The developer has also agreed with Regal Cinemas to build a 55,000-square-foot movie theater complex, and is in talks with about 20 other potential retail tenants. Over few months to 10 years, the development promises to add 750,000 square feet of office space, 1,000 hotel rooms, and 2,000 apartments with a view of the Raritan River.
By 2017, The Pointe will have its own highway interchange, adjacent Garden State Parkway and U.S. 9 and Route 35 nearby. Together, these highways will carry roughly 600,000 people a day to and from jobs in New York City or to Jersey Shore towns to the south, according to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the state’s Department of Transportation and Maser Consulting, an engineering firm working on the project.
The developer’s chief executive, Brian. O’Neill said, in an interview, “One hundred percent of New Jersey shore visitors pass through this intersection if they are coming from the five boroughs of New York City, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.”
“In summertime, there are days when there are a million cars, or two or three million people, coming through this intersection,” he said, “which makes for one of the most spectacular opportunities for retailers to expose themselves to their clientele.”
Over-populated New Jersey has long sought to redevelop these contaminated tracts formerly used for industrial purposes. O’Neill bought the Sayreville site for $80 million in 2008, twenty years after it was abandoned by National Lead (NL), which had manufactured paint pigment there since the ‘30s. In early 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency directed the company to pay $79 million to clean up a 40-acre lagoon, where Bass Pro Shops will build its new store.
Cleaning up the lagoon was more challenging than O’Neill and his son imagined,
“We were unaware of the depth and consistency of the material that was in the lagoon,” Brian O’Neill Jr., said. “In some places it turned out to be 10 feet thick of this acidic paintlike substance, like quicksand.”
The solution was to inject 38,000 tons of portland cement into hundreds of cells in the lagoon, an operation that took a year and a half and has now created a stable site where Bass Pro Shops can build. Remediation on other parts of the site is continuing, and some environmental permits are still pending, Mr. O’Neill Jr. said.
When the project is complete, Mr. An abandoned area of coastal New Jersey is undergoing a revitalization that will bring construction of housing, retail space and office space 30 minutes from Lower Manhattan.
O’Neill Properties Group will be breaking ground on the nearly 6 million-square-foot project called The Pointe. The 418-acre site, south of Staten Island, is at the heart of a highway network that carries around 400,000 vehicles a day directly past the site.
The groundbreaking will make way for the anchor retail tenant, Bass Pro Shops, to build a 200,000-square-foot store. The store is expected to open in June 2017 as the first stage of a planned 2.4 million square feet of retail space.
O’Neill Sr. said, 221 million people annually will drive by almost a handful digital billboards measuring up to 44,000 square feet — bigger than the billboard at Times Square.
With seven digital media towers, alongside the Garden State Parkway, the development will create 226,000 square feet of digital signage – a major opportunity for advertisers to reach millions of people at a lower cost to the advertisers.
The new development received a nod of approval by Kennedy O’Brien, Sayreville’s mayor, who said NJ officials approved it for its mixed-use project/residential element. That offers Sayreville the prospect of reviving its depressed center, he said, which was built more than 100 years ago and has scarce parking and very little economic opportunity.
Sayreville, which formerly made bricks for the construction of Manhattan and munitions for World War I, is a middle-income community of almost 45,000 people. Homeownership is high, foreclosures are low and church attendance is almost mandatory. Continues O’Brien, “It’s a Norman Rockwell American town.”
And the tax benefits and increase of revenue doesn’t hurt.
“This will provide a great injection of extra money into our tax base,” Mr. O’Brien said. “It will provide employment opportunities, and Bass Pro Shops will provide a great place for husbands to go when their wives go shopping.”