1 Lawyer, 1 Week, 5 Key NJ Real Estate Approvals
April 21, 2016
NJ Real Estate Lawyer and Scarinci Hollenbeck Partner Don Pepe Obtains Five Real Estate Approvals for North Bergen Wawa and Gas Station on Contaminated Site and Four Jersey City Projects All in Same Week
Lyndhurst, New Jersey – April 21, 2016 – Congratulations to Scarinci Hollenbeck Partner Donald M. Pepe, who, in the span of one week, succeeded in obtaining several significant real estate approvals, one of which will allow for the construction of a Wawa convenience store and gas station on a formerly blighted site in North Bergen, New Jersey. Pepe also obtained four separate projects approved by two boards with a total of over 1,400 residential units in burgeoning Jersey City.
Despite opposition from several neighbors, Pepe prevailed on the North Bergen Wawa application with a unanimous vote from the planning board. “The construction of the new Wawa will result in the clean-up of a site that has been environmentally contaminated for a long time,” Pepe explained. “We are proud to be part of Wawa’s North Jersey expansion,” he added. “Wawa is a store which offers high-quality products and is well known in South Jersey, and bringing additional locations to North Jersey will improve the neighborhoods in which they are constructed.”
In addition to his North Bergen win, Pepe obtained unanimous approval from the Jersey City Planning Board concerning two significant Jersey City redevelopment projects and, despite substantial and well-organized opposition from a neighborhood group chronicled in a number of articles in the Jersey Journal, approval for a third project from the Jersey City Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The first Jersey City project is a proposed mixed-use development owned by Coles Street Development Company. It involves the construction of 1,181 residential units, 89,900 square feet of retail and parking spaces and the creation of a sizeable public park in keeping with the City’s Jersey Avenue Park Redevelopment Plan. Located at the Lackawanna section of the City, this project will result in an entirely new, mixed-use neighborhood in a formerly industrialized corridor.
The second and third projects, which both fall under the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan, involve the construction of a new 14-story mixed use building with 128 dwelling units, ground floor retail and two floors of commercial space and an 8-story mixed use building with ground floor commercial and 69 housing units. The former is significant as it is the first project in Jersey City to take advantage of a recent amendment to the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan that allows for the addition of up to two residential floors in exchange for including two floors of commercial or office space in the same building.
The fourth project, which involves plans for a 12-unit building at 375 Fifth Street, met with the most opposition. After nearly two years of resistance from neighbors and neighborhood organizations and following nearly three hours of plan presentations and testimonies from neighbors voicing strong objections to the project, the city’s zoning board unanimously approved the five-story building.
In an article published in the Jersey Journal, Pepe, who devotes his practice to all aspects of complex real estate development and real estate transactional work with an emphasis on retail and residential development, explained that it has been a “long journey with a lot of twists and turns.”
“It’s very hard to find a consensus that makes everyone happy; we struggled to do that,” Pepe said. “We actually left more of a setback than the law would require, and we’re very grateful for the board for seeing our efforts and rewarding them with the approval.”
About Donald M. Pepe:
Donald M. Pepe has considerable experience securing development approvals and closing commercial real estate transactions. He has negotiated and drafted a broad range of agreements pertaining to the acquisition and sale or property, financing and leasing, commercial and residential condominium formation and management, municipal and private development agreements, development grants and incentives, easements and operating agreements – across multiple property types, including office, retail, industrial and residential. Throughout his career, Pepe has developed relationships with a number of prominent New Jersey planners, architects, engineers and other development professionals whose practices are complimentary, allowing him to offer a single-contact source for the development needs of the most demanding developer clients.