The historic Chambord building in Hoboken’s southwest neighborhood may get a facelift, according to a community presentation by architect John Nastasi.
The building, once home to Davis Baking Powder and My-T-Fine Pudding, could be redeveloped to include 123 residential units, two restaurants, and a public indoor glass-covered atrium surrounded by businesses.
The development at 38 Jackson Street would include all the properties on the block, transforming small garage-like buildings currently home to welding, neon signs, and auto body shops into a 25,000-square-foot supermarket on the ground floor with parking above.
“We are going to completely revitalize this site and, while doing that, revitalize the neighborhood,” Nastasi said.
The garage and ground-floor commercial space would be at the southernmost entrance to Hoboken on Newark Street and Harrison Street near the elevated rail lines.
The multi-level garage would have its entrance on Jackson Street and its exit on Harrison Street. It would include 371 parking spaces for residents of the building but also those visiting the businesses or Hoboken in general.
Electric vehicle charging stations are planned.
The parking structure is slated to be wrapped in white mesh to block the view of the vehicles from the street.
Vehicles delivering to the supermarket would access the site through three built-in loading docks on Harrison Street.
More commercial space amounting to 50,000 square feet would be above the garage, which Nastasi said would be offered to current commercial tenants who would need to relocate during construction.
On the north end of the site fronting Southwest Resiliency Park, two restaurants are proposed at either corner; one set at 2,000 square feet and the other at 3,000 square feet.
In the center of the building will be an 11,000-square-foot atrium with a glass ceiling. According to the architect, the public could use it during bad weather.
The architect and developer are in discussions with the county to possibly close the street in front of the project to vehicular traffic at set times to ease flow and access from the park to the atrium and vice versa.
This site will be home to 123 residential units, 12 of which will be affordable housing.
The building, which is currently four stories, would rise to nine, but the upper floors would be set back so that they would not be easily seen at street level.
Rooftop outdoor space would include gardens and a basketball court.
Nastasi said the project would fully restore the historic property.
Possible plan amendments
The development falls within the Southwest Redevelopment Plan, meaning that it would need to adhere to guidelines that dictate how properties in the area could be developed or require amendments to the plan to proceed as currently conceived.
According to Casey Wolf, of the city’s Office of Community Development, amendments would have to include increasing the allowable building height from 40 feet above design flood elevation to 104 feet above design flood elevation, noting the existing building is 76 feet.
The plan will need to be amended to increase the maximum coverage area from 60 percent to 86 percent and increase the number of residential units from 111 to 123.
Wolf noted that the plan calls for at least 207 parking spaces, which this project exceeds.
“I am really scared that by adding the supermarket and more residential apartments and parking it will actually increase even more of the traffic to that area,” said neighborhood resident Heloise Briere-Tomic, who noted that traffic congestion frequently plagues the area, with people constantly honking and cars contaminating the air.
Resident Terry Pranses said he felt the garage seemed “monolithic” which is not consistent with the look and feel of the neighborhood.
Ryan Erasmus asked if the 30 to 40 businesses that currently operate out of the site would have a home once construction is complete, noting that commercial space is hard to find, and the city could potentially lose those businesses altogether.
Others were concerned that the already congested streets would close for construction, exacerbating the problem.
Nastasi said he is in discussions with construction companies and that they would seek to build the property “from the inside out” using a crane in the center of the property which would help minimize quality-of-life concerns caused by construction.
Resident Aileen McGuirk said “southwest Hoboken is not just a place for people to enter and exit from,” saying that neighborhood residents deserve to have services like a supermarket which are sorely needed.
“The idea to have a grocery store in Fourth Ward would be transformational for people who either have to schlep or drive to ShopRite or Acme.”
Others reiterated this point noting that it may decrease some of that traffic congestion caused by the residents who need to go shopping with their cars.
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