SOUTH KEARNY, NJ—The Hugo Neu Company, redevelopers of the former World War II shipbuilding complex at Kearny Point in South Kearny, NJ, is hoping to get a crack at the Amazon headquarters announced last month.
Michael Meyer, director of development for the diversified recycling, manufacturing and real estate enterprise, tells GlobeSt.com that the firm is offering a package of two sites, one in Kearny Point and the other nearby in South Kearny that total 225 acres and are “ready to build,” and could accommodate a million square feet of “creative office” by 2019.
“In this area, the western waterfront and South Kearny, there has been a substantial amount of public investment in infrastructure, parks and open spaces, and there is substantial additional public investment planned,” he says. “We think that this opportunity with Amazon can spur both public and private investment to accommodate all of Amazon’s needs in one of the densest, best-connected geographies in the northeast.”
You can listen to our conversation with Michael Meyer in the player below.
The transportation infrastructure of the site should be more than adequate for the influx of Amazon employees, Meyer says. Amazon has suggested that the new headquarters will need to accommodate 50,000 or more workers.
“We’re nestled between the Ironbound section of Newark and the west side of Jersey City,” he says. “You can’t get a more connected infrastructure, the highway infrastructure comes right through our site, the choices of mass transit options are throughout our site, we are two miles from Newark Penn Station and near the Journal Square Transportation Center. We’re pretty much as connected as a property of tis size that’s buildable can be.”
The site of the former Federal Ship and Dry Dock, the property housed about 50,000 workers during World War I and World War II, and currently houses about 3,000 workers in redeveloped space.
Meyer says his team has been working closely with New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority, which is assembling information about various options around the state for Amazon. He says NJEDA is very supportive of efforts to “redensify” sites like Kearny Point.
Hugo Neu is ready to move forward with adaptive reuse of former craneway buildings at the property, with approvals in hand, and is just awaiting the right tenant. The firm has resiliency plans that will raise the property well above FEMA elevations required for flood mitigation, he says.
“We know what is strong about our site, which is, there is a lot of property available for redevelopment,” he says. “You’d be hard-pressed to find 225 acres of buildable land in this geography that’s owned by a handful of owners who are cooperating with each other. So Amazon has the ability to define and be part of the overall vision of building this site out.”
Already, Kearny Point is home to a wide range of creators, from craft-food artisans to tech trendsetters to filmmakers, concentrated in Building 78. The collaborative work environment offers a variety of flexible office options, pre-furnished team offices and a co-working facility known as Kearny Works. On the building’s ground floor, Dry Dock Bistro, a 2,500-square-foot nouveau American bar and grill, accommodates Kearny Point’s growing roster of businesses and visitors. The building is also home to a 5,000-square-foot roof deck and lounge, along with a 3,000-square-foot indoor event space, managed by JPO Concepts.
Kearny Point’s master plan, conceived in partnership with STUDIOS Architecture and WXY architecture + design, features more than 25 acres of new open and civic space, including restored native habitat, a continuous waterfront promenade, and a living shoreline. The plan also calls for high efficiency building systems, solar and wind energy, and a multi-modal “complete streets” strategy. As part of its mission to promote sustainability, Hugo Neu is implementing additional green infrastructure measures, including green roofs/blue roofs, naturalized detention basins, bio-swales and the removal of impermeable surfaces throughout the site, replacing them with a variety of permeable surfaces limiting run-off into the Hackensack River.
Correction, 10/3/2017, 10:37 a.m.: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this story described Kearny Point as being located in Jersey City. The property is actually in South Kearny, NJ.