City of Hoboken reaches terms to acquire Union Dry Dock from NY Waterway for $18.5M

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After years of public feuding, the City of Hoboken has reached terms to acquire Union Dry Dock from New York Waterway for a price tag of $18.5 million.

Union Dry Dock. Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“New Jersey is committed to protecting and preserving our shorelines and waterfront areas. This agreement is a major step forward in our collective efforts to connect Hudson County’s waterfront and provide more open, public space for all New Jersey residents to utilize,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

“I applaud Mayor Bhalla and New York Waterway for working together to identify a path forward that will not only improve mass transit infrastructure, but also enhance the quality of life and local environment of our waterfront community.”

After the adoption of the memorandum of understanding, the city and NY Waterway will formalize the terms agreed to by the parties, which will include acquisition costs of approximately $14.5 million from Hoboken’s Open Space Trust Fund at no impact to the municipal budget, as well as an additional $4 million, which the city will bond for.

As a part of the agreement, upon the city’s acquisition of the land, they would temporarily lease back the Union Dry Dock property to NY Waterway for a designated period of time, until the permanent ferry station in Weehawken is complete.

During that time, Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration is proposing to initiate a thorough public process to determine the permanent design of the park.

He stuck to his guns from a November 2018 press conference where he said Union Dry Dock would only become a NY Waterway facility “over my dead body.”

“The agreement we’ve reached with New York Waterway is one of the most consequential in our City’s history. Hoboken has been fighting for a continuous waterfront for decades, and I’m beyond thrilled this will finally become a reality. Our residents can now look forward to a waterfront that will become fully public, fully accessible, and fully open for all to enjoy,” Bhalla said.

“I am beyond grateful to Governor Murphy and his staff, and New York Waterway for working with us to come to this deal that will dramatically improve Hoboken’s waterfront for generations to come. And, I thank the thousands of residents who have voiced support for our efforts, which helped make this day possible.”

In 2019, Hoboken appraised the Union Dry Dock property at $13.1 million, while New York Waterway appraised the property at $24 million.

The agreement between the parties will end all eminent domain proceedings, with the last one approved in September 2019, and potential litigation, which may have subjected the city to several million dollars in additional costs.

“I thank the Murphy Administration for helping to mediate this long-standing dispute over the Union Dry Dock property. Hoboken and New York Waterway are too important to each other to remain at odds. It is time for all of us to resolve our issues and move forward,” added NY Waterway CEO and President Armand Pohan.

“Fund for a Better Waterfront is excited to support this agreement that secures Union Dry Dock, one of the final missing links in Hoboken’s public waterfront park. Once built, the park will be a credit to the Mayor and the many people who joined in this hard-fought battle,” explained Fund for a Better Waterfront Executive Director Ron Hine.

The MOU and purchase agreement between the City and New York Waterway is subject to approval of the Hoboken City Council at the July 7 City Council meeting.

“What an amazing day for Hoboken! Thank you to Mayor Bhalla, Fund for a Better Waterfront, and all involved who persevered to protect the waterfront,” exclaimed 2nd Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.

“And especially the Hoboken community who never stopped advocating. Your voices were instrumental in making this historic day happen.”

State Senator Brian Stack (D-33) and the New Jersey Sierra Club also voiced their approval for the preliminary agreement between Hoboken and NY Waterway.