The 6-3 vote came after 11 p.m. at the end of a four-hour public hearing in front of a crowd that initially numbered about 150.
The action transfers the city land to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, which intends to sell the property to SciTech Scity, a new arm of Liberty Science Center, for $10.
Council members who voted in favor of transferring the land were Watterman, Rolando Lavarro, Daniel Rivera, Frank Gajewski, Candice Osborne and Jermaine Robinson. Councilmen Chris Gadsden, Rich Boggiano and Michael Yun voted no.
SciTech Scity would be a massive science workshop and office building that would include a K-12 school focused on science, technology, engineering and math and a 50,000-square-foot residential facility with dorm-style rooms, a hotel and apartments.
It would be located on Phillip Street, adjacent to Liberty Science Center.
LSC CEO Paul Hoffman, in his comments to the council, dismissed complaints about Liberty Science Center's finances, saying the museum has been "in the black" since he took over in 2011.
Tax documents that show LSC operating with a deficit are misleading, he said, because they include the value of depreciation on the building itself and do not include donations for capital projects like its planetarium.
Hoffman said SciTech Scity would allow more Jersey City students to receive a specialized STEM education; include a 24-hour coding academy for anyone who wants to learn programming skills; provide space for start-up companies to create products and technology; and more.
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