Transformative Perth Amboy project will bring thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue

BridgePort II will bring 2 industrial warehouses to 73-acre site that once was in need of massive remediation

Let’s get straight to some of the uber-impressive numbers associated with BridgePort II, Bridge Industrial’s more than 1 million-square-foot, high-capacity storage and distribution center, located on a remediated 73-acre waterfront site in Perth Amboy, which had its groundbreaking Thursday morning.

  • Jobs: The project is expected to hire 500 for construction and create approximately 1,500 permanent jobs upon completion;
  • Taxes: The project is expected to generate $2.9 million in gross taxes to the city;
  • Area improvements: The project is committing $1 million to the city’s open space trust fund and $500,000 for off-site improvements.

Not bad for a site that needed extensive remediation when it was purchased out of bankruptcy in 2009.

“For years, we have been working with the state and the developer to turn this brownfield into a tax-generating amenity that can benefit our city,” Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin Caba said.

Joel Rosa, administrative analyst, city of Perth Amboy, talks about the BridgePort II project at its ground-breaking ceremony Thursday.

“Today, I salute the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency for its doggedness in ensuring this project happens. BridgePort II will serve as a shining example of major brownfield redevelopment that other cities will emulate.”

The project, at 1160 State St., marks the latest partnership between the city and Bridge Industrial of Parsippany.

Two industrial warehouses are to be constructed; one comprises 243,600 square feet, the other will be 800,000 square feet. Construction is slated for completion by the second quarter of next year.

Located on the banks of the Arthur Kill, BridgePort II is being heralded for its strategic location near Interstate 95 and the Outerbridge Crossing, as well as for the significant effort to remediate such a large swath of industrial property.

The project sits on the former Act 2 site, requiring heavy site cleanup and ground improvements. To make the land buildable, Bridge needed to create the full site infrastructure, with multiple retaining walls and ample parking for vehicles and trailers. Also required is the installation of a 12-inch water line stretching nearly a mile through nearby public roads. Bridge also will install a long sidewalk on the east side of High Street, connecting to the Harbortown residential neighborhood.

The care of the land isn’t over.

In working with Bridge, PARA Executive Director Tashilee Vazquez said, it was important for the redevelopment project to be environmentally sensitive.

To that end, Bridge is building rain gardens, separating the combined sewers to prevent untreated sewage from being released into the Arthur Kill, as well as the commitments to the city’s open space trust fund.

In addition, the warehouses will be constructed with roofs that can accommodate solar panels.

Jeff Milanaik, a partner at Bridge Industrial, said the company is eager to work with the city, noting that Bridge already constructed “BridgePort I,” a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution park, with three buildings.

“Our ongoing partnership with the city resulted in a seamless approvals process,” he said. “We look forward to working alongside Mayor Caba and the city to bolster the local economy, showcase the region’s talented workforce and create new job opportunities.”

In order to ensure city residents get access to the job opportunities, PARA has stipulated that any and all tenants in the complex need to provide at least one job fair at least three months before opening for business.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) said the project is an example of what partnership can do.

Jeff Milanaik, left, a partner at Bridge Industrial, Tashilee Vazquez, PARA executive director, and Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin Caba at the groundbreaking.

“This project is a perfect example of Perth Amboy’s resurgence,” he said. “Local leaders seized the opportunity to take advantage of the strategic location to clean up the contamination of the past, attract jobs and restore this property to the tax base for local services.

“Public safety and economic opportunity will now replace environmental hazard and blight. Many thanks to Mayor Caba, the city council and the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency for their hard work — it has paid off.”

Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Perth Amboy) said the groundbreaking is a clear example of the transformation in Perth Amboy.

“A former brownfield site has been revitalized to serve as a job creator, tax revenue generator and state-of-the-art green facility that will benefit the city’s future and local economy,” she said. “I applaud the project developer, Bridge Industrial, for recognizing Perth Amboy’s potential and for working with the city to craft a project that yields substantial benefits for our community.”

State Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Woodbridge) said the project is the ultimamte win-win.

“The smart and environmentally conscious redevelopment of this strategically located brownfield will not only generate hundreds of new jobs for the area, but will serve as a major tax-revenue generator for the town,” he said.