The interconnected former factory buildings that occupy an entire city block between Seventh and Eighth streets, from Clinton to Grand streets, have long been a place of wonderment. Maybe that’s because the Continental Baking Corporation, makers of Wonder Bread, once operated in the northern part. After that, the buildings have become home to small businesses and artists. But some of those artists and businesses have been asked to leave.
At least one of the three interconnected parcels has been sold to a developer. Another is rumored to be under contract. The third lot is staying the same, and the businesses there do not have to leave.
Moving trucks have been hauling away the unfinished furniture of Mike’s Unfinished Furniture at 715 Grand St. Mike’s has moved his workroom to Passaic under the new name Mike’s Cabinet Shop due to the sale of the parcel he’s in. Developer Gerry Stiegliz and his partners are set to build a 15-unit residential structure, the Continental, in its place.
Meanwhile, some tenants of the adjoining property that stretches over 716 Clinton St., 729 Clinton St., and 351 Eighth St. (each piece in that parcel has a different address depending on which street it faces) have gotten eviction notices. Sources say that a contract is in the works for this building, though owner Max Rodriguez has declined to confirm or deny the sale. But companies housed there, like pet-boarding business Hoboken Unleashed, are prepping themselves for a move. Unleashed has already secured space in Jersey City to board their pups, although they have not had to move yet.
“Any empty lot or old building is ripe to be developed and the neighborhood made to look better.” –Norma DeRuggiero
Clearly, the iconic red structures between the A&P and Hoboken High School will look different in a few years.
Although Rodriguez wouldn’t talk about selling his part of the old bread complex, he did talk a little about his parcel’s history.
“The building is over 100 years old,” he said. “If you look at the old pictures, you’ll see the cobblestone streets and the horses. [An adjoining parcel] was the site of horse stables and hay. That’s how the bread went out.”
He said he is the oldest grandchild in the family that has owned the building for many years.
Tenants of his building, like Hoboken pop-tape artist Eric Klein, have been given eviction notices. Several weeks ago, Klein held an estate sale in his high ceilinged loft, selling the artifacts he’s collected over the years, from an old typewriter to furniture.
“It’s actually a blessing in disguise,” Klein said last week. “I would never have left. I need to be in Manhattan. All my buyers are in New York.”
Rumors say that Rodriguez’s parcel, like the one next door, will become residential development.
Hoboken Unleashed owner Mike Stigliano (not to be confused with Mike of Mike’s Unfinished Furniture) said, “We knew this was inevitable; that’s why we got such a big property over the border,” referring to the newly-acquired Jersey City Unleashed. He has not yet moved, though. “With the redesign of the flood map, zoning, we know it will probably take a fair amount of time before anything happens [in terms of residential development].”
The other Mike, the furniture man at 715 Grand, moved further, to Passaic. Developer Gerry Stieglitz said, “We are building 15 large, luxury apartments, anywhere from 1,000 square feet to 3,000. [I am working with] co-builders Nick Petruzelli and Joseph Covello of Liberty Reality. Nick and myself have been building in Hoboken for over 35 years. Joe has been working close to that long as well.”
Stieglitz said they hope to break ground for the Continental by August and open in the spring.
Neighbor and local realtor Norma DeRuggiero said, “Any empty lot or old building is ripe to be developed and the neighborhood made to look better. It all goes quickly. Even people at the W Hotel have to put up with construction of quite a large office building, but when done, it will vastly improve the empty lot that was there before.”
But DeRuggiero felt bad, too.
“Mike [of Mike’s Unfinished] was a part of the neighborhood,” she said. “My [dog] Happy and I saw him each morning after he’d make his ride up from the shore. Happy loved him and would jump all over his feet. He is missed and we wish him well in his new location.”
Meanwhile, the third parcel on that city block, 710 Clinton St., is not being sold. Once the home of horse stables, it’s now the site of Arf & Co., a TV and film pre-production company. A representative said that they have been approached by developers before, but they are not leaving.