Hoboken hosting meetings to solicit input on Neumann Leathers, NJ Transit Records buildings

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The City of Hoboken will be hosting a community meeting to solicit input on what should be next for the Neumann Leathers and NJ Transit Records buildings in the 1st Ward.

The Neumann Leathers building in Hoboken.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan was adopted by the city council in late 2015, and encompasses the property between Observer Highway and Newark Street from Willow Avenue to Grant Street.

The public hearing on this project will be on Monday, March 16th at the Multi-Service Center, located at 124 Grand St., at 6:30 p.m.

Among the goals of the Redevelopment Plan are to preserve the historic Neumann Leather buildings and the artist community within it.

To finance the renovation of those historically significant buildings and the continued occupancy for urban manufacturing and industrial arts tenants, the redevelopment plan allows for new residential development on areas of the site not already occupied by existing, historic buildings.

The development proposal being negotiated by the city and the Neumann Leathers development team proposes more than 76,000 square feet of industrial arts space, 114,000 square feet of commercial/office space, nearly 50,000 square feet of new retail space, and 230 dwelling units – including 23 units of affordable housing along with 20 units of workforce housing.

In total, more than 158,000 square feet of existing Neumann Leathers building area will be rehabilitated, and new infill buildings will be carefully designed to create a stunning complex that blends history with contemporary design.

Furthemore, the redevelopment agreement will addresses the adaptive reuse of buildings, traffic and transportation options, a new Grand Street extension, the provision of more than 40,000 square feet of outdoor and indoor public plaza space, sustainability objectives, stormwater control, and the retention of industrial arts tenants in order to maintain the jobs and business uses on site.

Additionally, the public are invited to a public hearing regarding the future of New Jersey Transit Records Building, located on the south side of Observer Highway between Hudson and Washington Streets.

This meeting will take place at the same place, at the same time, on the following day: Tuesday, March 17th.

The records building, which was constructed in 1904 and owned by NJ Transit, has fallen into a state of disrepair and has been recently deemed an unsafe structure by the NJ Department of Community Affairs.

The city was approached in August of 2019 regarding the potential demolition of the building.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla and the Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission have been working with NJ Transit, along with the Federal Transportation Authority and the State Historic Preservation Office (“SHPO”) in an effort to preserve the building, which has been deemed a historic property.

As required by SHPO, NJ Transit is conducting an analysis of alternatives to demolition of the building. The alternatives to the building’s demolition will be presented at this public meeting, as requested by the mayor and the Historic Preservation Commission.

“Hoboken is committed to preserving public buildings with historical significance, and demolishing a building without deference for our city’s history is not a preferred option,” Bhalla said in a statement.

“Working together with the Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission, I’m pleased that New Jersey Transit and the Federal Transportation Authority have agreed to alternatives to demolition that would preserve the historical elements of the building. I encourage all residents to attend this meeting and provide input to NJ Transit and the FTA regarding these proposed solutions.”

The upcoming public hearing is a mandatory part of the Section 106 review process.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires projects by federal agencies or federally funded projects to consider the effects on historic properties, to engage with stakeholders, and to gather public comment on potential alternatives.