Construction is starting on a $300 million, 12.5 acre science and innovation campus called SciTech Scity immediately adjacent to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City that is meant to attract start-ups to New Jersey’s second-largest city.
This first phase is slated to open by early 2024 and is part of a larger 30-acre “City of Tomorrow” campus across the Hudson River from Manhattan which will include the Liberty Science Center, according to a statement released earlier this month.
“We need an idea that’s going to change the face of Jersey City and New Jersey,” said Paul Hoffman, an author and the LSC’s president and chief executive officer, at the Oct. 22 groundbreaking ceremony outside the site.
He was accompanied by Gov. Phil Murphy, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and several other local officials and state lawmakers representing the city in the state Legislature.
“We are building a business optimizer. That’s a new breed of innovation… that’s both going to maximum commercial success and social impact,” Hoffman continued.
The first main component is Edge Works, an eight-story business incubator that will include a 40,000-square-foot conference center and tech exhibition gallery, and 60,000 square feet of search and development labs, offices and other workspace.
“We want to jumpstart the creation of early-stage science and tech companies that if they are successful, will radically change the world,” Hoffman said. Among the first publicly announced tenants at Edgeworks is Israel’s Sheba Medical Center
Another component of SciTech Scity will the Liberty Science High School, which will be operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology and accommodate 400 students in grades nine to 12. The curriculum will focus on academic pathways such as engineering and climate science, biological sciences and astrophysics, and include direct access to mentorship and work opportunities at Edgeworks and LSC.
“The truth of what’s so fabulous about this high school is we are raising a very strong signal, but we are also taking action to raise the next generation to understand we’re depending on them,” said Laura Overdeck, LSC’s vice chair and the planned principal of the new high school, at the ceremony. She and John Overdeck donated $5 million for the creation of the high school, which was matched by a number of smaller donations.
A third piece will be the Scholars Village, a 400-apartment residential complex that will be developed by real estate company Alpine Residential. “The Scholars Village residential housing is essential to making SciTech Scity a 24/7 community, and we engaged a first-rate developer,” Hoffman said in May.
The fourth component is a four-acre public commons, which will be accommodate a variety of facilities, including a skating rink and outdoor arena, maker fairs, farmers’ markets and science and tech showcase events.