$2.5 Billion Development to Spring up on NJ Waterfront

Revitalizes lead-contaminated industrial site

A rendering of the planned development (Photo: Courtesy of North American Properties)

(SAYREVILLE, NEW JERSEY)— City officials in Sayreville, New Jersey have approved the the development of a 218-acre waterfront complex proposed by North American Properties and Prudential Global Investment Management, New York Yimby reports.

The proposed development was met with enthusiasm by the community board. The complex will include 1.5 million square feet of retail, 2 million square feet of office space, a hotel, a conference center, restaurants, a movie theater,  and up to 2,000 apartment units, including a percentage reserved for affordable housing. While the development could take up to a decade to finish completely, developers hope to open at least 250,000 square feet of retail, a dining area, the hotel, a nine-story office building, and the conference center by the end of the year.

It has taken almost 10 years to prepare the site, which was once home to paint manufacturer National Lead, which long ago abandoned its offices to blight the waterfront. The lengthy cleanup involved the removal of almost 360,000 cubic yards of soil, contaminated by the lead products of the National Lead company. The city had been undertaking the yet-uncompleted project for years before developers stepped in to help finish the job.

An open lawsuit filed by Raritan Baykeeper and Edison Wetlands against National Lead Industries has for a long time stalled the completion of the project, which includes plans for a Marina. While Sayreville Mayor expressed frustration over the delays, the complainants in the suit fear that the development of a marina could push lead-contaminated sediment into the Raritan River. The consequences would be horrible for the environment, both wildlife and residents of Sayreville. Although the Mayor seems to see their work as an obstruction of a development that would add clout to his legacy, ultimately the complainants goals are the same as the developers: a safe environment for all who are to enjoy this once-desolate site.

In over-developed New York, developers are often the demons of a city already crushed under the weight of the wealthy. But the achievement in Sayreville shows what good developers can do in the right location. The lively new development will hopefully revitalize an area that has long-languished.

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