Jersey City, Hudson County
Waldo Lofts, located in the Powerhouse Arts District of Jersey City, is one of many developments and renovations revitalizing a former industrial area. Designed to promote the arts and entertainment similarly to Manhattan’s SOHO, the Powerhouse Arts District is burgeoning with residential, commercial, and gallery space especially for artists and those who appreciate their work. A former brownfield, Waldo Lofts is a development consistent with these goals; it has truly enhanced and supported the artistic feel and historic nature of this up-and-coming neighborhood.
The site, 159 2nd Street, was formerly host to industrial and commercial activities - including a foundry, chemical storage, and catering. Prior to the lofts, the most recent use was seafood distribution, ending with the closure of Celestial Seafoods in 2002 and leaving behind an abandoned warehouse. Due to the varied and somewhat unknown nature of past on-site operations, the area underwent extensive testing through Pennjersey Environmental Consulting, Inc. to determine the extent and type of any pre-existing contamination prior to redevelopment.
Soil samples concluded that polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and lead levels were higher than the NJDEP cleanup criteria for residential areas. The elevated levels of these contaminants were due to the roughly 15 feet of historic fill on-site, brought in from the Hudson River as part of the Paulus Hook Reclamation Project in the 1800's, which attached the island of Paulus Hook to Jersey City and enabled industrial and railroad operations.
Remedial action included the removal of 5 to 6 feet of contaminated soil and the addition of a concrete cap - preventing both the spread of and contact with remaining historic fill. A Deed Notice was filed to prevent disruption of the cap, and a letter of No Further Action was issued by the NJDEP on August 4, 2005.
Now completed, Waldo Lofts is a 12-story building of loft-style condominiums. In addition to providing residences, the ground floor also serves as retail space. The lobby is set up for gallery viewing and promotes artistic works and a sense of community, as it is the location of many public events. The location of the building, close to the PATH train, Light Rail, and Ferry, virtually eliminates the need for driving. The lofts also aid Jersey City by generating increased property taxes for the site.
Although a new construction, Waldo Lofts fits right in with the other buildings of the district – Fields Development Group took care to integrate many design elements characteristic of warehouses and industrial structures. The windows are arched, the stairwells are extended to mimic smokestacks, and there are steel awnings across the front of the building. The Lofts are not LEED certified, but do have Low E Gas windows, which help prevent energy loss associated with heating and cooling.
The remediation costs for this project totaled approximately 1.16 million dollars, with 75% of cleanup costs reimbursed through the NJDEP's Brownfield Reimbursement Program. Today, what was once the site of an old, abandoned warehouse with an industrial past, are stunning new artist residences. The new building certainly exemplifies and promotes the ideals of Jersey City's Powerhouse Arts District, a lively neighborhood with a commitment to the arts and entertainment.