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BAYONNE, NJ-It was showtime for one of the largest redevelopment plans ever proposed in New Jersey, and after the curtain went up the show drew nothing but raves. The audience consisted of the Bayonne city council and at least 300 other interested parties; following the performance, late last week, the city council signaled its unanimous approval.

On display was a $32 billion mixed-use plan to redevelop the now-closed Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal. What the plan, developed by the Local Redevelopment Authority, has in store are 18 million sf of mixed uses for this city of 65,000 on New York harbor. The timeline is between 20 and 30 years (see earlier story).

MOT, as it’s called, is a federal port facility that was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Committee in 1995. It’s more than 2.5 miles long and a third of a mile wide, adding up to nearly one square mile of redevelopment potential. The plan that the LRA unveiled late last week includes a mix of office towers, townhouses, a major shopping complex, a marina, revamped port facilities and a movie production studio. City officials expect to create as many as 15,000 jobs, and by any standard the redevelopment promises to change the face of this city.

“Adopting this plan is the most important action taken by any Bayonne city council in the last century,” councilwoman and LRA commissioner May Jane Desmond told the gallery at last week’s meeting. “This project will not only create jobs, but they will be good jobs that this city and its families can thrive on.”

Added city council president Vincent Lo Re, Jr., “the LRA’s redevelopment plan is an important document, and it’s a balanced plan. We have taken a very important step by ratifying this plan tonight.”

The city council has yet to reveal its schedule and plans in terms of seeking developers and beginning the development process. Portions of the site are already in use, including a drydock, an automobile warehouse, a New Jersey Transit park-and-ride lot and temporary movie production facilities rented by Viacom and Universal Pictures. Demolition is underway on some of the 75 buildings dotting the landscape. A street grid pattern is in place, and the site includes a housing complex.

Final transfer of the site from the U.S. Army to the City of Bayonne is nearly done. Bayonne’s Municipal Utility Authority already owns most of the water-related infrastructure, and the Bayonne Police Department shares law enforcement jurisdiction with the State of New Jersey and the U.S. Department of Defense.

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