Journal Square – the-once-and-promised future city center, a true downtown – remains a hole in the heart of the city, with development once again stalled. The failure to seek proposals from developers nationwide experienced in mixed-use projects of this scale has left us with a no-bid redevelopment contract in its latest version proposing two 10-story parking garages with 50- to 70-story residential towers above, limited and reduced retail space, which will minimize this project as a destination. Prior to the financial meltdown in October, the developer sought tax abatement terms that would cost the city $500,000 per year.
We will never know if the current plans are the best use of one of the regions premier redevelopments sites, adjacent to a PATH station and the county transportation hub with 8 million annual commuters passing through. When will the city rein in no-bid development contracts of this scale and clean up the redevelopment process banning pay to play campaign contributions to city officials responsible for approving redevelopment plans and tax abatements?
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