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Jersey City planners approve Saint Peter's University's McGinley Square tower

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A rendering of the proposed residential tower.
A rendering of the proposed residential tower. - (SAINT PETER'S UNIVERSITY)

Planning officials in Jersey City have approved the 21-story tower aimed at transforming the historic McGinley Square neighborhood that Saint Peter's University calls home.

At a meeting Tuesday night, the planning board green-lighted the $220 million, 855,000-square-foot project by the Jesuit university and Towson, Md.-based Sora Development. Construction is expected to begin next spring, according to a spokesman for the project’s attorney Eugene Paolino of Genova Burns Giantomasi and Webster.

School officials have said the residential tower will have 153 units of student housing, 354 market-rate apartments, 88 affordable units, 80,000 square feet of retail and 720 spaces of underground parking. That includes a 13-screen movie theater and a host of other retail spaces at its base.

The project site on Montgomery Street currently houses a university-owned parking lot that’s surrounded by a chain-link fence.

The development has also drawn concerns from neighborhood residents in recent months. But it has the backing of city officials, including Mayor Steven Fulop, paving the way for a building that will cater to both students and professionals.

In May, Michael Fazio, Saint Peter’s vice president for advancement and external affairs, said the university of 3,000 students must replace housing that is “beyond its useful life.” He also sees it as an enrollment driver and “a marketable selling point to our students” that will help keep the institution competitive.

In a prepared statement, Paolino said: "My clients and I are very pleased to have received the unanimous and enthusiastic support of the McGinley Square project from the Jersey City Planning Board.

“We believe that the project will indeed be transformative for the immediate McGinley community and it is indicative of the commitment of the mayor and his administration to extending Jersey City’s dynamic resurgence inland from the ‘Gold Coast.’ ”

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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