Potholed roads and industrial blocks with warehouses and parking lots in Hoboken’s northwestern corner are set to be the new home of a mixed-use residential neighborhood, now that the City Council has adopted the North End Redevelopment Plan.
The plan re-imagines 30 acres of Hoboken’s primarily industrial northwest and sets the permitted uses and development standards for the North End Rehabilitation Area roughly bounded by the 14th Street Viaduct to the south, Park Avenue to the east, 17th Street to the north, and the Palisades Cliffs to the west. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail line runs along the western and northern edges.
Now those who wish to develop within the area’s limits will need to adhere to the plan, which includes a proposal for a new Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station at 15th Street, public open space to connect to a city-wide green circuit, a mix of new commercial and residential uses, a minimum 10 percent affordable housing set aside, a pedestrian-oriented retail corridor along 15th Street, a pedestrian promenade along Clinton Street, and the raising of streets to accommodate underground flood infrastructure.
Building heights will range from five to 10 stories. A minimum of roughly 1,134 units could come to the area, with the majority of buildings being mixed-use with ground-floor commercial space.
This does not include allowances for increased height to roughly 12 stories if developers offer certain givebacks such as increasing the affordable housings set aside from 10 to 15 percent.
It includes guidelines for establishing a multi-modal circulation network, including integrated bike lanes, shared parking, new parks and open space, sustainable land use and development, and new public infrastructure.
After the council introduced amendments to the plan, it now includes a protected bike lane on 15th Street, a requirement for a linear park between 15th and 16th street buildings to be open 24 hours a day without barriers to public access, and places of worship and public facilities as a permitted use for developments within the plan area.
It now includes workforce housing, such as those built for artists and industrial arts professionals, and allows for affordable housing beyond the 10 percent onsite requirement to be built off-site if negotiated as part of a redevelopment agreement.
To improve pedestrian safety, the plan now requires that developers within certain sub-districts incorporate Vision Zero strategies to eliminate vehicle-pedestrian incidents on Park and Willow Avenues, including traffic-calming measures like reducing the cartway of Willow Street, curb extensions, and other safety features.
Some beg to differ
The plan stipulates that the city can consider further reducing required parking ratios in cases where developers identify existing available parking to satisfy site needs, employ Transportation Demand Management strategies that reduce the need for single-occupancy car use, provide a Payment in Lieu of Parking, or provide a contribution to public transit.
Now that the plan is adopted, developers within the North End Redevelopment Plan Area will need to submit applications to the city to be designated as a redeveloper, and redevelopment agreements will need to be negotiated with the city.
Several members of the public voiced their approval of the plan as did a few who primarily took objection with building height allowances and density.
“I think mixed-use is going to bring vibrancy to the neighborhood,” said resident Zabrina Stoffel, noting that the area is the “final frontier” because the majority of Hoboken has already been developed.
“I am so excited about the prospect of the north end becoming a go-to place,” said resident Irene Perello, noting that it could be the “coolest place in town” because it’s already home to the Mile Square Theater and several eateries.
Resident Rastko Tomlin, on the other hand, said the plan “doesn’t represent Hoboken or what Hoboken residents want.”
He took issue with building heights and lack of recreational facilities, noting that parks will be overcrowded.
Likewise, resident Liz Ndoye said she was against the plan for aesthetic, city planning, and environmental reasons, noting that she felt Hoboken is already overcrowded.
“I think we can create a much better-looking more environmentally sound and exciting plan for the north end of our city,” she said.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla said he was pleased with the council’s adoption of the redevelopment plan, which he said will revitalize the city’s north end.
“My administration is committed to preserving the right balance of residential and commercial development that maintains the charm and character of our city, while also prioritizing critical community benefits such as a new light rail station at 15th Street, public open space, building on our city-wide green circuit, greater affordable housing options, and more,” Bhalla said. “I thank the City Council for their support and look forward to moving this plan forward with the continued input of the public.”
The full, amended North End Redevelopment Plan adopted by the City Council can be found on the project website at https://northendredev-cityofhoboken.opendata.arcgis.com/.