The marina in Pleasantville, NJ, hasn’t been a destination spot in recent years. But the $30 million Lakes Bay Marina project hopes to change all of that—and soon.
If developers get approval on their plans, they could finish dredging the marina this summer so that customers could house a boat in one of the 50 slips that will be available.
But the slips are just part of the bigger plan to revitalize the area on the 25-acre site. The project calls for the construction of 180 one- and two-bedroom apartments, a clubhouse, and pool. There will be a public space near the water, which could display artwork and host events like street fairs and festivals. If this project is completed and attracts interest as hoped, there is the possibility it would launch more development nearby, including residential housing, commercial retail and restaurants.
The planning board received the final plans and is reviewing them for completeness. No public meeting has been scheduled yet.
In his Tuesday press conference, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will expedite infrastructure projects as a focus of its plan for economic recovery. He specifically mentioned the new Penn Station and LaGuardia projects, saying that not only does the state need to create jobs, with commuter and air passenger volume down, this is the perfect time to take on those projects with limited disruption.
Nonessential construction and manufacturing can resume today in the Mid-Hudson region of New York as Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties enter Phase I of reopening after the ordered shutdown to attempt to contain the novel coronavirus.
In Phase I, nonessential construction and manufacturing can resume along with wholesale businesses, retail for curbside or in-store pickup and agriculture, forestry and fishing. All businesses are required to follow new public health guidelines and have safeguards in place. Social distancing must be adhered to where possible and masks worn, as well as following more stringent cleaning and hygiene protocols.
Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk counties will enter Phase I tomorrow.
Officials will be watching the number of positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths closely. If the numbers stay on track and any outbreak is contained through contact tracing and isolation, the regions could enter Phase II in about two weeks. Testing facilities are now open across the mid-Hudson region and Long Island.
The PAUSE order limiting which construction sites and businesses can be open remains in effect in New York City where the needed metrics for reopening have not yet been met. There is no estimated date for the five boroughs to enter Phase I but the mayor has said he hopes it can happen early- to mid-June.
It would be the first free-standing cancer facility in New Jersey. The $750 million RWJBarnabas Health & Rutgers Cancer Pavilion in New Brunswick is set to be 510,000 square feet with 12 stories. It will house an inpatient hospital with surgical suites, an outpatient center, an urgent care, and research labs. The joint project of Rutgers Cancer Institute and New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) is projected to create 1,500 jobs. It is a joint project from RWJBarnabas Health. If all goes as planned.
While the healthcare world and cancer patients might eagerly await the dedicated facility many people the community oppose the project. The 1.6-acre site is currently the home of the Lincoln Annex Middle School, which has about 750 students. Part of the construction plan allocated $55 million to build a new three-story, 135,000 square-foot middle school. It would be a mile away and take three years to complete. In the meantime, students would be sent to a converted warehouse. Parents object not only to the interim setting but that the warehouse is outside of the neighborhood.
Governor Phil Murphy was asked about the project at his daily coronavirus press conference on Friday. Asked his opinion on the situation and if he would guarantee a new school would be built before the project started, Murphy touted New Jersey’s public education system before saying the proposed cancer center “is going to be a game-changer for a lot of things, including jobs and education. Beyond that, I’ve got not comment on that.”
State health commissioner Judith Persichilli, who received her nursing degree at Rutgers, was also asked about the situation and did not comment beyond saying that she had a lot of fond memories of her alma mater but “the bricks and mortar are not them.”
Demolition of the current school is targeted to begin in October with a projected completion of the cancer center in Fall of 2023.
But this week, in an effort to derail the plans, a lawsuit was filed by LatinoJustice on behalf of the school’s parents and students. It says the deed for the property requires that any construction on the land be a public school or administration building. Rutgers is part of the project, and a public university, but LatinoJustice lawyers do not believe that qualifies the cancer center as a “public school.”
The New Brunswick Board of Education approved plans for the proposed new school building and location in April, but opponents say it was done during the novel coronavirus pandemic and the public was left out of the process, unable to voice their opinion. A second legal action has actually been taken by the editor of New Brunswick Today against the Board of Education for violations of the Open Public Meetings Act. In January, the 4000-member local teachers union passed a unanimous resolution opposing the plan.
Some opponents might support the project if the new school is built first, however, that would obviously delay construction of the cancer center by years. For now, developers continue to target this fall to begin but for the project to continue at this site, the legal issues must be resolved.
Today, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that non-essential construction can resume at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 18.
Construction sites can resume work with the following safeguards in place:
- Clear posting of safety protocols
- Preventing overcrowding
- Prohibiting non-essential visitors
- Staggering work hours and breaks
- Ensuring proper sanitation
Murphy reiterated what he has said all along that the data will drive the re-opening process for the state. The state is “not out of the woods yet,” he said, sharing a chart that showed New Jersey is the most impacted state in the country right now. Social distancing and face-covering must continue. If the numbers of illness and hospitalizations go up, he will step back and restart the stay-at-home orders and once again shut down non-essential businesses.
Plans are underway for Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CMB), a 680,000 square-foot gene and cell therapymanufacturing facility at the Discovery Labs in Upper Merion Township, PA. CBM would be the largest gene and cell therapy manufacturing facility in the world. The $500 million Discovery Labs include customizable lab space. The campus, which is being used by some companies during renovations, is expected to add a hotel for visiting scientists and medical collaborators, as well as a restaurant and other amenities.
Used for research, development, and commercialization of therapies, the ambitious CMB requires $1.1 billion in funding. When the plan was announced, some believed raising that amount of money was unrealistic, but there will no doubt be more interest in medical research and development thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic. And the interest and need for such work will require more facilities.
The CBM will be built in the former GlaxoSmithKline lab space. Plans call for the hiring of 2,000 people over the next two and a half years.
As governors begin the slow, phased process of easing stay-at-home restrictions and allowing businesses to open, the construction projects that are currently operating in New York City provide a preview of the what sites will look like in New York and surrounding states in the near future.
At jobs where developers and contractors are adjusting quickly and attempting to meet new guidelines, workers are wearing masks, even on breaks, and adhering to social distancing rules of six feet between people throughout the day. There are more handwashing stations and tools are being disinfected and not shared among workers. When deliveries arrive, the driver is not getting out of the vehicle.
In some places, employees’ temperatures are checked when they arrive at the site, and construction workers are being told to stay home if they aren’t feeling well.
City inspectors are expected to stop at sites frequently to confirm contractors are sticking to the rules.
There is even the possibility of a drastic change in work hours. According to the New York Times, “Representatives of labor groups and contractor companies are pushing the city to permit 24-hour construction at some locations to reduce the number of laborers on site at any one time.”
Over the weekend, governor Andrew Cuomo said that construction and manufacturing jobs that could follow the health guidelines would be among the first sectors of business to start up again in Phase I of the re-opening plan as New York–as well as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut–try to get people back to work in hopes that the worst of the pandemic is over for the area. For New York, it will begin upstate after May 15. The governor said he will extend the PAUSE order beyond May 15 for New York City and the surrounding area as he waits for the novel coronavirus numbers to decline there.
On Sunday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s general reopening plan, which will have a regional phased approach. After May 15, Phase One would begin in lesser hit areas and include construction.
“Phase one of reopening will involve construction and manufacturing activities, and within construction and manufacturing, those businesses that have a low risk,” said Cuomo Sunday.
It will start upstate. The hard-hit downstate areas, including New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County are likely to have an extension of the PAUSE guidelines beyond the May 15 expiration of the current order.
When projects restart, workers will have to abide by public health guidelines. Industry leaders are working with the state and individual businesses will be tasked with creating a plan to get back to work while keeping the novel coronavirus infections at bay.
There will be 14 days between phases with the state monitoring health numbers and looking for flare-ups before moving to the next step.
Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased.
Gary LaBarbera, the president of Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, released a statement, agreeing with Cuomo’s decision to put construction first.
“It makes perfect sense for the construction industry to be at the front end of the remobilization of the work force,” Labarbera said in a statement.