Amazon Probably Not Coming to Jersey city

By on Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 at 2:38 pm

Amazon had been in talks to take on 400,000 square feet of space at Harborside. The deal appears to have fallen through.

The aging office complex has been under renovations since 2019, but finally those updates were coming together.

The Harborside complex on the Jersey City waterfront consists of multiple buildings. They are mix of rehabbed older buildings and modern construction. Plazas 1-3 were former warehouses converted in 1986 into an office complex. Those buildings were first built in the 1920s as part of the railroad terminal.

The waterfront in the 1980s was just beginning to see redevelopment. Newport, to the north, also first broke ground at that time. The Harborside conversion though set the waterfront on a course to become a commercial office space hub with newer towers following through the 1990s and early 2000s. However, the original conversion was beginning to show its age.

During the pandemic, the Harborside complex received $100m worth of renovations across six buildings.

Over at NYYIMBY, there are some great photos highlighting the major changes to the facade of plaza 1. The renovations are more than skin deep though.

The Hudson Bergen Light rail passes behind the building, ferries provide access to the water, and PATH link at Exchange Place is a short walk away, making the complex very accessible by transit.

Mack-Cali is working to better integrate the complex into the community. Harborside’s surface parking lots have long isolated the waterfront from the rest of the downtown. The past decade has seen some of these lots filled in with new developments like the Urby Towers.

Earlier this year, the popular Brooklyn food festival, Smorgasburg, set up on Saturdays in the Harborside property. This was part of a larger rebranding effort for the commercial office space. The Harborside complex provides seating for 500 people during the food events.

Whole Foods, an Amazon owned grocery store is finally set to come to the Harborside Plaza 4A. This low-rise building is essentially a parking garage with some limited office and retail space.

Harborside 4a

The high-end grocery store has long been rumored to be coming to Jersey City, and news of it finally coming sometime in 2022 was welcome news. But it was also thought that it was a portent to the imminent arrival of the parent company, Amazon. New Jersey has plenty of subsidies available to businesses.

During the Amazon HQ2 search, Chris Christie offered $7 billion in subsidies to try to attract the retail giant. That deal was intended to get the HQ2 into Newark. It would have included relief from property taxes, wage taxes, and state business taxes.

Competing with other offers around the country, including a bid to put the HQ2 in Queens, New York, were all a race to the bottom by states and municipalities eager to land the retailer.

It turns out Amazon didn’t need subsidies to move to New York. Despite not awarding HQ2 to Queens and officially having a partial second home in Virginia, Amazon continues to expand in the New York area. Mack-Cali was hoping to draw the retailer to Jersey City.



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