On Dec. 3, the Hoboken Planning Board will hold a public hearing on a project which will replace the Malibu Diner at 251 14th St. with a five-story mixed-use development.
All-night eats, shady doings
The Malibu Diner, opened in the late 1940s, is a classic Jersey institution. A full-service operation, it’s open seven days a week 24 hours a day, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night eats.
In 1980 the diner was renovated from a local greasy spoon to a modern full-service restaurant, while keeping its iconic diner ambiance. It still had cases with towering cake slices, waiters calling out orders at the counter, capacious booths, and pork rolls if you knew to order them.
Most notoriously, the parking lot of the Malibu Diner was where then-Mayor Peter Cammarano accepted $25,000 in cash bribes and was caught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of Operation Bid Rig.
An FBI complaint reported that Cammarano met with former Hoboken Councilman Michael Schaffer at the Malibu Diner several times to talk about development with the FBI’s cooperating witness Solomon Dwek and an unnamed consultant.
According to federal documents, the witness offered cash donations to Schaffer to be given to Cammarano’s campaign in increments of $5,000.
The witness told Schaffer and Cammarano that he was interested in developing property in Hoboken and wanted Cammarano to expedite the process.
As part of the operation, Camarano was arrested in 2009 along with 43 other people in New Jersey and New York, including 29 public servants and political operatives, five orthodox rabbis from the Syrian Jewish community, and a number of New Jersey elected officials.
After holding office for only one month, Cammarano resigned. He pleaded guilty to accepting $25,000 in cash bribes and served two years in prison.
Under the proposal before the planning board, the one-story diner would be demolished and replaced with a five-story mixed-use building.
According to planning board documents, the new development would include 23 residential units, 20 parking spaces accessed via a Park Avenue driveway, and approximately 4,600 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
Of the 23 units, 11 would be two-bedroom apartments, eight would be one-bedroom apartments, and four would be three-bedroom apartments.
Units would range from 750 square feet to 1,600 square feet.
The new apartment building would have a 1,600-square-foot common roof deck and a 3,573-square-foot green roof.
The second floor would also have a 2,500-square-foot deck and private terraces.
The first-floor commercial space would feature 3,200 square feet of space for a restaurant and 1,400 square feet of space for general retail, each with its own entrance.
The first floor would offer bicycle parking as well as four electric charging stations.
The proposed development would need to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment because it seeks several variances, including 100 percent lot coverage, providing only 20 of the 23 required parking spaces, rear yard setbacks, and façade glazing.