant, restrooms, beautiful gardens, and free daily programming activities for all age groups, including outdoor concerts, movies, and games. The Military Park Partnership is currently managing the redesign, construction, and ongoing maintenance of the park. Gibbons participated in this successful effort at the behest of MCJ Amelior Foundation and drafted the redevelopment and partnership formation documents as well as the necessary leases and easements, as a pro bono service to the Newark community of which it has been a part since 1924.
Gibbons served as lead real estate counsel in another of NJ Future’s Annual Awardees, the 18 Park project, located in Jersey City. 18 Park, a joint venture of Ironstate Development and KRE Group, received honors for its new, mixed-use building featuring retail, community space, a charter school and residences. Significant among its tenants is the Boys and Girls Club, now relocated from its outdated home in a coal bunker. 18 Park offers the Boys and Girls Club and its other occupants a premier location in the Liberty Harbor North redevelopment area, an 80 acre area formerly consisting primarily of abandoned lots and surface parking. Located near the water, downtown and several transit stops, 18 Park is the first building completed in this redevelopment area, and will become a community anchor in this new neighborhood with a use mixture that also includes a charter high school for health sciences; state-of-the-art tech facilities for teen-agers including music recording and graphic arts equipment, retail and cafe space; and more than 400 residences.
New Jersey Future promotes responsible land-use policies through original research, analysis and advocacy to build coalitions and drive land-use policies. Its goal is to help revitalize cities and towns, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods, and fuel a prosperous economy. Its annual Redevelopment Forum draws more than 500 participants to share innovative ideas, learn best practices, and network. Since 2002, it has honored more than 95 projects with its annual Smart Growth Awards. Winners are selected from a statewide public nomination process by an independent jury of professional developers, architects, planners, and redevelopment experts. The complete list of 2015 winners as well the independent judges is available by clicking here.