Poggi Press owner says he’ll fight plans to build Hoboken DPW garage, public safety complex


The owner of the Poggi Press building in the northern end of Hoboken says he’ll fight the city’s plans to build a Department of Public Works garage and a public safety complex as part of the Monarch settlement with Ironstate Development.

A rendering of the Poggi Press site rendering from their February 8th proposal.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Charles Poggi owns the Poggi Press building at 1501 Adams St., which has been home to his family’s printing company since 1928 when it was founded by his grandfather.

While the printing company was left inoperable due to Superstorm Sandy, Poggi has recently tried to redevelop the property himself though now finds himself in the middle of a high profile settlement in the city.

“It makes no sense to me to have the taxpayers of Hoboken buy my property then turn around and hand it off to a contractor, when I am perfectly willing to invest in a redevelopment project that will benefit the city,” Poggi said in a statement.

“I applaud the members of the city council who had the integrity to vote against the ordinance approving the appraisal and acquisition of my property.”

At their February 16th meeting, the governing body voted on two separate ordinances related to Poggi’s property.

The first, which would allow the city to acquire it via direct negotiation or eminent domain, passed 5-4. Council members Mike DeFusco, Tiffanie Fisher, Ruben Ramos, and Jen Giattino voted no.

The second, which would approve a $40 million bond to acquire the property, was initially approved 8-1, with only Ramos voting against it, but DeFusco, Fisher, and Giattino switched their votes to no for another 5-4 tally.

Furthermore, Poggi asserts that the $19,320,000 the city appraised the land at is 27 percent less than what they initially had, $26.35 million. City officials attribute that discrepancy to the appraiser initially using the wrong floor area ratio.

Poggi is in this predicament after the council approved the Monarch settlement in May, ending a decade-long battle with Ironstate that prevented them from building two 11-story residential towers on the waterfront of the 2nd Ward.

The deal allows Ironstate to eventually acquire the current DPW facility at 265 Observer Highway, eyeing to turn it into into a mixed-use development with roughly 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 360 residential units, including 40 affordable housing units.

The city has three years to vacate that site and in July the council okayed a measure to identify a new location for their DPW garage, including the Poggi Press site. Mayor Ravi Bhalla formally signed the agreement back in November.

City spokeswoman Marilyn Baer noted that in addition to the DPW facility, the city also hopes to utilize the 1501 Adams St. location for a public safety complex.

“This facility is envisioned to include a new public safety complex, including a modern police headquarters, a new firehouse, a command center for the Office of Emergency Management, a new municipal parking garage with up to 600 public parking spaces, a public works facility, as well as public, community space,” she explained.

“To be clear, the city will not, however, acquiesce to a deal with developers that results in residential overdevelopment at the expense of upgrading our City’s most critical municipal infrastructure.”

The plan appears to be a significant change from what Bijou Properties proposed for a DPW garage and City Hall annex back in April.

She added that as was the case for Union Dry Dock, Block 10 of the Southwest Resiliency Park, and five acres of the Northwest Resiliency Park, the city considers eminent domain a last resort and plans to continue good faith negotiations.

Furthermore, Baer indicated that a November proposal from Poggi was had too many negatives to warrant serious consideration from the administration.

“While Mr. Poggi did offer to partner with a developer to build three 17-story towers with over 550 residential units, the city would still have had to pay $22.5 million to have a public works facility at the site,” she said.

“In short, the proposal was viewed by the administration as overdevelopment that is grossly out of scale with the rest of Hoboken, provides little community benefit to Hoboken, and would not provide the expanded amenities and infrastructure that is sorely needed by the City. Understandably, this overdevelopment proposal is a non-starter with the mayor.”

In an email to the city council on Thursday, Poggi noted that he came back with another proposal on February 8th that was down to 254 units, but claims deliberations were ended abruptly by the administration after just two days.

“This property represents the blood, sweat and tears of my grandfather, father, brother and myself, and our dedication to Hoboken. I do not want and I do not deserve to have it taken from me,” he concluded today.

The Hoboken City Council convenes via Zoom, which streams live on their Facebook page, on Wednesday, March 9th, at 7 p.m.

In order to move forward with the bonding, the council would need six affirmative votes on second reading.

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