Planning Board Approves a Second Apartment Complex on MLK Drive at April 6 Meeting

JERSEY CITY, NJ – With the Jersey City Planning Board’s approval, developers will convert a pair of vacant lots in Jackson Hill into a combination of retail and apartments including a rooftop deck. 

Designs for the mixed-use building at 124-126 Martin Luther King Drive contain two ground floor storefronts and 25 residential units spread across five stories. At a meeting on April 6, the board’s commissioners granted permission for real estate investor Raphael Toral of Jersey City to merge the two unused parcels into one property. 

“To the person in the public looking at this lot, nothing’s going to change as to its actual character,” Edward Kolling, a planner from the engineering firm Dresdner Robin, said. “It’s just that the lots will be consolidated for more comprehensive development.” 

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At street level, a nearly 930-square-foot retail space on the modified L-shaped structure’s northern side will sit on the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Fulton Avenue. A second store measuring over 950 square feet is slated for the building’s southern side, with the residential lobby placed in between the vendors. 

After entering the lobby, tenants will have access to 14 bicycle storage slots and rooms for packages and waste disposal. Renderings from LWDMR Architects indicate that the complex also features an 835-square-foot one-bedroom apartment on the southeast side of the first story, which offers its own rear yard. 

“The intent is to make the ground floor walkable, promote foot traffic, and activate the commercial area as it once was,” architect Eli Martin said. 

Across the four remaining stories, Martin provided 16 additional one-bedroom apartments and eight studio units. The three one-bedroom units directly above the street level apartment—and one studio unit per floor—will have their own balconies. 

The smallest studios measure 420 square feet, while the largest one-bedroom apartments above the first floor are 735 square feet. 

Martin allocated the cellar for utilities and storage. The tower terminates at a green roof that hosts a 565-square-foot deck and houses multiple condensing units. 

To create the northern and western façades, Martin utilized brickwork and aluminum at the ground floor and alternated between brick and two shades of gray corrugated steel on the higher stories. A stucco finish will cover the rear of the building. 

According to the renderings, the brick portions of the upper floors form a four-foot overhang above the retail and lobby, and the steel sections extend just a foot over the sidewalk. The corner of the facility touching Martin Luther King Drive and Fulton Avenue will cut in from the road to leave more room for pedestrians and set the retail entrance back from the intersection.

The site is located just over a half mile walk from the Richard Street Light Rail Station. In addition to this project, the Planning Board authorized another mixed-use complex at 541-547 Martin Luther King Drive during the April 6 meeting, clearing way for 36 more apartments and three spaces for retailers. 

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