Carteret Waterfront Development Ushes in a New Era as the ‘New Hoboken’

Carteret’s downtown and waterfront redevelopment zone will bring more than $1 billion in projects to the Borough, including a ferry terminal, movie studio, and several mixed-use buildings, according to officials.

More than $48 million in federal and state grants soon will bring the only municipally owned ferry operation to the Borough of Carteret, according to Carteret Mayor Mayor Daniel J. Reiman. In addition, a 10-story Intermodal Transportation Building will feature a ferry terminal, a ticket office, restrooms, a bar, restaurants, retail, office space, a banquet center, a training facility, and a bed & breakfast.

The ferry project has been in motion for 15 years, aided by federal and state grants secured by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, and the state Department of Transportation.

Since 2016, the Borough has received a $6 million federal grant and a $1 million state grant for two ferry boats, both 149-passenger Catamarans. The first was expected to arrive by early spring. The second is being built by NJ TRANSIT, targeted for delivery within the next 18 months. Another $21 million from various funding sources is for the water side and land side improvements, Mayor Reiman said, adding that if all goes according to plan, the borough is looking at “looking at a fall ’24 or spring ’25 opening.”

“So out of that $48 million, $20 million is set aside for the Carteret Intermodal Transportation Building,” Mayor Reiman said. “This will allow the NJ TRANSIT buses, municipal jitneys, and NJ Rideshare to drop passengers off at this building, and then they’ll hop onto the ferry to Manhattan. There will be two to three stops in Manhattan leaving about four times a day and arriving back to Carteret four times a day. Four times in the morning and four times in the evening. That’s the initial projection. We’ll increase that as ridership demands.”

Talk of the ferry has attracted interest in two hotel groups to operate full-scale hotels within the waterfront redevelopment area. One is part of Carteret Stages, a designated and approved $1 billion waterfront redevelopment project that also includes 500,000 square feet of studio soundstage and film production facilities, as well as commercial and office space, restaurants, retail, and a 1,200-car parking garage.

Also of note for future commuters to New York is talk of the construction of two 12-story towers bringing 500 units to a 5-acre site the Borough recently acquired, Mayor Reiman said.

“There’s the opportunity to expand our Riverwalk and boardwalk,” the Mayor said. “Working with the state, we’ve completed about a mile and a half of boardwalk now, and we’ll be adding another mile going north. Once it’s completed, we’ll have two and a half miles, but that’s just the first step because the next part of that is to acquire the abandoned Conrail line that runs parallel to Peter J. Sica Industrial Highway and to the waterfront. We would create this loop. In essence, we would create this five-mile Rails to Trails to boardwalk concept. It really highlights all of the investment and all of the opportunity along the waterfront,” he said.

Profits made from the sale of sites that the Carteret Business Partnership, the Borough’s nonprofit economic development agency, and its nonprofit Carteret Redevelopment Agency acquired helped pay for the $50 million state-of-the-art URSB Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center. Operating since the fall of 2021 with a diverse list of artists that included performances by John Waite, Scotty McCreery, Constantine Maroulis and The Steve Miller Band— the 50,000-square-foot arts center hosts private galas, Broadway-style shows, musical acts, conventions and more. In addition to a main auditorium that holds up to 2,000, a Miami-like rooftop cigar-bar lounge and gazebo has a capacity of 250, while a basement black box theater also serves as a dining area prior to mainstage shows. The auditorium features luxury boxes sponsored by various corporations that are based locally.

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