Jersey's 2nd largest city wants to put a park on land currently occupied by Simon's million-sq.-ft. Newport Centre.
Jersey City currently has two malls, including Simon’s Newport Centre and its 1.1 million sq. ft. of gross leasable area across the Hudson River from midtown Manhattan. In the near future, it may be left with none.
A 35-page section of the draft of a new master plan for the second largest city in New Jersey maintains that the large footprints of Newport and of Hudson Mall on the city’s west side block access and connectivity for the town’s 300,000 residents.
“Given their size and scale of operations, these areas could leave large portions of the city in a state of neglect if they are not proactively planned to be included within the city’s urban fabric,” reads the plan.
Regaining that urban fabric would mean re-establishing Jersey City’s pre-Newport street grid by re-installing Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and 10th Streets, whose courses were interrupted by the 41-acre property that was the centerpiece of another master plan introduced by Mayor Jerry McCann in the early Eighties. That included the creation of a Newport neighborhood on the once active waterfront that was largely abandoned at the time.
“Jersey City had to change the economics of the city and the only way you can change the economics of the city would be with jobs and commercial development which the mall was part of. And that is what the plan was and that is what happened,” McCann told NJ.com.
If the expansive master plan is approved, it would take an estimated 20 years to complete and would entail cooperation from Simon Properties and all other affected owners. Ali Slocum, the mall owner’s spokesperson, told NJ.com that Jersey City had yet to contact the company, but that it looks forward to a collaboration that will keep Newport Centre’s services active in a different environment.
“Newport Centre will continue to evolve, adapting to meet the needs of consumers and will continue to support the community for years to come,” Slocum said.
James Solomon, Jersey City’s Ward E councilman vowed that retail would still play a major role in and redevelopment of the area.
“You might still have the same shopping, but what you are not going to have is the giant structure,” Solomon said.