Hoboken adopts Western Edge Redevelopment Agreement

Plan includes affordable housing, flood mitigation, and $3 million for a community center

The project will include a residential building composed of three towers of varying heights atop a five-story podium for a total of 357 residential units.
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The project will include a residential building composed of three towers of varying heights atop a five-story podium for a total of 357 residential units.

Hoboken will soon initiate public meetings to solicit input on potential locations and designs for a recreation center with a community pool. This, after the Hoboken City Council adopted a redevelopment agreement and amended a redevelopment plan for the Western Edge Redevelopment Area.

The new plan includes affordable housing, flood mitigation, public plaza, and $3 million toward a new community center and pool.

The plan includes 20 units of onsite affordable housing and 17 units of affordable housing for homeless veterans on Second St. and Willow Ave. They’e on the city’s surface parking lot adjacent to the rebuilt Hoboken American Legion, which offers six units for homeless veterans.

The agreement includes more than 5,000 square feet of public, open space, including a public plaza that will be maintained by the developer at no cost to the city through a permanent open-space easement.

The development will be required to include stormwater management measures to mitigate flooding. They include onsite stormwater storage with an underground detention system that will withhold more than 165,000 gallons of rainwater; bioswales; rain gardens; and trees.

The $3 million Community Benefit Payment will be broken down into three payments: $500,000 before the city issues construction permits; $1 million before the city issues the first Temporary Certificate of Occupancy; and $1.5 million before the city issues a Final Certificate of Occupancy for the residential building.

“I’m extremely pleased we have adopted a redevelopment agreement that provides for robust community givebacks, especially funding allocated for a new community pool,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

Residential and commercial space

The redevelopment agreement revitalizes more than 1.8 acres of blighted land in Northwest Hoboken, providing 322,700 square feet of residential density and 24,500 square feet of retail space.

A residential building will comprise three towers of varying heights atop a five-story podium for a total of 357 residential units with an average unit size of 904 square feet. It will include retail and commercial space on the first floor and mezzanine level.

The plan includes a hotel of up to 281 rooms with a rooftop restaurant and lounge.

Commercial and retail space will be on the first floor and mezzanine, and 304 parking spots will also be provided.

An end to litigation

In June, Fair Share Housing Center, a nonprofit dedicated to defending the housing rights of New Jersey’s poor and ensuring municipalities provide affordable housing, filed a lawsuit against Hoboken over earlier amendments to the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan.

The previous plan allowed 150 units to be exempt from the city’s 10 percent affordable housing set aside, meaning the city would miss out on 15 units of affordable housing in exchange for the community center developer givebacks.

The suit claimed the amendments violated the city’s master plan, which recognizes the need for affordable housing, as well as the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance and the Mount Laurel doctrine, a provision of the New Jersey Constitution which requires municipalities to address affordable housing needs.

According to a June 28 memo from Joanne Vos, an attorney with Maraziti Falcon LLP, to city officials, the amended redevelopment plan addresses the issues raised by the lawsuit,which will now be dismissed.

“Fair Share Housing Center is pleased that the City of Hoboken is taking positive steps to follow through on the settlement that FSHC and Hoboken achieved that will ensure that the proposed residential development in the Western Edge abides by the City’s affordable housing requirements,”

“At a time when New Jersey is reckoning with entrenched systemic racism and facing an unprecedented economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is encouraging to see Hoboken … ensure that new residential development in the fast-gentrifying city does not consist solely of very expensive, luxury units but includes homes that are affordable to families of all races and income levels,” said Executive Director of Fair Share Housing Center Adam Gordon.

Council support

The Hoboken City Council adopted the redevelopment agreement by an 8-1 vote.

“This will allow us to help rehabilitate the existing Multi-Service Center without losing any services.” said Councilman Ruben Ramos.

Councilman Phil Cohen, who represents the Fifth Ward where the project will be located at 1300 Jefferson St noted that the new development would benefit the neighborhood.

“It has been a dream of many to have a community recreation center and a community pool in the 5th Ward,” said Fifth Ward Councilman Phil Cohen. “ … We are now $3 million closer to realizing the dream — without imposing on Hoboken’s taxpayers.”

Said American Legion Post 107 Commander John Carey, “I thank Mayor Ravi Bhalla, the City Council, and Mark Villamar and Hany Ahmed of Pegasus Partners for their partnership on the second phase of housing for our veterans suffering from homelessness.”

The developer must present the final site and engineer plans before the Hoboken Planning Board prior to construction.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.