Council to vote on developer's request to reduce payments

Jersey City News
By Amy Sara Clark

The Jersey City Council is set to vote tonight on whether the developer of a luxury condo tower on the Jersey City waterfront can revise its PILOT agreement with the city due to slow sales.

According to James C. McCann, an attorney for Fisher Development Associates, the developer of Crystal Point, who came to Monday’s City Council caucus to defend the request, only 24 of the eventual 269 condos have sold since going on the market a few months ago – despite a 30 percent price reduction. The 42-story building is located at 2 Second St.

Fisher is asking to extend the length of the PILOT, or Payments in Lieu of Taxes, agreement from 20 to 30 years and reduce the percentage of annual gross revenue paid from 16 to 11 percent for the first five years, with 13 percent payments for the next five years, and 16 percent payments for the final 20 years.

Jersey City’s Tax Abatement Committee recommended approval, despite a memo against it from Al Cameron, deputy director of the city’s Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce, arguing that the change would cost the city millions of dollars.

At Monday’s caucus, Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop argued that the risk taken by the developer should not be shifted to the “backs of taxpayers” and that the building will sell if prices are lowered far enough. He also said that if the council gives Crystal Point a break due to the economy, every development project in the city will ask for the same.

“I would urge you all to consider that this would be a very dangerous precedence,” he said.

Greenville Councilman Michael Sottolano and City Council President Mariano Vega, who serves on the Tax Abatement Committee, argued that if the project doesn’t go forward it could affect the value of a city-owned site directly across from it….