The Hoboken City Council has cleared the way for the city’s second waterfront hotel. Under a new redevelopment agreement and amended redevelopment plan, KMS Development Partners will build a Hilton Hotel on the parking lot and loading area behind the Frank Sinatra Post Office on First and River Streets.
The new redevelopment deal comes after the council had canceled the previous agreement because the project became the subject of litigation.
The hotel will be 272 feet tall, including 20 occupied floors, and have a total of 350 rooms.
It will have ground-floor retail, a combined lobby bar/restaurant, a gym, meeting and banquet space for 250 people, a rooftop bar and terrace which residents can access 300 days a year, and underground storm water retention.
As part of the plan, the developers will also renovate the existing post office as well as create an 1,880 square foot pocket park on River Street between the post office and the northern neighboring property.
The hotel will be constructed and operated by union labor, creating about 550 regional construction jobs. It will also create approximately 130 hotel jobs.
It will also provide roughly $2 million annually in real estate and hotel taxes to the city and the school district.
“This redevelopment will be union built and operated, will fund major infrastructure upgrades, generate economic activity for local businesses, create good paying jobs for local residents and will become the gateway to the waterfront,” said Dennis Martin of KMS Development Partners.
Last year the city council approved a redevelopment deal with KMS Development Partners for the construction, which at the time would have provided the city with nearly $5 million in community givebacks.
The $4.85 million in community givebacks from the developer would have included $1.165 million for infrastructure upgrades, $1 million to fund the endowment for the Hoboken Public Education Foundation (HPEF) to support the public school system, $485,000 divided evenly among the three charter schools in Hoboken, $200,000 into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and $2 million to help revitalize the Hoboken Community Center (the former YMCA building).
But the deal came under litigation when businesses within a block of the hotel site, Hoboken Land Building LP and Hoboken Holdings LP, filed a suit against the city and the developers. They sought to have the resolutions pertaining to the redevelopment agreement declared null and void.
The suit stems from the givebacks the city would have received. The complainants charged the givebacks were an obvious quid pro quo and promoted favoritism and cronyism. They also said the city is without the legal authority to require a redeveloper to make a payment to the Hoboken Public Education Foundation because it is a non-government entity.
After a trial court judge in March denied a motion by the city and developer to dismiss the lawsuit, the council nullified the original redevelopment agreement in May in order to terminate the litigation.
According to the new redevelopment agreement, the project will still have a number of public benefits.
This includes a dedicated internship program with colleges and universities focusing on hospitality areas, as well as a “Day on the Job” Hospitality Training Program for high school students.
Additionally, the hotel will provide complimentary meeting facilities three times a year, which could include the local State of the City address or a benefit for the local school system.
Infrastructure improvements will also occur under the new agreement including improved traffic circulation, streetscaping, new sidewalks, new lighting, landscaping, stormwater control, and the creation of the pocket park.
The redeveloper will also make infrastructure improvements in the area surrounding the rehabilitation area and in the First Ward for $165,000.
The developer will deposit $3.2 million into an interest-bearing escrow account that will be used for public projects determined by the city near the rehabilitation area.
These projects could include infrastructure improvements, flood control, improving bicycle and pedestrian access and safety, furthering open space initiatives, parking and traffic improvements.