The announcement of a program to renovate its New Jersey Transit station — a $45 million project that is expected to be completed in 2024 — was a big win for Perth Amboy.
The same can be said for the recently announced 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 in April. That project is expected to bring 1,500 permanent jobs while generating $2.9 million in gross tax revenue.
That being said, the economic development leaders in Perth Amboy are not satisfied. They are looking for more renovated and reimagined growth for the Middlesex County city on the water with a population of approximately 55,000.
In fact, they are taking their pitch — and their parcels — directly to developers.
Last week, the city unveiled five specific parcels it deemed “areas in need of redevelopment.”
The designation, city officials said, will enable Perth Amboy to more easily approve redevelopment plans and create tax incentives and special financing that encourage developers to invest in targeted improvement projects.
The designation also will allow the city to be able to more easily condemn blighted properties as part of the overall effort to create quality development for the community’s overall benefit, Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tashi Vazquez said.
“For many years, these parcels have been underused and, in some cases, have been considered to be eyesores,” Vazquez said. “The city is now taking aggressive steps to encourage redevelopment in these targeted areas, as we believe the designation will have a positive ripple effect across entire neighborhoods.”
Vazquez said PARA is eager to work with Mayor Helmin Caba, the city council and the Perth Amboy planning board to market the properties to developers who share the same vision.
“Our focus is to create the type of uses for these properties that will be exciting for our residents,” Caba said. “We want walkable, mixed-use communities that create quality living and eclectic businesses. Through smart and ongoing redevelopment, we want to entice many more people to explore Perth Amboy and consider living and investing here.”
A look at the five spots in Perth Amboy dubbed “areas in need of redevelopment”:
- Smith Street, from State Street to Elm Street and Fayette Street to Market Street: This downtown area, with 387 lots, is at the heart of Perth Amboy’s business district. As the city’s NJ Transit train station is undergoing its upgrade, PARA is assessing the need for more residential housing to replace underused office space. More residents would stimulate the downtown economy, living in a thriving transit hub on the North Jersey Coast Line, attracting more diverse offerings for customers, such as new restaurants and retail.
- The Second Street corridor: These are parcels on the opposite side of the train station. City officials note that some of these 130 lots, such as junkyards and mechanic shops, are blighted. As the property is a short walking distance to the train station, and minutes from the Route 440 connector, tax incentives can help attract the right developers.
- High Street and Buckingham Avenue: This area would serve as an extension of the Harbortown planned community. There are 17 lots of undeveloped property, which are ideal for residential or mixed-use development.
- High Street, from Broad Street to Washington Street: There are 23 lots on this site that city officials consider the missing pieces of waterfront connectivity on the Arthur Kill, between residential developments.
- Buckeye Raritan Bay Terminal, 577 Smith St.: The four lots on this property straddle Perth Amboy and the Keasbey section of Woodbridge Township. Officials from both communities envision commercial and light industry development, such as warehousing, that takes advantage of the close proximity to major highways. Any development on the site would not impact traffic in residential neighborhoods, making it ripe for opportunity.