What was once a My-T-Fine Pudding manufacturing facility and a small business incubator will now become a nine-story mixed-use redevelopment project after the Hoboken Planning Board unanimously gave its approval to demolish and renovate the site.
The redevelopment of the site, which had been planned since last year, cleared its final hurdle Sept. 8, with the applicants, 38 Jackson LLC, looking to convert the site with 123 residential units, commercial and retail space, and a supermarket.
The Chambord site took a number of steps beforehand to get redeveloped, including amendments last November to the Southwest Redevelopment Plan where the site is located, followed by a redevelopment agreement that was approved and later signed in December.
The site was badly damaged by a fire in December that killed two people and displaced a number of small businesses located there. A second fire flared up two days later. Investigators ultimately ruled the fire an accident.
Despite the fire, the redevelopers, led by representatives from real estate company the Taurasi Group, continued onward to have the building revamped, and appeared before the Planning Board to go over their plans.
“It really represents a culmination of hard work between the city, the city’s community development staff, the Planning Board, and all the professionals that have been involved,” said Jason Tuvel, the applicant’s attorney.
“It’s also like the quintessential urban revitalization-type project, where you have a building that is run down, a building that’s had a fire, but also has some historical components to it, and some history to it as well,” he continued. “This project is integrating some of that history while rebuilding the site to meet modern needs and the needs of the community in the area.”
The applicants plan to demolish nearly all of the buildings on the site to construct the nine-story development, with 12 of the 123 residential units designated as affordable housing, about 94,490 square feet for commercial space for retail, office space, a supermarket, and a 312-space parking garage.
Going over the site plans, John Nastasi of nastasi architects explained that they will renovate the original My-T-Fine Pudding building, and that the north side will have a pedestrian entrance. He continued that the entrance to the parking garage will be on Jackson Street, while the exit will be on Harrison Street.
“What we like to think is [that] because of our large public garage, we’re removing all these cars off the streets of Hoboken,” said Nastasi. “Because if you’re using our garage, you never really kind of get entangled in the streets of Hoboken.”
For the ground floor, Nastasi said that it will have what he called a “commons” courtyard that will be surrounded by retail space for two anchor restaurants, supportive retail spaces, and a 22,000 square foot supermarket. He also said that there will be public bike racks on Harrison and Jackson.
On the second level, the parking garage would be located above the supermarket on the south side and the first level of condominium units would be built on the north side. Nastasi said that the second floor will also have amenity spaces such as work spaces and gyms.
More parking spaces and condos will be built up on floors three to five, with parking floors four and five having 30-space bicycle rooms each. On the sixth and seventh floors, two floors of commercial space will then be built on top of the garage, with 25,000 square feet of space on each floor. The floors will also have private terraces.
Lastly on the top, there will be rooftop amenities such as terraces, lawn areas and a swimming pool, and an indoor multi-purpose room, along with nine two-story duplexes.
In terms of the amount of condos, floor two will have two one-bedrooms, seven two-bedrooms and four three-bedrooms. Floors three to five will have five one-bedrooms, 11 two-bedrooms and six three-bedrooms each.
Floor six will have two one-bedrooms, 11 six-bedrooms and five three-bedrooms, and floor seven will have three one-bedrooms, nine two-bedrooms and five three-bedrooms.
Near the end of the hearing, Commissioner Casey Wolf had inquired the applicants about a part in the redevelopment agreement that said that the redevelopers would provide “mutually agreeable space” to the tenants, noting the December fire that displaced them.
“Is there a consideration for…part of the spirit of the Southwest Redevelopment Plan is to conserve artisan tenants and things of that nature,” she said. “Are there considerations for as we say in the agreement, mutually agreeable space within either maybe some gallery space in the ground floor or co-working office space in the other office spaces?”
Nick Petruzzelli of the Taurasi Group, who’s overseeing construction of the project, replied that many of the former tenants wouldn’t be able to come back because of the types of businesses they had such as carpentry and body shops, and that it was “hard to say” how many will when the project is completed within two-and-a-half to three years.
“We did everything we possibly could to accommodate them and find new locations,” he said. “There are several that have come back to us and asked us if we have the opportunity to get additional space. Of course they will.”
“They’re getting something now that’s new compared to the dangerous thing that was there,” he continued. “The fire was unfortunate, but probably about a year ago, when I walked through it, I could see it. I could see that [it] was a time bomb.”
“So will it cost them more? Yes. But we’re not looking to kill anybody, and I said that we would consider giving them a discount.”
He then said that the initial plans had no commercial space, but when they talked with the City Council, they decided to create said space with the then-tenants in mind. He then added that it will depend on who will come to them for space .
Chairman Frank Magaletta also asked if they could create a maker space for the artists, to which Petruzzelli replied that it’s “something to think about.”
At the end, the commissioners praised the project before unanimously voting 5-0 to approve the plans. “I’m doing my best to find something wrong with [the plan],” said Councilman and Commissioner Jim Doyle with the room laughing in response. “It’s certainly long in coming, and I think it’s a great plan.”
After the meeting, Gary Mezzatesta, also from the Taurasi Group and the managing of 38 Jackson LLC., said that they were “thrilled” on the project’s approval. “We think it’s a great project for the community, for all the reasons mentioned at tonight’s meeting, and we want to get it built as quickly as possible,” he said.
In regards to the planned demolition of the site, Mezzatesta said that they started the process on Wednesday after getting a demolition permit from the city; he added that all of the small buildings on the south side were taken down, and that all the buildings that were destroyed will be removed within the next few weeks.
Hoboken spokeswoman Marilyn Baer said that the city “looks forward to eventually cutting the ribbon on the new development.”