Next to the six-lane highway that bursts westward out of the Holland tunnel, a humble 80-year-old, four-story development is nestled among the sparkling new high-rise condominiums in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Holland Gardens, one of Jersey City’s five public housing complexes, could soon look a lot more like its modern neighbors. After a public-private redevelopment plan was pushed forward this month, the site will be transformed into a 631-unit mixed-income development that preserves public housing and adds affordable senior units, homeownership condos and market-rate apartments.
The plan to replace Holland Gardens represents an innovative process for financing and designing ways to preserve public housing, and aims to avoid the pitfalls of previous redevelopment projects. The blueprint — which could become reality in as soon as four years — emerged from years of community engagement, and will include new amenities, retail outlets, services and community space. While some tenants and local leaders are excited, others aren’t so sure. The rebuilding requires involuntary relocation with a promise of a right to return when the project is completed.
As cities across the US struggle to fund repairs and maintenance for aging public housing, Jersey City’s approach to mixed-income development and community engagement could hold lessons for other city leaders. The project’s success may hinge on how the city manages the relocation process.
Read Bloomberg's article "Jersey City Is Trying to Reimagine Public Housing Redevelopment."