Hoboken would receive $500k from developer as part of Monarch project settlement

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After five years of litigation, Hoboken and Shipyard Associates have reached a proposed agreement for the controversial Monarch project that would see the developer donate $500,000 to the city for cleanup and planning purposes.

Photo via Hobokennj.org.
Photo via Hobokennj.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“This settlement protects our City’s treasured waterfront by ensuring that no residential or commercial development will be built on Hoboken’s waterfront and that the three piers will not be used for any purpose other than public open space,” Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement.

“As part of the agreement, Shipyard Associates would make a $500,000 contribution to the City, which will be used for cleanup of the platform pier debris, an engineering analysis, and to start the work needed to design and eventually construct a new waterfront walkway park.”

The city has opposed the development from the beginning, which would have resulted in 70 luxury apartments instead of tennis courts which had once been planned for that location.

Back in October 2014, the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders upheld a decision by the county planning board that rejected a two tower residential project proposed by Shipyard Associates.

The proposed settlement also resolves a dispute over a redevelopment project at 800 Monroe Street in west Hoboken.

This would represent an increase of 79 units from the existing Redevelopment Plan which was approved in the 1990’s under the Russo Administration that already permits 186 units of development.

As a result of the settlement, the 800 Monroe project would have an additional 52 market rate units plus 27 affordable housing units. The maximum allowable number of stories will decrease from 14 to 13, however the maximum building height would be allowed to increase by 10 feet.

The existing Hoboken Redevelopment Plan does not require any affordable housing, whereas the new agreement would increase affordable housing.

In total, six legal disputes relating to the two proposed projects would be resolved by the settlement. The City has spent $1 million on litigation costs to date. An estimated $1 million in legal fees would have been required if a settlement had not been reached.

Additionally, Shipyard has also asserted damage claims against the city, and the outcome of the litigation would have been uncertain.

The proposed agreement will be voted on by the Hoboken City Council at Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall, 94 Washington Street, at 7 p.m.

“I understand and agree with the concern many residents have about rising density levels, and I will continue to work to create great neighborhoods in western Hoboken with new parks, restaurants and arts, and retail amenities,” Zimmer added.

“I recognize this is a very important decision for our City Council, the Planning Board, and the community, and therefore we are making the terms of the agreement public in advance so that residents can consider the agreement and voice their views at the City Council meeting on Wednesday.”