The Poggi Press owner claims Hoboken hasn’t tried to negotiate an eminent domain price since July, a claim he is sticking to even after the administration claims otherwise.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We have not heard anything constructive from the Administration and its legal representatives since July. I’m troubled by the city’s lack of responsiveness and so is my legal team,” Charles Poggi said in a statement.
“Over several months we submitted two sets of plans and both were rejected. The city was just wasting my time and money.”
Since the beginning of the year, Mayor Ravi Bhalla and other city officials have had their eye on the Poggi Press site, 1501 Adams St., to build a $192.5 million municipal complex that will house the Department of Public Works, police and fire department, office of emergency management, and municipal courthouse – among other things.
While the project has stalled several times since the council did not have the six affirmative votes needed to move forward with a related $44 million bond, the city council approved a measure in July to allow the Hudson County Improvement Authority to consider acquiring the land.
Neither the city of HCIA have taken any formal action since then, to the dismay of Poggi and his team, particularly since they public expressed that the $19.3 million appraisal is “far below the market value” shortly after the aforementioned council vote.
“Because of the City’s foot-dragging, Mr. Poggi has been locked in a limbo jail. He has not been presented with a fair compensation package, and his options to use the property are severely limited because there is an eminent domain threat hanging over the property,” said Anthony DellaPelle, co-counsel to Poggi in the matter.
City spokeswoman Marilyn Baer said that the lines of communication were open as recently as last week and that the city still plans on moving forward with the complex.
“The City’s attorney has been in communication with the property owner’s attorneys as recently as last week to further negotiations. The City continues to explore all options and negotiate in good faith with the property owner and looks forward to the completion of this process in the coming months,” she told HCV in an email.
Poggi adamantly disagreed with that characterization, noting that his last offer to the city was on June 15th and never received a response. He also said a city attorney called two weeks ago simply to say they had no major update to provide.
“It is unfortunate that Ms. Baer is grossly misinformed by the administration on the negotiations regarding 1501 Adams Street. My team has made multiple proposals to the city; the last one was June 15,” he said.
“In three months, we have received no response. Getting a phone call from the city attorney two weeks ago to say he has nothing meaningful to offer is not furthering negotiations. The city is not negotiating in good faith. It is not negotiating at all. It is stalling.”
And just to remind the administration and the public, I do not want to sell my property to the city. I never did. They came after me. I didn’t go to them. I want the right to develop my property,” said Poggi.
He continued that the ball is in their court, since he never wanted to sell his property and still does not.
In an interview in May, Bhalla told HCV that he couldn’t envision a scenario where the complex didn’t come to fruition.
“There’s so much vision and potential behind this project: there’s no way it’s not gonna happen,” he said at the time.