The Hoboken City Council approved the Monroe Center Hoboken Urban Renewal project, also known as the 7th and Jackson Redevelopment Plan, a $57 million endeavor for the city.
â€œFor me as a third ward councilman, who has been fighting this fight for over thirteen years, [this is] to make sure that my residents in my community have a park within the ward, other than one small water park on Third and Madison [Streets],â€ stated Hoboken 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo.
The $57 million in amenities features two acres of open space, a 6,835 square foot gymnasium, 424 residential units, 42 of which will be affordable housing, 30,000 square feet commercial or retail space and 250,000 gallons of underground storm water detention.
In addition, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer also committed to annually pay the Hoboken School District of an amount equal to
â€œ(1) 25 percent of the annual PILOT revenue received by the City from this project of (2) the number of K-12 students residents in the project and attending Hoboken School District K-12 schools multiplied by the School Choice reimbursement for that year up to a maximum of 50% of the Cityâ€™s annual Pilot revenue from this project.â€
As for the low-income housing, the 42 units of affordable housing will be available to those with moderate income, but will not exclude any possible tenants with lower income.
All Hoboken residents will be given priority to the building, but they must prove that 30% of their income can go towards rent.
Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher did not agree that this was made clear on the resolution, nor to the attending public, what â€œmoderate incomeâ€ meant.
Hoboken 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham also explained his worry.
â€œIts $52 million worth of amenities thatâ€™s being put up, upfront, before thereâ€™s one dollar that comes through the door to pay for the financing that the developer needs to build the whole project.â€
According to this pilot, both the two-acre park and the gymnasium will be built prior to the residential units.
â€œAnd those pros far exceed the cons of the pilot payments. The City of Hoboken will be far better after this project is complete,â€ argued Russo.
Additionally, Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) andÂ former Hoboken 4th Ward Councilman Tim Ochhipinti urged the board to approve the resolution.
The final vote was 7-2, with Hoboken City Council President Jennifer Giattino and Councilwoman Fisher voting against the measure.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Zimmer commended the hard work of her administration to make this dream a reality.
“Thanks to the excellent teamwork of my Administration led by Director Forbes working with the subcommittee members including Councilman Mello, Councilman Doyle, Councilman Russo, and Councilman DeFusco, we have achieved these tremendous community benefits for Hoboken,” she said.
“This means in addition to the new Southwest Park, Hoboken will see a new two-acre park and gym in about 18-24 months after final approvals.”
“I am proud that the new gym and park will be constructed first before any other aspects of the project, and for the very first time in Hobokenâ€™s history that I, together with the City Council, have committed to an equitable share of the PILOT proceeds with the Hoboken School District.”