Jersey City Introduce Zoning Changes to Create a “Restaurant Row” Along West Side Avenue

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JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop and Ward B Councilman John Hallanan today announced plans to create a “Restaurant Row” along West Side Avenue to increase the number of restaurants allowed and encourage new development along the commercial corridor as part of a strategic effort to grow the local economy. The proposal, which restructures the zoning along the commercial street, continues the Fulop administration’s commitment to bringing investment and jobs off the waterfront and spurring increased economic activity throughout the city.

“Long time residents of Ward B will recall that West Side Avenue was once home to numerous restaurants: Ilvento’s, Jules, the Family Tree, the list goes on. They are all gone,” said Ward B Councilman John Hallanan. “This restaurant overlay legislation which I am proposing will incentivize new restaurants to open along this vital business corridor in the heart of Ward B and inject some much needed street life to the area.”           

An ordinance to be introduced on first reading at the Council’s October 26th meeting will add a roughly one-mile stretch along West Side Avenue, consisting of 14 blocks between Claremont and Montgomery Street, to the city’s Restaurant Overlay Zone (ROZ). The ROZ is an alternative-zoning category meant to encourage the creation of sit-down and take-out restaurants in order to increase economic activity, draw pedestrian traffic, and revitalize commercial corridors.

As more and more retail shopping habits move digital, restaurants are uniquely positioned to be the primary drivers of commercial growth in local economies. By relaxing the restrictions on such venues along the West Side Avenue corridor, the Fulop administration believes it can spur business and, ultimately, job growth in the area.

“As Jersey City continues to grow, it has been a priority for my administration to ensure that that growth and prosperity is shared by residents all over this city,” said Mayor Fulop. “We have seen the benefits of Restaurant Row legislation in downtown and now we want to bring that opportunity to the west side of the city, which will benefit greatly from new restaurants, cafes, and the jobs and economic activity that come with it.”

The Fulop administration has previously expanded the Restaurant Overlay Zone to include parts of additional parts of Downtown, the Heights, and the Junction at Communipaw Avenue and Grand Street in Ward F. The expansion of the Restaurant Overlay Zone to include West Side Avenue – done with input from and support from local community groups – continues the Fulop administration’s efforts to drive investment and jobs off the waterfront and jumpstart economic activity throughout the city.

“WSCA (West Side Community Alliance) strongly supports this first step in an eventual restaurant row,” said Jodi Drennan, President of the West Side Community Alliance. “As Jersey City’s most diverse community, the possibility for great restaurants is really exciting. We have the best housing, the most beautiful park, and we look forward to boasting the City’s best restaurants!”

In addition to the restaurant row expansion, Jersey City’s construction boom has begun to reach the city’s west side.  Last month the Fulop administration and New Jersey City University officials broke ground on a $400 million, mixed-use development project, also on West Side Avenue. Phase One of the project will include 163 new market-rate units and 10,000 square feet of retail space, as well as 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space and multiple bike terminals. The project is part of a planned major expansion of NJCU’s campus that will bring jobs and open up additional economic opportunities in the area.

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