With representatives of the hospitality industry in attendance at last night’s Hoboken City Council hearing, the board unanimously approved (9-0) a planning board review of the proposed redevelopment plan along Pier A Park that calls for a new hotel.
A significant part of the hearing was dedicated to the proposed traffic improvement plan, whereby traffic consultant John J. Jahr of Petry Traffic presented his company’s findings to improve traffic flow and improve pedestrian safety along several heavily-trafficked streets – especially at the convergence of Newark Street and Observer Highway.
As the hotel proposal was announced, most of the council members reacted in favor of the proposal. However, Councilman-At-Large Ravi Bhalla expressed some concern about the new hotel standing at 24 stories.
“I have serious concerns about this plan as it stands. I do not support certain aspects. I think that this plan as written would create a structure that is grossly out of scale with the adjoining structures along the waterfront,” he said.
“The Post Office itself is five stories, the Hoboken Land Building is 3 stories and we’re proposing next to that is a structure that is 24 stories.”
He went on to say that the notion of the proposed hotel being in-scale is an insult to his intelligence.
“The plan says that the W Hotel is 300 feet and that buildings being proposed along the Hoboken Terminal would be above 20 stories, but when you look at the immediate buildings surrounding the hotel proposal, the [hotel] would stand out as a sore thumb,” added Bhalla.
Speaking with Hudson County View, Councilman-At-Large James Doyle also expressed his concern about the current plan.
“My greatest concern is that the proposal is a 300 foot-height building, whereas as the buildings immediately adjacent are about 140 foot-height: twice the size of the hotel proposal,” said Doyle.
At the council’s March 15 hearing, brochures revealed renderings of a new Hilton Hotel along the waterfront.
But Doyle said at the time that Hilton Hotel had not been designated as the hotel operator. He reiterated at yesterday’s hearing that point still holds true.
“Once we select a plan, which we introduced this evening, and may vote on soon, it is only when the plan has passed that we can designate the developer and that developer may or may not be the Hilton Hotel. They clearly have been very eager to court us, but the law doesn’t allow us to be negotiating with them before we pass the plan,” Doyle said.