By JOHN T. WARD
Bijou Properties founder Larry Bijou touted his firm’s track record in building environmentally friendly projects in Hoboken when he addressed Red Bank’s parking committee Wednesday night.
And officials in Hoboken, “they don’t want to be Jersey City,” he said, an apparent response to criticism by Red Bank Democrats that their Republican colleagues were pushing a “Jersey City-style high rise vision” for the heart of the borough.
One of five concept plans submitted in April in response to a borough solicitation, Bijou’s calls for a “layering” of uses, architect John Nastasi told the audience.
That includes 23,000 square feet of mixed retail, restaurant and other commercial along a “continuous colonnade” along White Street; 200 parking spaces above that; and 200 units of residential development above that. The upper levels would be spaced and staggered “so its not one big, massive building,” Nastasi said.
The plan also calls for an eight-story, 600-space public parking garage at the western end of what’s now the White Street parking lot.
Nastasi said the Bijou vision includes bringing “the scale and character of Broad Street” onto White Street, with the addition of 15,000 square feet of public plazas.
More than other presenters, Larry Bijou spoke about the use of a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT program, to help jump-start his project.
Addressing a concern raised earlier in the evening by board of education president Fred Stone about the impact of PILOTs on school funding, Bijou said that projects like his firm’s “generate very few school children,” and that a Rutgers study found that “most people, when their kids get old enough to make noise, want them in a back yard” away from urban centers.
Bijou said his firm is currently building 424 residences in a redevelopment project near mass transit in Hoboken, with almost 2.5 acres to be “given back” to the city. And like his other projects, this one would have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
Here’s Bijou’s April filing with the borough in response to the RFP, with sensitive financial information redacted by the borough.
And here’s redbankgreen‘s coverage of each of the other presentations: