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Presentation of Proposed Kushner Sea Gate Apartment Complex – 4/12/16 PARA Meeting

PERTH AMBOY – A video presentation was shown at the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency Meeting about the newly proposed Sea Gate Apartment Complex at the Waterfront. These are rentals. This is another Kushner Project.

There were many Residents from the Landings who came to voice their displeasure about this new proposed complex. They stressed that Kushner is not to be trusted. After the video presentation was over, those in attendance were able to review it again. They had the option of having the video stopped at any point if they had a specific question as to what was shown on the screen.

Stephen J. Carlidge, AIA, (President, Shore Point, Architecture, PA) gave a presentation about Sea Gate, a proposed Kushner Project. *Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

Stephen J. Carlidge, AIA, (President, Shore Point, Architecture, PA) gave a presentation about Sea Gate, a proposed Kushner Project.
*Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

Shore Point Architect Stephen J. Carlidge, AIA President gave an overview of what this complex would entail: “It will consist of five buildings with a total of 690 rentals. Three buildings will have five stories and two buildings will have four stories. There will be a mixture of 1 and 2 bedroom units. There will be parking underneath the two four-story buildings. There will be a clubhouse and a rooftop pool. Some of the streets that people will access the complex includes: Smith Street, Fayette Street, Commerce Street and Washington Street. Two piers will be included in the plan. Other amenities include: a dog park, pavilions and an area where food trucks can be placed. This area will be open to the public. There will be parking for a total of 650 cars. Of that total 54 spaces will be for underground parking. Dining cafes, a multi-purpose section and public rest rooms will be available. This complex will be 100 percent residential with no commercial entities. We’re talking about a half mile of Waterfront improvements.”

Questions were presented by two PARA Board Members. Member Geri Bolanowski questioned if the one and two bedrooms would be an adult oriented complex. She was told that if the market demands, it could possibly be changed.

Board Member Elaine Jasko questioned the 609 units. “I don’t know if our infrastructure can handle this.”
Carlidge answered, “We can balance the overall density.”

When it came time for the public to ask questions, the first one to come to the podium was Bruck Avenue Resident Ken Balut. “You should look at the original video that showed the original plans for the Landings. Kushner defaulted on that project. Hold Kushner responsible for the original projects before letting him build another project. Let Trump’s grandchildren live in the original Landings Buildings. (Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka is married to Developer Charles Kushner’s son, Jared.) Where are the kids going to go? As soon as the new high school is built, it’s going to be exploding with more kids. There’s a difference between rentals and home ownership. Look at this company’s (Kushner’s) reputation. Kushner owes us (the City) $4 million plus interest.”

Balut urged the PARA Members to do a serious consideration about this proposal. Looking at the artist rendering, Balut noticed that the two original buildings (the Landings) are whited out. “I don’t trust them,” Balut said.

The next speaker who came up was Planning Board Chair Maria Garcia. She remembered that in 2000 PARA approved plans regarding the Landings.

PARA Member Annie Hindenlang responded, “That’s when they came back to amend the original Landings Plans. The Executive Director and Business Administrator at that time did not approve the amendments.” Garcia responded, “We need to look at the prior contract. This new project is too big.”

Hindenlang responded, “This is just a first step. We are looking at a proposed plan. Other things and information have come up that changed the original plans.” Garcia ended her comments by remarking, “You should consider the people who purchased the Landings Units.”

Carlidge addressed the density concerns, “This plan calls for 61 units per acre. The City says that you can have 85 units per acre. We are under that.”

After this, several Landings Residents came up to speak. The following are some of their remarks:
“We paid for luxury apartments (the Landings) and they were supposed to be ownership only. As owners, we were given the opportunity to rent out our units. We paid a lot without getting the luxuries and then Kushner downgraded our units. With this proposed complex we are looking at a lot of outside parking for cars. We don’t want any rentals or outside parking. Why are we giving Kushner another project here? He has settled suits for shoddy buildings. Kushner isn’t going to build this (Sea Gate). We put our hard earned money down. Kushner showed he’s unable to build here. Don’t give him another chance.”

Landings Residents were not pleased with the proposed Sea Gate Project by Kushner Enterprises. Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

Landings Residents were not pleased with the proposed Sea Gate Project by Kushner Enterprises. *Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

Another Landings’ Resident went up to speak: “This project is a lot of smoke and mirrors. A lot of us are trying to get out of Perth Amboy. Kushner has hindered our Condo Association. You’re talking about more adults in small apartments. Rentals are not beneficial to the City. The Waterfront is a Gem in the Rough. It was all supposed to be ownership. There is a crime being committed here.”

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez came up to speak. “You guys (PARA Members) have a big decision. You should put out requests for proposals for new developers. Look at South Amboy – they’re doing beautiful projects. We haven’t collected any taxes for eight years on the properties on High and Fayette Streets. What other projects can be developed on the Waterfront? It’s going down in value. You guys have the power. The future lies in your hands.”

Daniel Pietro, who is on the Landings Condo Homeowners Association suggested that the developer’s proposal be posted on the City Website. “About 150 people will be displaced. We have struggled and rebuilt after Sandy. We are involved with three litigations against the Kushner Company. There are construction defects with the Landings Buildings and Kushner’s lawyers agreed with that. We are waiting on settlements. You should protect us from the rich and powerful. We’re also charging Kushner with fraud. We are making some headway. You need to look how it (the proposed project) will affect all of Perth Amboy. Work with us. I’m waiting before I pass any judgement.”

After Pietro sat down, another Landings’ Resident came up to speak, “Kushner would have finished his project if his family had decided not to sell 90 to 95 percent of his property in this state and invest in New York instead.”

Planning Board Member Christine Dispenziere said, “Kushner is not reliable. He’s a known builder and we got shoddy work. He blames it on the economy. A lot of renters are not invested in the City like we, the owners are. Our buildings (the Landings) are falling apart. Is he ever going to fix our buildings? Why invest time, energy and hope on someone who is not reliable?” Dispenziere urged PARA to look at other developers.

PARA Member Annie Hindenlang addressed some of these concerns, “I have been in and out of different roles. We have spent a year in litigation trying to make the last plan work. We are trying to do a compromise. They (Kushner) wanted to present a new concept because they own this property. It can be difficult to take property away from a developer. They have a right and privilege to be heard. They are trying to make the whole community better. I’m a renter and I am very vested in this City. Renters are not the worst to have in this City. The (old) Fire and Police Station are in this project.”

After Hindenlang spoke, one of Kushner’s attorney’s, Charles B. Liebling came forward to speak, “This project makes sense for what the market demands. Both parties decided that this new project is the best proposal and to work through past issues.”

PARA Member Joel Rosa had concerns that if there is a change in the economy that this will not change the proposed new plans.”

Liebling responded, “There’s similar plans that are being successfully built in other towns.”
During the second public portion Christine Dispenziere came up to speak again. She was rather annoyed because at one point during the presentation someone asked how would the Landings Residents benefit from this new development? The answer was that the Landings would basically be neighbors. Her concern was, “We’re going to be neighbors, but not able to use the Sea Gate’s amenities.”

Artist Rendering of Proposed Sea Gate Apartment Complex. * Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

Artist Rendering of Proposed Sea Gate Apartment Complex.
* Photo by Carolyn Maxwell

Ken Balut came up to speak again, too. “The Landings owners will not be treated to the amenities (Sea Gate). We are being treated as second class citizens. We are paying $100,000 in interest on the old buildings that Kushner has. We went from having restaurants to food trucks in this proposed project. Will the children play in the dog park? $1.8 million went back to Kushner projects. Our Code Enforcement did not do their jobs. Kushner has been involved in other projects such as the Pier Village and Mall in Eatontown.” Looking at the artist rendering, Balut wondered, “Where is the parking going to be? Are cars going to be ticketed like what was done in Harbortown because of a lack of residential parking?”

PARA Member Joel Pabon who was the Acting Chair at the Meeting said, “I know there’s a lot of heat going on, but we have to respect each other.”

Daniel Pietro came back up to speak: “The Kushner Representative gave a presentation in 2011 and this project looks better. The Kushners are in transient. Kusher holds all the cards. There may be a trial in court involving Kushner about fraud at the same time that you may be approving this project.”

Another Landings Resident came up to speak again. “They (Kushner) are in default. The City should have taken the land back a long time ago. This is fraud! If you approve this plan, you are helping to fraud the City and you’ll be liable! This is not a new project. It’s just a new name. All renters are not the same. 15%-20% are good renters. The rest wreck the apartments. When it snowed, our area was not plowed. Kushner depended on the City to clear his properties. We don’t owe him. He’s in default. He owe’s us.”

Planning Board Chair Maria Garcia came back up to speak and asked PARA if they did an analysis of what the market demands when it comes to housing units being built.

Annie Hindenlang responded, “We hired a firm to do a market analysis. What was analyzed was the City, County and Tri-State area. 60% of those looking are for rentals.”

One Landings Resident cautioned the new members of PARA not to be blind to the deficiencies of this developer. “Renters may or may not be part of this community.”

Annie Hindenlang reminded those in attendance, “This is just a presentation and there are no decisions being made here.”

One Response to “Presentation of Proposed Kushner Sea Gate Apartment Complex – 4/12/16 PARA Meeting”

  1. Jimmytown says:

    This is a good idea. the people of perth amboy should take it

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