The Hoboken Chambord building that was the site of a fatal fire last December is slated for redevelopment despite the damages it sustained over the holiday season.
The Chambord fire on Dec. 20 had killed two people and damaged a number of small businesses inside the building, and had a second flare-up two days later. Investigators led by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had ruled the fire as an accident.
Despite the damages to the building, redevelopment plans, led by 38 Jackson LLC., are set to go forward to turn it into a mixed-use commercial site, which were initially presented back in June of last year. “The vision hasn’t changed,” said Gary Mezzatesta, managing partner of the Taurasi Group, and is listed as the manager of 38 Jackson LLC, according to a redevelopment agreement.
“The fire hasn’t changed anything relative to the development plan,” he continued. “The fire obviously was just a very unfortunate event that happened, but that didn’t really change the plan. Because in reality, if the fire hadn’t happened; if we decided to go ahead with the development, the tenants would have left anyway.”
The redevelopment plans are to convert the building and the block into a 4-mixed used building site. The redevelopment plan would notably include 123 residents units, 12 of which will be affordable housing.
The west side of the block would turn into a 25,000-square-foot supermarket on the ground floor with parking (between 245 to 371 spaces) and commercial space above, two restaurants on the corners facing north at the Southwest Resiliency Park, and a public indoor glass-covered atrium in the center of the site.
Redevelopment agreements signed off
Over the course of the second half of 2021 before the fire, a number of actions were taken to prepare the building and the block for redevelopment.
The Chambord building was sold to 38 Jackson LLC. on June 22, 2021 for $30 million, according to Hudson County Register records. Four LLCs were the granters of the property, with Jackson TL, LLC, Jackson MH, LLC and Jackson WS, LLC selling for $9.3 million, and Jackson As Hoboken, LLC. selling for $2.1 million.
Associated with the LLCs are Anthony LoConte, manager of Jackson TL, Miguel Hector, managing member of Jackson MH, Norman Weisfeld, managing member of Jackson WB, and Anthony Siniscalchi, manager of Jackson as Hoboken.
The City Council then adopted an ordinance on Nov. 15 amending the Southwest Redevelopment Plan, which the property is located in, to accommodate the redevelopment proposals, including rededicating the block as Mixed Commercial Office Residential, and expanding the allowed height up to nine stories.
A redevelopment agreement was then passed by the City Council on Dec. 15, designating 38 Jackson LLC as the redevelopers of the site. Mezzatesta signed the agreement on Dec. 22, and Mayor Ravi Bhalla signed it on Jan. 14 of this year.
According to the agreement, the members of the redeveloper and those that hold an interest in the site are Brian Mazzei and Michael Nircio of Molfetta Jackson LLC, Anthony Petruzzelli, Carlos Duarte and the Mezzatesta Family Trust.
As part of the agreement, the redevelopers will be required to pay $800,000 to the city for expansion of the Southwest Resiliency Park, and requires the project to be completed within three years of governmental approvals (which can be extended).
It also says that the redevelopers would have to provide “mutually agreeable space” in the commercial/retail office spaces for existing and qualified tenants, though it is unknown what that will mean following a number of small businesses being displaced by the fire.
Preparing for redevelopment
Months after the fire took place, Mezzatesta said that of an estimated 75 tenants, 70 of them have removed their belongings out of the building, and the remaining few are in the process of moving out.
“The building is now basically a public nuisance and a safety hazard,” he said. “So it needs to be torn down either way, whether we redevelop it or somebody else does. It has no working utilities, water, gas, or electricity. It’s structurally unsound, so those are just the facts.”
He also said that there are plans for demolition, but they are in the process of getting permits to do so.
“It’s been a long process to redevelop the project, and it’s an ongoing process,” he said. “The fire was just a very unfortunate situation that was deemed accidental by the public entities and obviously, had its effect on everybody, including us.”