Jersey City Resident Proposing Large-Scale Floating Marina Complex in the Hudson

By • Mar 9th, 2011 • Category: Featured, News
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Editor’s Note: The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, in a letter responding to this story, says Ralphael D’Angelis’ view of both the development process and Request for Proposals regarding the marina site “is not only troubling but totally inaccurate.”

Iconic architecture is often known to captivate one’s sense of wanderlust. It leaves its mark on the mind’s eye and adds to our collective desire for travel. The Taj Mahal is a marvel that certainly falls into this category, but a building doesn’t have to be historic to appeal to us. Dating back only 40 years, the Sydney Opera House has captivated our imagination with its dramatic architecture and sweeping lines, cascading out over Australia’s famous harbor. Its award-winning design, conceived by Danish architect Jørn Oberg Utzon, has been an inspiration for architects the world over.

Such is the thought process that led Jersey City resident Raphael D’Angelis and his firm Design Concept Depot to create a venue proposal that would literally put Jersey City on the map.

“‘Destination, Jersey City’ is not an inconceivable proposition,” D’Angelis says. “Often dismissed as the gauche side of the Hudson, Jersey City is the ‘unofficial borough’ of Manhattan that really has the best views of New York City — it’s priceless.”

D’Angelis and his team, together with award-winning architect Carlo Frugiuele, have completed a design package to create a floating marina complex on 30 acres of land located between the Harborside Financial Center at the end of 2nd Street extending to the Newport Pier at the corner of 6th Street and jutting out approximately 100 feet from the coastline. Differing from the unique shell-like structure of the Sydney Opera House, the design elements of D’Angelis’ plan is a visual delight, as the seven buildings to be constructed bring to mind a school of fish basking on the coastline of the Hudson River.

It’s long been D’Angelis’ dream to change the perception of Jersey City.

“To accomplish this feat, you need fresh ideas, innovators, and a team that’s willing to push boundaries,” he says. “Jersey City has an ideal location to build something spectacular for not only the residents, but if built correctly, we’ll be able to draw people from New York and even international tourists from around the world.”

So instead of adding just another marina to the Jersey City coastline (the city already has three that are presently underutilized) his “out of the box” approach would feature a mixed-use complex of high-end retail shops (think Dolce Gabbana and Hermes Paris) and restaurants, a 5-star hotel, front-office corporate headquarters (as opposed to the back-office corporate facilities so prevalent in the city), an indoor/outdoor art park and a 3,000-seat performing arts center that could also be utilized for small-to-midsize trade shows and conventions. The 360-slip marina would be large enough to house 100 to 200 foot yachts that cannot currently be accommodated at any of Jersey City’s existing marinas.

In tandem with D’Angelis’ proposal, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), which owns the marina site, has issued a “Request For Proposals” from marina developers to be submitted by today, March 9. According to the JCRA, the cost to build the marina would be absorbed by the developer and would not be disclosed until all proposals have been submitted. Less far-reaching in scope than D’Angelis’ plan, the JCRA is looking solely at the marina component for the site that would cater to local residents and a convenient stop for yachters making the “Great Circle” that commences with the Hudson River and circumnavigates the East Coast. The guidelines call for limited commercial outlets, which is one of the marked differences with D’Angelis’ proposal.

D’Angelis says two factors led him to submit his proposal to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rather than to the JCRA.

First, his design concept would require a build-out onto the Hudson River, which is owned by the state, not the city, and the DEP is the regulatory body that approves projects that incorporate water rights. D’Angelis also notes that his project is “outside the scope” of the JCRA’s RFP, and so his advisors think it would be quicker to “take the DEP route.”

With an estimated cost of $500 million, D’Angelis sees his proposal as having a significant return on investment and an instant benefit to other developers in the area. He also estimates that construction and temporary jobs created by the project would peak at 4,000, with more than 6,000 jobs created post-construction.

“Jersey City has seen five years of commercial real estate stagnation,” D’Angelis says, adding that there is a “price to pay for inaction.”



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is a social media consultant and contributing writer for InventorSpot, and editorial cartoonist for the online kidd millennium cartoon series. He is the published author of Crude Behavior, Uncle Dubya's Jihad Jamboree and the just-released graphic novel Facebucks & Dumbs F*cks. He resides at Society Hill in Jersey City.
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BKA6BA2I757SZQNG22RCZQV5VI Adam Hunger

    This is exactly the sort of project that builds jobs and national prestige. It is the right complement to the growth of our Financial District. Having such a facility in our own back yard would be yet another reason to stay home and enjoy the views of New York, from a very short distance. This project certainly is a better job and tax revenue driver with long term benefits than, say, another gas pipeline. I hope the politicians who matter are reading this.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FQZYGOWK7M4ELG5DG5QRBQEUIA Jane

    Sounds like a worthwhile project that will benefit the community and bring new jobs t Jersey City.

  • Anonymous

    that’s an amazing project for Jersey City! It will benefit the community and bring revenues for the city. Well done!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCFEAODVXQE2GZWTLCJUJ6YZPU Patrick F

    i love this idea, finally someone who has taken a different approach and focused solely on how this would benefit JC. Though i have to say that any reference to ny is not needed for this and i hope more developers take that approach. For this city to grow it needs to grow away from constantly being associated with ny and this does just that, associates with ny which is why i do not like that the JCPAC would be located there. But overall this sounds like a fantastic project. Especially since the avalon cove will son be demolished for future high rises and the Powerhouse being turned into a entertainment destination, that area of JC will explode with all these new options.

    But i willl admit I’m not too fond of the design, there good but not great. They look like boomerangs to me but to think ” out-of-the-box” was the whole concept. Hopefully this can be the start of unique development within JC boundaries and can spark the minds of the developers for the J.Sq building.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like another MASSIVE TAX ABATEMENT to a Developer, the fallout being loaded onto the backs of the average Jersey City Property Owner and Taxpayer.This is one of the ways in which we arrived at an $80 Million budget deficit in Jersey City and resulted in a 30% Increase in Property Taxes this year (thats a 30% increase to those of us who even pay property taxes).30%!!!! (No…the zero is not a mistake….30%).

    • http://twitter.com/designck Charl Kroeger

      I do agree with you that that tax increase was horrendous!! Hopefully this will not be funded by tax increases or abatements which will simply be shifted onto residents’ tax plates… It does look like a great project though, if privately funded.

  • Anonymous

    as this project moves forward, I hope lessons learned from the marina in Liberty State Park will be remembered – a marina is a lot more than just boats bobbing up and down on the water. it involves boart repair and storage facilities, fuel storage and motor vehicle parking.

    efforts should include preserving free passage for pedestrians and bicyclists on the Waterfront Walkway both during construction and upon completion. the situation during (and even when completed) construction of the Crystal Point development, where the Waterfront Walkway was closed for more than two years and offered no alternative route or even signage should not be repeated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miriam-Carvalho/1314286312 Miriam Carvalho

    I hope Jersey city people have the Selfsteam for such a great project i lived there and most people don’t think they are worth it. I love the city and i thing is about time somebody propose something so great.

  • http://twitter.com/cpvoce cpvoce

    Finally a project that will enhance Jersey City area!! This project will support the businesses and residents of this and other areas of NJ. Finally you will be able to stay within your area and enjoy leisure time without having to go to another state!

  • http://twitter.com/tgb Tom Bruning

    A great addition to the waterfront. Making a destination on the waterfront walking/bike path enhances the value to JC. Make people looking at JC from Manhattan envious of an outstanding architectural, cultural and entertainment complex. MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is truly a great project for Jersey City and it will bring so much stimulus for economic growth in the whole area.

  • http://www.yogaarte.wordpress.com Stefania

    I am excited to finally see JC getting the attention that it deserves. The proposal is fantastic it will generate more Dollars and will increase employment. We have the best view of New York and we have the room to accomodate what Mr. Raphael D’ Angelis is proposing. I say YES let’s DO IT :)
    Stefania C.

  • Anonymous

    The proposed project will be a great opportunity to create new jobs and revenue to a city like many cities around the country get back to where it was.

    As an architect, I believe the use and design definitely compliments the growth of our Financial District.

    I truly believe, if this proposed project is approved, nothing but great things will happen to once so promising city.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KF3XVS6RE6MOR4CXHGQIVOPGNI Vivek

    I think any development for a city, brings tnagible and intangible benefits and should be promoted.

  • Anonymous

    This is an opportunity to expand the architectural advancement of a waterfront city. Its intimate relationship with the water expresses a new building typology which seems to address the climate changes we witness daily. While still in its early design stages the project defines a new dynamic dialogue with both the urban edge and the river, becoming thus a dynamic threshold and destination.

  • Anonymous

    There is finally a six star project for Jersey City. This project will make JC flying higher above the rest and it will not only create jobs, but make the city be known internationally. The idea is brilliant; the design is a piece of modern art. We deserve the unicity and a personality of our own. The project has both. Let not keep this marvel as an idea, and move to execution.

  • Anonymous

    It’s finally time for JC to shine! I think that this project is worth pursuing. With the economy as it is we need to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and down the road projects like this one will bring revenue to a city that needs it. it will make Jersey City a destination not only for it’s residents but for the outside world.

  • Anonymous

    This project would be the best thing to happen not only in Jersey city, but in all of the tri-state area! Historically a city is defined by its development in Architecture. Its takes bold and courageous developers to invest in the well-being and economic development of any city, and without those visionaries cities such as Bilbao, Sidney, Valencia, and i dare say even Rome, would be cities unknown! Think of the Guggenheim Bilbao, The Sidney opera house, City of arts and Sciences of Valencia, and all the great ancient but at the time ultra-technological architectural advancements of Rome! The Anfiteatrum Flavium or Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Domus Aurea, the incredible Markets of Trajan! This was the modern architecture of the time. It is a fact that New York city has not really built anything daring in a very long time, and now we begin to see its demise. It is my hope that this project goes through so that Jersey City may thrive and not only be an appendix of NYC but bring courage and vision to contemporary design.

  • Anonymous

    This project would be the best thing to happen not only in Jersey city, but in all of the tri-state area! Historically a city is defined by its development in Architecture. Its takes bold and courageous developers to invest in the well-being and economic development of any city, and without those visionaries cities such as Bilbao, Sidney, Valencia, and i dare say even Rome, would be cities unknown! Think of the Guggenheim Bilbao, The Sidney opera house, City of arts and Sciences of Valencia, and all the great ancient but at the time ultra-technological architectural advancements of Rome! The Anfiteatrum Flavium or Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Domus Aurea, the incredible Markets of Trajan! This was the modern architecture of the time. It is a fact that New York city has not really built anything daring in a very long time, and now we begin to see its demise. It is my hope that this project goes through so that Jersey City may thrive and not only be an appendix of NYC but bring courage and vision to contemporary design.

  • Anonymous

    This project would be the best thing to happen not only in Jersey city, but in all of the tri-state area! Historically a city is defined by its development in Architecture. Its takes bold and courageous developers to invest in the well-being and economic development of any city, and without those visionaries cities such as Bilbao, Sidney, Valencia, and i dare say even Rome, would be cities unknown! Think of the Guggenheim Bilbao, The Sidney opera house, City of arts and Sciences of Valencia, and all the great ancient but at the time ultra-technological architectural advancements of Rome! The Anfiteatrum Flavium or Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Domus Aurea, the incredible Markets of Trajan! This was the modern architecture of the time. It is a fact that New York city has not really built anything daring in a very long time, and now we begin to see its demise. It is my hope that this project goes through so that Jersey City may thrive and not only be an appendix of NYC but bring courage and vision to contemporary design.

    • Anonymous

      well said! please build this project!

    • Anonymous

      nice paragraph! i have to agree…great project. lets hope the right people are reading this…

  • Anonymous

    A project of this magnitude and scale would change the perception of Jersey City for the better. Having a project pioneered by someone not “hand picked” by JCRDA would also change the perception of Jersey City most certainly for the better. The City needs new blood and new ideas to make JC what it can and should be … a modern city where people live, work, and play.

  • Anonymous

    Great project!! This is a win-win situation for everyone – Jersey City, the State, and all the future residents. Fabulous!

  • Anonymous

    The out of the box thinking of a floating marina complex should be applauded and will surely be a visible architectural inspiration for the Hudson River shore ine and Jersey City. The short term ecomomic benefits creating construction and support jobs would be surpassed by the long term benefits of tourism and general commerce. This project should be approved.

  • Anonymous

    The out of the box thinking of a floating marina complex should be applauded and will surely be a visible architectural inspiration for the Hudson River shore ine and Jersey City. The short term ecomomic benefits creating construction and support jobs would be surpassed by the long term benefits of tourism and general commerce. This project should be approved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Miriam-Carvalho/1314286312 Miriam Carvalho

    I hope Jersey city people have the Selfsteam for such a great project i lived there and most people don’t think they are worth it. I love the city and i thing is about time somebody propose something so great.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HHWUZJ3D2QU5ZQKJI7UGWSSTNI Roman

    I believe this project would be a bold and wonderful addition to the Jersey City waterfront.

  • http://twitter.com/designck Charl Kroeger

    This is the kind of project that could be the re-energizing of the move to make Jersey City an important ‘place to be’ again… we were on track till the disastrous Housing debacle, so whatever we can do to improve reputation and value is a good thing! This does look like quite an amazing project! Ambitious, but if you don’t aim high, you can only achieve low…

  • Anonymous

    Jersey City does not NEED a floating marina or new public works projects like new $20 Million Buildings.What Jersey City needs is to make better use of the land and buildings it already has.

    Jersey City currently has about 14,000 tax abated properties.Many of the people who live in these tax abated properties do not work or spend their disposable income in Jersey City, but rather in New York City So, before we all start passing the Grey Poupon, let’s find out EXACTLY what revenue the city expects of this project and how it will insure that it gets it.

  • http://twitter.com/tgirl0 Tgirl

    I have mixed feelings about this, but if it is done properly, it might come out well.

    The marina needs to be built big though because a lot of the newer developments, across Jersey, has lead to huge “weekend” crowds, which are sometimes hard to maintain. I find it sad that not too many developers can get the people capacity correctly and under-estimate the amount of visitors they’re going to attract. Traffic is the number 1 concern and if developers do not build a huge capacity parking garage to facilitate this (with affordable fees), there’s going to be trouble between both the locals and visitors. Another thing developers must think about is the pedestrian foot traffic.

    I’ve been to Sydney. Very beautiful there. The opera house has a good amount of foot and auto traffic, but, you don’t see anyone waiting too long or hordes of people going through one side to another. There’s a laid back, almost, sense of atmosphere over there. North Jersey has a denser population so developers really need to think about space. And while I’m still at it about Sydney, other than their infamous music venue, it was the yummy nearby food, their local marina aquarium, and a good eye candy look at Luna Park that were the highlights for me. I like how their amusement park is sitting across their bay. Just right. (If I could, I’d built a Luna Park in my backyard… Ragh.. How I wish…)