The Bayonne Bridge seen from Dennis P. Collins Park in Bayonne. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

Bayonne, the peninsular Hudson County city, hopes that it is poised for a growth spurt.

Construction on two large sites is expected to begin within the next couple of years. One development will bring apartments to an old military base, and the other to a site formerly owned by an oil company near the Bayonne Bridge.

The city spans 5.8 square miles and has around 65,000 residents, according to Census statistics. Newark Bay is to the west, and New York Bay lies to the east.

Bayonne began to be built up in the mid-19th century, with industrial and maritime trades forming the backbone of the local economy. Today, many residents commute to New York City and other parts of New Jersey for work.

New development will "stabilize our tax base," said Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, who took office last month.

Businesses along Broadway in the city. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

Developers plan to construct a few hundred units of housing in the first phase of redevelopment of Bayonne's former Military Ocean Terminal, according to Joseph DeMarco, the city's business administrator.

The other large redevelopment site has been in the midst of environmental remediation in conjunction with its former owner, Chevron Corp. , according to Jason Kaplan, president of Kaplan Cos., a developer based in Highland Park, N.J.

Mr. Kaplan said his firm intends to begin review proceedings with the city for a development on the land within the next few months and that the project, which will be constructed in phases, is expected to have some 1,500 units when completed.

The company currently is finishing construction on an apartment complex called Camelot at Bayonne, which will have 96 units with rents beginning at $1,700 a month.

The city also hopes to eventually have a ferry service to Manhattan that would operate from a portion of the redeveloped military base, according to Mr. DeMarco, who noted that improving commuting options is a perennial concern in Bayonne.

"You've heard of location, location, location—our mantra is transportation, transportation, transportation," said Mr. DeMarco. "Bayonne is a peninsula and we don't have ferry service to Manhattan, which really doesn't make sense," he said, noting that a ferry ride could be as short as 10 minutes to Manhattan.

At this point, however, plans for launching a ferry service are in the early discussion phases within the city's administration, according to a spokesman for the mayor.

Public transportation options in Bayonne improved in recent years with the introduction of light-rail service, but the commute to Midtown Manhattan generally takes an hour or more with a connection to PATH service.

NJ Transit's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail began opened in 2000 and now serves four stations in the city.

The Bayonne Bridge connects the city to Staten Island. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the bridge, has begun a multiyear project to elevate the roadway of the span, which was originally built in 1931. The goal is to allow larger cargo ships using the Panama Canal to pass underneath the bridge.

A Hudson-Bergen Light Rail train near Bayonne's Eighth Street station. Claudio Papapietro for The Wall Street Journal

Work on the project, which is expected to cost around $1.3 billion, began last year and should be finished in 2017, according to city officials, who say they have been working with the Port Authority to address resident concerns about traffic delays, noise and environmental issues during the construction.

"We have set up a local hotline and have a one-on-one relationship with the Port Authority," said Mr. Davis.

Real-estate agents say home values are recovering following the 2008 market bust. The median sales price in Bayonne in the second quarter was $270,000, according to, 9.1% higher than the same period in 2013 but 6.1% less than the median sales price five years ago.

Bayonne is attractive to some transplants from other sections of Hudson County—including downtown Jersey City and Hoboken—as well as New York City boroughs like Queens and Brooklyn, according to brokers. While housing prices tend to be lower than in those areas, property taxes typically run higher.

Annual property taxes in Bayonne generally run between $7,000 and $8,000 on one-family homes and between $10,000 and $12,000 on two-families, said Annette Rubin, the owner of Exit on the Hudson Realty.

Parks: Bayonne recreation spaces include Stephen R. Gregg Bayonne County Park, which has a river walkway next to Newark Bay as well as sports fields and a playground.

Schools: There are 11 public elementary schools in Bayonne. P.S. 14, the Nicholas Oresko School, has a gifted and talented program. At Bayonne High School, which has an enrollment of around 2,600, 51% of the class of 2013 went on to four-year colleges, according to the Bayonne Board of Education website. Roman Catholic schools include All Saints Catholic Academy and Marist High School.

Restaurants: Buon Appetito, on Broadway, features entrees such as veal Marsala and baked manicotti. El Aguila Dorada, also on Broadway, has Tex-Mex offerings like burritos and enchiladas.

Shopping: Stores at the Bayonne Crossing Shopping Center, off Route 440, include a Wal-Mart and a Lowe's. The nearby South Cove Commons mall has a Staples and a Houlihan's restaurant.

Entertainment: Frank Theatres, at the South Cove Commons mall, shows first-run movies.