The new Hoboken Department of Public Works garage and City Hall annex proposal from Bijou Properties would included a mixed-use art and retail project that would include 435 market rate units, along with 48 affordable housing units.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The proposed project is anchored by more than 12,500 square feet of ground floor retail, 430 market rate and 48 affordable housing units, and an approximately 75,000 square-foot facility for a City Hall annex and public works garage with municipal office space.
The annex would house the Office of Emergency Management Command Center, along expanded office space for the Hoboken Parking Utility, among other possibilities.
“Since we opened our office above the Pilsener Haus Biergarten nine years ago, we’ve not only watched the North End neighborhood develop its own unique vibe, but we’ve been part of that evolution by hosting the Uptown Farmers Market under the viaduct and bringing in retail tenants like Gravity Vault, Hudson Table, Orale, and the Bwè Kafe/Little City Books collaboration,” Bijou Properties Managing Partner Larry Bijou said in a statement.
“We have a personal stake in the success of this neighborhood and are excited about how this art and retail mixed use project will complement the existing uses to make the neighborhood a destination, bring round-the-clock foot traffic, and meet the city’s infrastructure needs. We look forward to listening to and working with Hoboken’s elected officials and community members to create a project that everyone can be proud of.”
Bijou Properties has also made a commitment “to design, construct, and deliver turnkey according to the City’s specifications,” while also making a significant financial contribution to the project.
The retail component would be located along 15th Street and Clinton Street, with the City Hall annex and public works garage located on the northern half of the property.
Construction of a new public works garage adjacent to the industrial uses on 16th Street would allow the City of Hoboken to vacate and relocate out of its current facility on Observer Highway.
In February, the Hoboken City Council approved a settlement for the Monarch project, which initially had plans to house a temporary DPW site near the Northwest Park – which was panned by several 5th Ward residents.
After that meeting, Mayor Ravi Bhalla vowed to find a location that worked for everyone, a sentiment who echoed this afternoon.
“By creating a new, state-of-the-art municipal garage in the North End, Hoboken will finally be able to move forward with preventing large-scale residential development on our waterfront at the Monarch site, allow the City to acquire 1.4 acres of open space in West Hoboken, and provide for 15,000 square feet of commercial and retail space to further revitalize downtown Hoboken, a win-win-win for our community,” he said.
“And, this proposal also eliminates the need for a temporary garage next to the Northwest Resiliency Park, reflecting a commitment I made to the 5th Ward. I’m confident that the City Council will see the merits of this proposal and vote to begin negotiations on Wednesday with the developer to make this a reality.”
5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen said in an email blast today that the permanent solution proposed by Bijou Properties would be ready by about September 2022 and that he is in favor of the concept.
“I look forward to supporting this plan to activate an exciting new art and retail district that will vitalize a new northern gateway destination for Hoboken and the 5th Ward,” he wrote.
Not everyone appears to be on board yet though, as 2nd Ward Tiffanie Fisher says the city may be getting ahead of themselves on this one.
“Although this proposal that Mayor Bhalla is endorsing has some attractive features it is contrary to the Northwest plan that was just approved after five years in the making, effectively eliminates the linear park which is central to the plan, gives significant financial upside to one developer while putting the entire $20 plus million cost of building out the public works garage on the backs of Hoboken taxpayers,” she said.
“There are other alternatives that are available and we’ve asked the mayor to consider that would put Hoboken residents first and would be much better for our entire community. “
The city council approved an amended North End Redevelopment Plan at their March 3rd meeting.
1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco abstained during that vote and said today that he did so because he wasn’t confident the city had planned properly for the long term.
“When I abstained from the North End Redevelopment Plan, I did so because I feared the lack of definitive planning wouldn’t benefit existing residents longterm. Here we are, less than one month later, and the administration has proposed changes to the part of the plan that excited everyone — the linear park,” he explained.
“The rush to plop our DPW garage in the middle of what should be a developer-funded community park when there are countless other properties that would be more suitable, is the very definition of poor planning. I would hope the mayor follows through with his commitment to find a safe and more appropriate location for the DPW garage.”
A local neighborhood homeowners group also sounds apprehensive about the project.
“My main concerns are that this property was never planned to be this large, the height isn’t defined, there’s nearly 500 units, but how does that fit in with the plan that the city just approved?,” said Northwest Hoboken Homeowners Alliance Founder and President Matt Majer.
” … How does this fit with the rest of it’s neighborhood? It’s would also be built on a plot of land that was allocated for a linear park – it cuts right through it – and 12,000 square feet is about the size of one standard restaurant and that’s not enough. The rendering they proposed doesn’t appear to be accurate.”
The Hoboken City Council will consider the project at their meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with comments from Mayor Ravi Bhalla and 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco.