Developer and Jackson agree on housing count

Staff Writer

A consent order between Jackson officials and the company developing Jackson Twenty-One will be reviewed by a state Superior Court judge and could pave the way for the construction of the project’s mixed-use section.

Jackson Twenty-One is being developed by Leigh Realty.

During the March 24 meeting of the Township Council, the members of the governing body unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the consent order, which outlines affordable housing requirements and establishes minimum square footage standards for mixed commercial development on the development’s north site.

“This is a major stepping stone. Both sides agree this is a good thing for the township,” Councilman Kenneth Bressi said. “This has been a long time coming.”

Leigh Realty manager Tom Bovino could not be reached for comment.

Jackson Twenty-One is a residential and commercial project that is expected to include thousands of residential units and about 3 million square feet of commercial space on 611 acres off Interstate 195 at exit 21 in Jackson.

According to the resolution, the north site of Jackson Twenty- One spans 435 acres and is south of Interstate 195, east of Diamond Road, west of Herman Road and north of Jackson Mills Road. In that area, residential units will primarily be second-floor dwellings over shops at street level.

According to the Jackson Twenty-One website, the housing development will feature sections to be known as the Quads, the Woods, the Townhomes, the Village Green, the Gardens and La Colonie des Artistes.

Officials said the consent order had previously been approved by the Planning Board in November.

The consent order stipulates that a portion of the north site be “developed as an inclusionary development (i.e., a development that includes affordable housing)” with at least 1,365 to a maximum of 2,500 residential units and have at least 20 percent of the units be designated as nonage-restricted affordable housing units to meet state guidelines. The consent order also calls for “a minimum of 273,000 square feet of mixed commercial development … to be phased in with commercial square footage at a ratio of 200 square feet of commercial development for each approved residential unit.”

The consent order is the result of a lawsuit between Leigh Realty and Jackson after the parties were unable to agree on an appropriate residential density for the north site.

Council President Barry Calogero said the developer’s initial proposal called for upwards of 5,000 residential units without as much commercial development. He described that plan as “unacceptable.”

“The Superior Court sent us back to a mediator and told us to work it out,” Calogero said.

Bressi said infrastructure work on the south site of Jackson Twenty-One, on West Commodore Boulevard, west of Route 527, has begun. The south site will include 510 one- and two-bedroom rental units in 44 two-story buildings.

Plans for Jackson Twenty-One also include a sports facility, an entertainment complex with an IMAX theater, studios for musicians and artists, shops, offices and a restaurant row. There will be a recreation center and a swimming pool.

Jackson Twenty-One was proposed and championed for many years by Broadway composer Mitch Leigh.

Leigh died in March 2014 at the age of 86, but work has advanced on the plan. Bressi said he, his colleagues on the council and others in Jackson are thrilled the project has started to move forward.

“It has been great working with Mitch Leigh and his team, as well as his estate after his passing,” Bressi said.