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 Media Contact:
Jonathan Jaffe
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$110 Million Warehouse Plan Will Remediate Contaminated Land, Create Hundreds of Local Jobs and Generate $1 Million in Annual Tax Revenue 

PERTH AMBOY – April 9, 2024 – City officials assembled today at a construction site on Smith Street, where old, tired buildings are being demolished to make way for the long-awaited Gateway project at the foot of the Route 35 Victory Bridge.

Standing in front of a massive excavator, Mayor Helmin J. Caba and leaders of the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency (PARA) discussed the sweeping impact of the “Gateway” redevelopment project – following years of underutilization and contamination on properties in the redevelopment area, a large swath of developable property near Route 440 and other major highways.

The first step in this 44-acre project will be the demolition of a boarded-up structure at 535 Smith St. The redeveloper, Viridian Partners of Denver, will invest more than $110 million to acquire, clean and stabilize contaminated parcels of land between the Route 35 Victory Bridge, Smith Street and Riverside Drive. 

Caba said the partnership with Viridian Partners marks the beginning of a new chapter in the city's narrative, one in which Perth Amboy turns the page from years of blight to a future brimming with potential.

“This key entrance to our city, once tarnished by decay, is now the focal point of our redevelopment efforts,” the mayor said.  With the collaboration of Viridian Partners and the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency, we are starting to witness the transformation of this critical area into a thriving, dynamic hub.”

Caba noted redevelopment is not merely about erasing the remains of the past; it’s about crafting a legacy for future generations, creating a destination that will draw visitors and investment from far and wide.  The collective vision is to transform the area into a vibrant, mixed-use space that reflects the spirit and aspirations of Perth Amboy.

“They say the future belongs to those who can visualize it,” said PARA Executive Director Tashilee Vazquez. “And here in Perth Amboy, under this administration, we're not just talking about it, we're making it happen. This project marks a significant milestone in our quest for a brighter and more prosperous future for our community.”

Vazquez said the demolition and redevelopment project is creating lasting legacies, building amenities that will spur redevelopment and investment as well as drive economic growth for generations to come.

PARA has plenty of projects in the pipeline, as investors are noting the NJ Transit train station in the downtown, a picturesque marina, and a robust public transportation system, she said.

“Perth Amboy is poised to become a beacon of growth and opportunity,” Vazquez said. “And the particular corner we're focusing on today offers a blank canvas - a canvas upon which we can paint a vibrant, mixed-use community that enhances our quality of life and generates substantial tax revenue.”

The project, once completed, is expected to generate more than 400 long-term jobs and more than $1 million in local tax revenue. As part of the plan, more than nine acres of land abutting the Smith Street business corridor will be remediated and “pad ready” for the city at no cost.  Perth Amboy officials will decide how best to redevelop the land. 

The mayor said the city will prepare a Request for Proposals to invite developers, visionaries, and innovators to share ideas for the nine acres, seeking proposals that will meet current needs and inspire future developments. 

“This is a call to action for creative minds to envision and realize a space that will stand as a testament to our city's resilience and renewal,” Caba said.
In addition, Viridian Partners will remediate and improve an additional nine acres of land for Perth Amboy residents’ passive recreation, including natural areas surrounding Sonnaman’s Creek, with trails leading to a gazebo on a hill to be constructed overlooking the Raritan River.
About 25 acres will be used to construct a one-story, 471,000-square-foot, Class A, state-of-the-art warehouse.  Trucks accessing the warehouse must use Riverview Drive via its intersection at Smith Street to minimize traffic in business and residential areas. In addition, berms, buffer landscaping, and other natural screens will be used to minimize the impacts of the warehouse development. 

Perth Amboy Housing Authority Executive Director Doug Dzema, who runs the non-profit PARTNER program, said the city has been working since 2014 to revitalize and redevelop the Gateway neighborhood, focusing on enhancing housing and economic opportunities.

“Over the past 10 years, our concentrated efforts in the Gateway Neighborhood through two revitalization neighborhood grants have resulted in substantial improvements, showcasing our ability to drive positive change,” Dzema said. “Today marks a pivotal point in our journey as we witness a major redevelopment project that symbolizes this area's physical and neighborhood revitalization, reinstating its role as a critical entry point to our city.”
Michael Cahn, a principal with Viridian Partners, said the firm seeks environmentally distressed properties near the New Jersey Turnpike and other major highways.
“What excites us about the Gateway project is its phenomenal proximity to highways; it is a perfect fit for our model of remediating complex properties,” Cahn said. “We are eager to move forward with Mayor Caba and PARA, breathing new life into the entire neighborhood and directly addressing a blighted eyesore awaiting redevelopment for decades.”
The site formerly housed a roofing company that manufactured asbestos shingles, closing a quarter-century ago. Viridian Partners has been working with the city since 2014 to create the overall plan for the vast, complex site; it requires the developer to assemble 28 parcels to comply with the redeveloper’s agreement.
Dzema also announced a $400,000 award from New Jersey's Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program, affirming trust in the city’s ability to drive transformative development, improve housing, stimulate economic growth, and enhance the quality of life.

“The work being initiated today extends beyond a mere redevelopment project; it is a testament to the collective dedication to revitalizing the Gateway neighborhood, transforming it into a hub of opportunity, community, and progress at the threshold of our city,” he said.

Link to event images here.