Mayor Fulop, About the Annex…

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 7:30pm, the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) will host Mayor Steven Fulop for Q&A during their monthly meeting.  One issue likely to be discussed is the community building at 180 9th Street — aka “the Cordero Annex” or “the former Golden Door Charter School.”  The building has been the subject of contention in recent months due to four public preK classrooms that may be closed if the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) cannot re-lease the space in the 2014-15 school year.

On May 15, 2014, the JCRA released an RFP (“request for proposal”) inviting prospective tenants to submit bids to lease the property for a minimum of five years. Sources say the JCBOE is submitting a bid, but other entities (e.g. Hudson County schools, charter schools, private schools) may submit bids too.

The ultimate tenant – JCBOE, a county school, a private school, or a charter school – is of increasing importance to downtown Jersey City. Classroom capacity is in short supply, due at least in part to recent revelations that the City has been under-estimating the number of public school children who will live in abated buildings.

Who the tenant would be will determine how the building will benefit the surrounding community.  Generally speaking:

  • If the building is leased to the Jersey City Board of Education, the school will be used to educate neighborhood children in the traditional public school model.
  • If the building is leased to a charter school, Jersey City children would be selected for the school via lottery.
  • If the school is leased to Hudson County, Jersey City students would be eligible to attend the school along with children from the county’s eleven other municipalities.
  • If the building is leased to a private school, parents would pay for their children to attend.

With other local, public elementary schools at or near capacity, the City needs a solution for its rapidly expanding public school population.  And so the question is: who will ultimately rent 180 9th Street long-term?  

Here are some facts around the building (taken from RFP and JCBOE sources):

Cordero - Building Profile Facts

And here is a quick overview of downtown public school capacity, taken from Volume 2 of the JCBOE’s demographic study:

Downtown Public School Capacity

Two pertinent questions that a member of the Community could ask of the Mayor tomorrow night are:

  1. Is the City taking the two-volume demographic studies, commissioned by the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE), into consideration?
  2. Will the bids be judged solely on financial cost, or will ancillary factors such as the benefit of housing JCPS students – versus private school or county school students – be taken into consideration?

It is a credit to the Mayor that he will be showing up to take questions from the community.  And it is an opportunity for the community to get some answers.

6 Comments

  1. Are the only bidders schools?

    The building was built as a community center. This was something of a fiction, because Mayor Schundler wanted to build the place for the Golden Door Charter School. but public funds couldn’t be used for that purpose. So it was built and the Golden Door then leased it. Still, it has a variety of uses for the community. St. Anthony’s uses the gym as its home court for basketball games. There are indoor soccer leagues, and other groups use it for lessons, etc.

    • The RFP states the city is looking at an education-related tenant. The link to the RFP is provided if you want to learn more.

        • Thank you Joshua – the link is now fixed.

          FYI, the link to the file currently is: https://thejcra.sharefile.com/i/i086e65fe1a9444a9. The link is currently available on the home page http://www.thejcra.org.

          Also – the JCRA requires you to create an account to view any files. It’s a one-time thing, and you have options of being notified of any updates to new uploads or changes, which is pretty cool if you want to track documents related to a property. This is my first time using JCRA’s document download feature.

          • Thanks. It looks like from the terms of the RFP the JCRA is favoring a school that would service all JC schoolchildren regardless of school zone. An application by JCPS just to use it as an annex to a zone school would not appear to be responsive to the RFP.

  2. The Cordero school itself is deficient. There have been redevelopment plans and tax abatements over the past dozen years in the immediate area that have not done what they were intended to do – make the area better including Hamilton Square and the Newport buildings on 10th St. and there is plenty more on the horizon. If we were going to truly demand community giveback or bonuses, I believe along with additional park space, a replacement for Cordero ranks up there. Which could be the community center / annex. I have always had the gut feeling that the land was being warehoused for future development by JCRA (subjective), but what is it worth? The Hamilton Park neighborhood is long past being depressed so what does it gain from more development? If it cannot improve infrastructure (schools, parks etc), why give variances, bonuses and not only leave as of right?

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