There was a milestone made in Journal Square, one that may have gone unnoticed by those rushing to catch a train or bus. And that was the arrival of the crane that will begin the heavy work of erecting the 54 floors of steel for KRE's "Journal Squared" building on Pavonia Avenue.
The fact that we are even talking about a 54-story tower in Journal Square is a testament to the vision and love of the "Square" by Lowell Harwood, who passed away recently.
It was Lowell's commitment to the Square that lead him to begin the process of acquiring the properties that now comprise the 1 Journal Square development site. When most people were thinking about retirement, Lowell was just getting started on the most ambitious project the Square had seen, since its creation almost 100 years ago.
That project, 1 Journal Square, would stretch everything we had thought about Journal Square. It would be two 45-story towers, housing 1,500 units and it would bring retail back to the Square with over 100,000 square feet of high quality retail space. In short, the project would be a game changer for the Square and require a true public-private-partnership with the city. All of this from a man in his late 70s, with more energy and vision than most people in their 20s.
Throughout the heady days of getting the project off the ground, stories abound about the 7 a.m. calls from Lowell, checking on everyone's to-do lists or Lowell meeting with some national tenants pitching them on the merits of "the Square". Lowell's energy was fueled by his love for the city and the Square. And from that energy and vision, came the Journal Square Vision 2060 Plan.
The fruits of that plan are now being seen all over the Square today and in the arrival of the massive crane at the KRE development site. The economy is now moving in the right direction and Lowell's "game changer" will get built, filling out the large development site he worked so hard to assemble.
The Greek poet Alcaeus praised cities as places of opportunity and vision, places where dreams are made. That just about sums up the life that Lowell lived and the legacy he has left our city.
Robert P. Antonicello, former executive director, Jersey City Redevelopment Agency