The Hoboken City Council will vote on Wednesday, Feb. 5 whether to introduce a new set of amendments to the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan, which dictates how a site just south of Observer Highway could be developed.
During a special meeting of the council on Jan. 22, City Planner Jessica Giorgianni presented these new amendments to the plan first adopted in 2014.
Unlike the 2014 version of the redevelopment plan which had nine development sites, the latest proposed version has only three, all of which are commercial.
Site one, near Hudson Street and Hudson Place, would be a commercial office building between 200 and 300 feet tall, depending on a financial feasibility study conducted by professionals contracted by the city.
The square footage depends on the height of the building and ranges from 412,000 square feet at 200 feet tall to 635,000 square feet at 300 feet tall. According to the presentation, the building would preserve the view of the Lackawanna clock tower from the view corridor on Observer Highway.
Site two would be a 330-foot-tall building on Observer Highway between Hudson Street and Garden Street. It was previously envisioned as residential space but is now envisioned as commercial property. According to Giorgianni, the developer believes the property footprint, which has changed due to the Rebuild by Design resist structure, is unattractive to office tenants. A financial feasibility study will determine if the property can instead be developed as commercial or mixed-use residential.
She said the study would have to consider creative construction options, including cantilevering over the Rebuild by Design resist structure.
Site two would also include parking at a ratio of 0.25 spaces per 1,000 square feet, should the building be commercial, and 0.25 spaces per unit should the building be designated as residential.
Should the site be designated residential, the developer will have to provide 20 percent of all units as affordable housing.
Site three, on Observer Highway and Marin Boulevard, is considered a potential redevelopment site because it currently consists of the NJ Transit maintenance building, which NJ Transit would have to first relocate for any development to take place.
It will also be a commercial building with a maximum height of 145 feet, the same as stipulated in the 2014 redevelopment plan.
The plan also calls for the renovation of the Ferry Terminal Building and Warrington Plaza, which could include an outdoor market space, incubator space, public art space, and museum.
A conceptual plan also incorporates a Hudson Place Pedestrian Plaza and Circulation design for buses, taxis, ride shares, and cyclists, as well as designated drop-off and pickup zones.
Several members of the public spoke about the plan during the meeting, thanking planners for the new revisions while still expressing concerns.
“There has been a great deal of progress, and we appreciate how that reflects many of the earlier public conversations,” said Terry Pranses, a member of Hoboken’s Responsible Development Task Force, noting the adjusted height of site one and the move from residential development to commercial.
Resident Claire Lukacs said she was concerned with the height of site one, should it exceed 200 feet.
“Its neighbors are five and seven stories tall,” said Lukacs. “That’s a big difference, and it’s going to look totally out of place in that spot, so I would really, really like to see that the building does not go any higher than 200 feet.”
Resident Mary Ondrejka questioned if the city should have more residential development, considering Hoboken is already densely populated.
“As a city, can we sustain more residences in such a cramped area right now, especially when the census figures will come in over 60,000?” she asked. ” … I’m very confident that we’ll be over 60, so if we’re over 60, then can we add another 2,000 people?”