Paid parking spaces sit empty
Owners of office building want to use fewer spots
by Marilyn Baer
Reporter Staff Writer
Aug 20, 2017 | 2169 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ZONE
Hoboken Holdings, located at 2-10 Hudson Pl. must currently provide 187 parking spaces for their tenants, based on current occupancy. But they say they aren’t being used.
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The Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustment met on Tuesday Aug. 15 for an hour and a half to discuss whether an existing office building near the train station can earmark fewer parking spots for its tenants than when it was originally built.

The existing eight-story 92,000 square foot office building was approved in 1985. As part of that approval, the applicant was required to enter into an agreement with the Hoboken Parking Authority to provide up to 235 parking spots in one of the city’s municipal lots, based on the building’s occupancy.

But the owners of the building say their tenants are not using nearly that many spots on a daily basis, and are using public transportation. Many of the spots sit empty in the paid garage, they said.

The Zoning Board consists of seven commissioners and four alternates. It is empowered to grant relief from strict application of zoning regulations through variances and approves certain uses of land, and hears appeals of actions taken by the city. The board is one of the most powerful in Hoboken, and their decisions affect how millions of dollars are spent.

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“Basically we are looking for relief consistent with the parking standard for the Hoboken Yards Redevelopment plan.” – Paul Phillips

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Near the station

The application before the board came from Hoboken Holdings LP National Realty, regarding its office building at 2-10 Hudson Place. Tenants include a dermatology practice, a law firm, and others.

Hoboken Holdings would like to reduce or eliminate their parking requirement of 235 spaces.

If the building’s occupancy is 100 percent, the owners must provide one parking space per approximately 400 square feet of space. The building is currently 85 percent occupied so they must only provide for 187 parking spaces to their tenants in municipal lot B.

According to the applicant’s planner, Paul Phillips, only 47 of the 187 spaces were in use on May 11 when they did a count.

The applicant wants the parking requirement to be eliminated entirely or alternatively be reduced to .25 spaces per 1,000 square feet, reducing the requirement to 23 parking spaces, five on site and 18 off site, instead of 235.

When they pay for the spots, however, they’re providing revenue to the Hoboken Parking Utility. And Hoboken’s municipal garages are rarely all filled up during the day.

According to the application, the .25 parking ratio would be consistent with the requirement utilized under the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan.

“Basically we are looking for relief consistent with the parking standard for the Hoboken Yards Redevelopment plan and consistent with the public policy generally involving transit oriented development,” said Phillips. “Because we have a transit location, and because of the fact, based on empirical data the actual demand for parking from the tenants. There’s no way in the world they need this much parking. It’s not used, because of its location right at the terminal.”

The board’s attorney, Dennis Galvin, said, “When we grant variances, we typically have to have some sort of community benefit. Variances cannot just benefit the applicant.”

Phillips responded, “I think there are two community benefits, one is by basically reducing the parking requirement you’re providing an incentive for people to use transit, which takes traffic off the streets, which is basically a goal for the city of Hoboken, and secondly, you’re providing parking consistent with the demand.”

Commissioner Dan Weaver said, “Why do we only have activity for one day? Why can’t we have a whole month?”

The board asked the property owners to collect more data before the Sept. 26 meeting.

Resident Mark Mintz questioned the applicant’s motivation. “What is the purpose of doing this? Just to save money?” he asked.

Brian Sekel, executive vice president of real estate for the company, answered: “To encourage tenants to take mass transit and of course yes there is an economic benefit. Most of the tenants that lease space today don’t want the parking. It also frees up spaces in the garage to the public.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, six members of the board were in attendance: commissioners John Branciforte, Carol Marsh, Owen McAnuff, Diane Fitzmyer Murphy, Dan Weaver, and alternate Jonathan Otto.

At the meeting, the board also granted a certificate of non-conformity to allow a residential building at 201-03 Fourteenth St. to keep two existing parking spots. According to Attorney Robert Matule, the building used to be a post office and originally had four parking spaces utilized by employees and the post office trucks. When the building became residential, it kept two spots, but was required to apply to continue to keep them.

The board was going to hear a resolution on the Hoboken Business Center, at 50 Harrison St., but the resolution was moved to a Sept. 26 meeting of the board. The Hoboken Business Center seeks an amendment to an approved site plan to add a new sixth floor of 25,104 square feet (including terrace), reconfigure ground floor to replace existing office space with 9,770 square feet of restaurant space, and relocate the existing office space to the upper floors.

Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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