Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


A New Kind of Workplace Community

Project Name
: Kearny Point
Repurposing of a former shipbuilding complex into flexible office, commercial and public waterfront spaces, with a heavy emphasis on green infrastructure

Partners: Hugo Neu Corporation, Town of Kearny, STUDIOS Architecture, WXY architecture + urban design

Special citation for extensive use of a wide range of innovative green infrastructure features to manage stormwater throughout the development

In July 1917 the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company began building ships, primarily for the U.S. Navy, on a small peninsula called Kearny Point where the Hackensack River meets Newark Bay. By World War II Federal Shipbuilding was providing jobs for more than 50,000 people and had a reputation for building ships faster than any other yard in the world. After World War II it shifted its operations to ship-breaking, and until the mid-1970s was one of the country’s largest salvage yards.

Operations declined as ship-building relocated to ports along the U.S. gulf coast, and in 2012, substantial damage from Hurricane Sandy rendered the complex non-functional.

The Hugo Neu Corporation, which specializes in salvage and recycling and which had purchased the property, had been using it for dismantling and scrapping operations in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit. Rather than rebuild what had been there previously, the company made the decision to redevelop the complex into an innovative series of flex-, co-working, industrial and event spaces that would provide small businesses with affordable office and manufacturing space and would spur meaningful economic development for the region.

What the company first considered a risk — introducing an untested product type into the market — turned out to be one of the project’s biggest successes. In targeting small businesses and entrepreneurs, they had identified a significantly underserved sector of the market, and they designed the first building to undergo renovation to meet that sector’s specific needs and challenges. The building is now home to more than 100 small businesses, more than 70 percent of which are women- or minority-owned. Complementing the workspaces and helping to establish a sense of community are the Dry Dock Bistro, shared communal spaces, and a planned amphitheater and waterfront park. To better connect the site to nearby housing centers, Hugo Neu is developing transportation alternatives that will serve employees and patrons, including an agreement with Uber to provide shuttle service from Jersey City.

Future buildings will cater to food manufacturers, freelancers, and artists. When complete, the project is expected to create more than 5,000 jobs, making it truly a new kind of urban workplace community.

Special Citation: Just as significant as what’s going on inside the buildings are the green stormwater management features outside. Impervious surfaces are being removed wherever possible, and replaced with planted areas and native habitat that reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering the Hackensack River. Stormwater runoff will also be captured and cleansed by green infrastructure features including green roofs, bioswales and planters. The combination of these measures plus the ongoing ecological restoration will mean that Kearny Point and neighboring areas will enjoy greater protection from storm and flooding events.


Supporting Partners: Cushman & Wakefield; Bohler Engineering; HR&A Advisors Inc.; Matrix New World Engineering Inc.; Pearlman & Miranda LLC; Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants; Silman; AKF Group LLC; Beckerman Public Relations; The Buchholz Architectural Group; Code Consultants Inc.; Digital DUMBO; eDesign Dynamics LLC; Ready Set Rocket; Sills Cummis Gross P.C.

Video produced by Lori H. Ersolmaz, Voices of Hope Productions, LLC. © 2017 All rights reserved.

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