Hoboken council OKs new Clinton St. development with new library, affordable housing


The Hoboken City Council approved an amended North End Redevelopment Plan that allows 1500 Clinton St. to include a new library, affordable housing, retail, open space, and $3.2 million as part of a deal with developer Bijou Properties at 1500 Clinton St.

An artist’s rendering of 1500 Clinton St. in Hoboken. Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

The Redevelopment Agreement permits Bijou Properties to construct two mixed-use residential buildings at 1500 Clinton St. within the North End Redevelopment Plan Area in Hoboken’s 5th Ward.

The development will consist of one 8-story building and one 12-story building. which will include a total of 382 units.

“It’s a big, huge giant city block and there’s been a lot of different things contemplated on it. There was a little bit of a frenzy to build a giant 20-story building full city block to accommodate our DPW (Department of Public Works) garage. That was completely inconsistent with the North End plan,” 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher explained at last night’s meeting.

“Now it’s more consistent with our plan. Now there’s two buildings with space in the middle. It was really important that it felt more like Hoboken and less like Jersey City.”

Still, she said she would like to see more three-bedroom units when it’s time to build.

“The Planning Board looked at this and found it to be compliant with the Master Plan,” Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle, who is also the council designee on the planning board, noted. He disagreed that more three-bedrooms were needed.

“On the last seven or eight years on the planning board, there have almost only been three bedrooms coming and coming. They all sell for $2.5 million plus dollars. They’re incredibly expensive. We actually need smaller one-bedroom units. There is data on this. Urging more three bedrooms is a mistake. I support this project nonetheless.”

3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo, the vice president of the board, took more of a compromised point of view.

“This is two very separate conversations. We do need some more one bedrooms. But we also certainly need more three bedrooms that are affordable. We have been doing our very best to continue to build those types of units.”

5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, who sponsored the ordinance, also noted they didn’t want a “superblock” per say, also noting that the project includes 38 affordable housing units.

“All these affordable units will be indistinguishable from the market rate units,” he said, indicating that eight of the 38 will be three-bedroom units and 23 two-bedroom units.

“There’s going to be a green circuit on 15th Street. There will be a protected bike path. It will be a beautiful retail corridor as well as a green circuit,” Cohen added.

He continued that he was excited for the proposed lateral park that has a “9,000-square foot community flex space” and a new public library.

“I’m just ecstatic it’s not the DPW site, and the linear park was preserved. I will be supporting it. You said there’s 38 affordable units?” 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino asked.

“Eight of the 38 affordable units are three bedrooms,” Cohen replied.

Conversely, 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos said he was disappointed with the deal.

“There are bonuses that will be given to the developer if they do more. At one point in time, there was a special assessment tax,” he noted.

Ramos said there could have had larger bonuses Bijou Properties and that more progress could have been made developing the city in terms of public transportation and affordable housing.

“All those things are missing. That’s a missed opportunity … in the grand scheme of things. We all know why we’re not looking for extra density. We don’t have to say his name like Voldemort, right? We all know what the limitations are.”

“Brian Stack,” Hoboken Council President Emily Jabbour whispered.

“Hoboken taxpayers are losing out on extra funding because the terms are being dictated by someone else,” Ramos said.

1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, who is not seeking re-election, decided to up the ante by saying outright that state Senator Brian Stack (D-33) should not be dictating how Hoboken develops.

“I’ll say his name: Brian Stack. It’s what’s wrong with politics. A state senator can influence the actions of our city. It’s not good for our city,” he said.

“I think we need to hold Brian Stack accountable. In my last few months on the council, I’m going to use my next couple months of being on the council to paint a very vivid picture in terms of how government works. I’m good with this agreement.”

The City of Union City is currently suing the City of Hoboken to halt the construction of 151-foot building at 930 Monroe St. and is also accused of holding up the Western Edge development in a separate lawsuit by Pegasus Partners.

“It’s compliant with the law. The law is the zoning of the area. It does not exceed the zoning of the area,” Doyle said succinctly.

“There’s bonuses in there for a reason. There’s a lot of things we need. We’re looking to spend $200 million there,” Ramos said of the 80,000-square foot property.

Despite some differing points of view, the measure cleared unanimously (9-0).

“Even when we agree, we fight,” Russo joked to some laughter.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla called the redevelopment a prime example “of community driven, smart urban growth,” in a statement this morning.

“This property, which has sat vacant and blighted for years, will be transformed into a vibrant neighborhood that current and future Hoboken residents will reap the benefits of for years to come,” he said.

“I look forward to breaking ground on this project which will provide needed open space, protected bike lanes, critical affordable housing, flood mitigation, but perhaps most importantly, space for an uptown library branch at no cost to the city. Thank you to the Hoboken City Council and Bijou Properties for working with my administration to see this project through to the finish line.”

Additionally, the development will also provide 183 self-park parking spaces, inclusive of level two charging stations for electric vehicles and two car-share spaces, and 382 indoor bicycle parking spaces, one for each residential unit.

The developer will also be responsible for making infrastructure improvements to the area as well as install nearly 30,000 square feet of green roof on the buildings, and over 30,000 gallons of underground stormwater storage, both to help mitigate area flooding.

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  1. If Mayor/Senator Stack is truly the reason Hoboken isn’t cutting even more lucrative deals with developers and overdeveloping even more than Bhalla has done, Hoboken residents owe him a big thank you.

    If Stack does indeed have such power over Hoboken’s development decisions, let’s be honest about why that is the case. It’s not because of the Palisades Protection Act which is dead as a doornail.

    It’s because John Allen wouldn’t be the HCDO anointed next assemblyman without Stack’s OK and other equally or more sundry political BS.

    • Considering that the vast majority of Hoboken residents have no idea who John Allen is or why he has been on their payroll for years to now lose millions of dollars of potential revenue now and for decades to come.
      I guess it only important to his and Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s political ambitions.

  2. This project will never see the light of day. How many promises has Ravi made only put the city in litigation limbo (and he always loses).

    Will the NYWW ferries be fueling up on Union Dry Dock in time for the Juneteenth holiday?

    “New York Waterway is not going to build a maintenance, operations and refueling facilities at Union Dry Dock. It will not happen during this administration: over my dead body.”