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BAYONNE, NJ-The 10-acre site has had its glory days–PT boats supplied to the US Navy and Coast Guard, future president John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 among them, were launched from it back in the 1940s. More recently, however, it has been occupied by a ramshackle marina and a burned-out warehouse.

Now, however, Baker Residential of Morris Plains, NJ, a division of the Baker Cos. of Pleasantville, NY, wants to return the acreage to productive real estate use. Company officials are proposing to develop a 160-unit townhouse community called The Boatworks at Bayonne on the former Electric Boat Co. tract, and they’re putting a $45 million price tag on their project. The proposal is slated to be officially presented to this city’s planning board in early July.

Baker is also currently under contract to purchase the site from the Mecca Family of Jersey City, which acquired it back in the 1980s with the intention of redeveloping it as an industrial property. That project never came to be, mostly because of local opposition. Baker, meanwhile, faces a New Jersey DEP permitting process in addition to securing the approval of local officials.

As currently proposed, The Boatworks is actually a scaled back version of the 250-unit townhome project Baker initially wanted to do. The smaller version is a result of ongoing meetings between company and local officials, during which issues of density were consistently raised. An estimated $1.5 million a year in property taxes are expected to accrue to the city.

Amenities would include recreational facilities and an outdoor pool, according to Robert Holmes, property manager for Baker Residential. Existing marina facilities would be replaced by a new 60-slip operation, and a waterfront walkway would include a monument to the site’s past as a PT manufacturing and launch facility. According to Holmes, the waterfront facilities will require only the rebuilding of an existing bulkhead.

Baker Residential has 10 multifamily projects currently finished or underway in the Garden State. The closest project to The Boatworks at Bayonne is the company’s Lighthouse Bay in South Amboy, about 10 miles to the south.

Bayonne, of course, is in the early stages of redeveloping the former Military Ocean Terminal site as a mixed-use property with a substantial residential component. The MOT site is located a few miles to the north of Baker’s proposed development.

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