Bayfront History



Like many areas with strong transportation access, Bayfront was developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries as an industrial haven. Proximity to New York City further added to the area's appeal. The area was served by various railroad lines and industrial spurs and sidings. However, certain of these industries also contributed to environmental contamination in the area. One such company, Mutual Chemical Company, operated a chrome plant in Jersey City from the early 1900s to the mid-1950s at the site of the current Home Depot on Route 440.

Around the middle of the 20th Century, the character of the area began to change. Various municipal facilities were constructed along the Route 440 corridor, including an incinerator, a sewerage treatment facility, a public works garage and a municipal office building. Commercial use began to be developed along Route 440 to service the residential community east of the "back highway," as Route 440 used to be known.

In the 1970s, the railroads began to discontinue service. Industrial development and land uses, which had already begun to relocate out of the city, declined further. In the late 1990s, a Home Depot was constructed on the site of Mutual Chemical's former chrome plant.

At the onset of the 1980s, saturation in the Manhattan real estate market, coupled with improvement in transportation, re-opened the eyes of developers to the opportunities which existed on the Jersey City coastline. By 2004, Jersey City had issued 2,153 building permits for homes, far more than any other municipality in the state. "Gold Coast" prosperity led to mushrooming home prices with luxury condos springing up along the east side waterfront and selling out before they were ever completed.

After the adoption of Jersey City's Master Plan in 2000, attention turned to the west coast with the creation of the Jersey City Bayside Redevelopment Plan. Hundreds of Jersey City residents, business owners, government officials and faculty from New Jersey City University worked with Urban Designer Tony Nelessen to create the plan, a true public/private partnership. After incorporating data from public meetings, interviews with stakeholders and community surveys, the plan was completed in 2003. The resulting Bayside Vision Plan set the stage for the redevelopment of the west side of Jersey City.

In March 2008, the Jersey City Council unanimously approved the Bayfront Redevelopment Plan, unlocking the redevelopment of 100 acres on the west side.




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