A new seven-story development could replace three dilapidated industrial buildings in Hoboken’s Southwest. The mixed-use residential building would be erected at 601-619 Newark St. where a parking lot and three empty Windsor Wax buildings currently stand.
The Windsor Wax Company operated in Hoboken from the 1920s to the 1980s. It was then purchased and used for other industrial purposes before falling into disrepair.
The lot is used to hold construction equipment, and one of the building’s central joists is rotted, making the structure unsafe.
The current owners are looking to redevelop the site, adjacent to a little-used plot known as Gateway Park near the city’s southern entrance.
According to Frank Minervini, the project’s architect, the development would include 60 residential units divided into 27 one-bedroom units, 31 two-bedroom units, and two three-bedroom units.
Six units would be set aside for affordable housing.
The residential units would be an average size of about 875 square feet and would comprise the top five floors sitting atop a second-story parking garage and first-floor commercial space.
The 4,890 square feet of commercial space would include a restaurant or market as well as flex retail space.
According to Minervini, one of the driving design features is a new alleyway that would run along the southernmost portion of the property dividing the structure from New Jersey Transit rail lines, with an entrance and exit at the intersection of Newark and Jackson streets.
This alleyway would eventually run from Jackson St, to Madison St. once property owners to the east redevelop their properties.
For now, the alleyway would be constructed behind just this property, which will allow for residents of the building to pull into their garage, accessed through a 30-second hydraulic elevator.
All rideshare services, delivery services, and loading and unloading would occur in this alley, which will help mitigate congestion at the busy intersection of Newark and Jackson streets.
A traffic light will help drivers navigate the entrance and exit to the alleyway.
The project envisions a portion of this alleyway as outdoor space to be used by the restaurant or market that will be on the eastern portion of the property.
Councilman Michael DeFusco said the project was a first for Hoboken, noting that by removing the parking facilities from the ground floor, the project would add more vibrancy to the neighborhood with more lights and people attracted to the area by the ground-floor commercial space.
“It’s about learning from your mistakes,” said Council President Ruben Ramos. “You walk around other parts of town with major developments that have parking on the ground floor, and it creates a dead zone. It doesn’t create that neighborhood feel.”
The project would require amendments to the Southwest Redevelopment Plan. The plan calls for a four-story structure that is 40 feet tall above Design Flood Elevation instead of a seven-story structure 60 feet tall above Design Flood Elevation, as well as amendments to decrease the average unit size from 1,200 square feet to 875 square feet, decrease the number of parking spaces to include from a minimum of 55 spaces to 40 spaces, among other changes.
Only three residents spoke at a community meeting held on June 23.
Longtime resident Liz Ndoye said she wanted the project to include community arts space, noting that so far no such space exists in Hoboken.
David Stone said he drives by the property daily.
“It definitely needs to be redeveloped,” he said before taking issue with the project’s height, noting that the plan calls for a building only 40 feet tall, not 60 feet.
“That’s a 50 percent increase over what the plan is calling for,” he said.
Southwest Hoboken resident Lena McCormick said she feels the southwest has grown beautifully but it is “woefully short of convenient grocery stores.”
She said if the project included a grocery store it would create an anchor space for the community to come to visit and help bring more traffic to the area.
Councilwoman Emily Jabbour asked about traffic-calming measures, noting the busy intersection at Jackson and Newark streets.
According to Chris Brown, Hoboken’s director of the Department of Community Development, the developer would also contribute financially to the Newark Street roadway improvement program.