About 14 months after Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla touted the Poggi Press site as the home of a new public safety complex, the city council finally put the kibosh on those plans by rescinding eminent domain at last night’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I am thankful and relieved that the City of Hoboken has relinquished its eminent domain claim on my property,” Charles Poggi said in a statement.
“Today, I am like every other property owner in Hoboken; I am free to use my property as I have long envisioned – within the bounds of the city’s redevelopment law. I can dream again.
The second reading of the ordinance to rescind eminent domain at 1501 Adams St., was approved unanimously (9-0) early on at the roughly two-hour meeting yesterday without any discussion.
Bhalla first mentioned the plan during his third annual State of the City Address in March 2022, which eventually turned into a potential $192.5 million municipal complex that would also include the department of public works, the municipal court, council chambers, a municipal pool, a library, community center, and more.
However, it was never meant to be, even though Bhalla said one year ago that “there’s no way it’s not gonna happen.”
While the council voted 5-4 to approve eminent domain shortly after Bhalla’s State of the City, the project essentially stalled out after the second reading of a related $44 million bond ordinance could not find a sixth vote on second reading.
“I can dream because four people on the city council had the courage, the independence and wisdom to withhold their vote for financing the city’s eminent domain claim for a $200 million project,” Poggi also said, thanking Council members Mike DeFusco, Tiffanie Fisher, Ruben Ramos, and Jen Giattino for refusing to change their votes.
“I hold no ill will toward Mayor Bhalla and his administration for trying to turn my family’s long-held property into a showcase city asset. It is not a bad thing for elected official to dream big and be bold in their visions for the future. That’s what leaders should do. But their power to dream big must be tempered with justice; their dreams must be more than just their dreams.”
The third generation owner of the property, had been opposed to the project since day one and spoke in front of the council in July when the city council voted to allow the Hudson County Improvement Authority to consider acquiring the site.
However, that also never came to fruition.
The city stressed the need of a new DPW site to complete their Monarch deal with Ironstate Development by November 2024, but they have since pivoted to a lot between Madison, Jefferson, 15th, and 16th Streets – a lot currently occupied by Academy Bus.
The council approved the $84,310,150 bond the property right before Christmas.
Another example of Mayor Bhalla and his City Council Team refused to see an alternate position from others spent a lot of taxpayer money, pounded a legitimate land owner, wasted many months of the short time the City had and then the better plan is forced upon him and he and his Team try to take a victory lap.
Pretty disgraceful, even for Ravi.
“Oh 100 percent, it’s gonna get done one way or another. In terms of how, we’re just gonna go through the process and that process of democracy,” he said during an interview at a belated birthday bash fundraiser last night.
“It’s like making sausage: it’s never easy, sometimes it’s messy, but we are 1,000 percent committed to uplifting our city employees: our fire, police, essential workers, people who work on the front lines every day to protect our residents. Those are the people that this complex is gonna benefit, as well as the residents. There’s so much vision and potential behind this project: there’s no way it’s not gonna happen.”
HINT: It didn’t happen.
Also, Not Gonna Happens:
-Hilton Hotel Downtown
-1501 Grand Development
-NYWW Not Leaving Union Dry Dock (aka “Maritime Park”)
-A New Hoboken High School
-Biden’s 2nd Term
-Ravi’s Future in Politics