Park Willow redevelopment zone

2/2/2009:

Yet another high-rise zone on the Roberts agenda

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Developer Dave Roberts is at it again. On the heels of his support for the 80-story NJ Transit redevelopment scheme, Roberts is greasing the wheels for yet another out-of-scale redevelopment project. This time it’s at the city’s northern entrance.

Eight blocks of land between 14th and 17th streets, Park Avenue and Grand Street are included in a new proposed “area in need of redevelopment” on the agenda for this Wednesday night’s City Council meeting. Redevelopment plans give developers special exemptions from zoning law and the right to negotiate Payments In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOTS).

40-story towers coming to North Hoboken?

There is nothing in the resolution describing what the Mayor wants built on these blocks, so had to do a little digging around to find out what’s going on. An investor group calling itself “Park Willow LLC” has been buying up properties including the Stahl Soap building and Macy’s Parade Studio. Park Willow’s tax bills go to an E.J. Hunter in Parsippany.

The group is believed to be behind a poll of residents last year that asked if they would support a plant to build a set of forty story office towers. Though no plans have been shown to the council, it’s well more than likely that the developers have shown their plans to our high-rise happy Mayor and his Community Development Director Fred Bado, whose job it will be to convince the council to go along with it.

Park Willow LLC gets funds for remediation

Park Willow has yet to present any proposal to the City Council or Planning Board, but it has already gotten a nod from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. With no approvals or even a public unveiling of Park Willow’s plan, the EDA awarded the project one million dollars for cleanup. The Star Ledger reported on January 13th:

“Park Willow LLC asked for up to $1 million reimbursement of costs to remediate nearly five acres on the Hoboken waterfront for a $1.1 billion residential and commercial project. Park Willow has proposed building 1.8 million square feet of office space, 300 condominium units and 85,000 square feet of ground-floor retail on the site. The four-block redevelopment site contained several industrial businesses, including an auto body repair shop, an elevator supply and repair firm, a sheet metal shop, a soap factory and a car wash.”

You read that right. 300 condos, 85,000 square feet of retail and a whopping 1.8 million square feet of office space. Of course, nothing in the Hoboken Zoning Code or the Master Plan allows for anything anywhere near this scale (or even these uses) on these blocks. Park Willow has gotten approval from the state for a million tax dollars for a project they have yet to even ask for approvals for on several properties they don’t even own yet!

Eminent Domain would likely be needed

According to state tax records, Park Willow LLC owns all the properties on blocks 133 and 134 (Burlington Coat, Macy’s Studio, etc.), and some of block 125 (near the Hess)(see map). Since other people own portions of blocks 122, 123, 125, 131, 140 and 141 you can safely assume that in order for the developer’s lofty high-rise vision to be achieved through redevelopment that some of these owners could be facing the taking of their land by the city to be handed over to Park Willow.

What happens now?

The city council will be asked to pass a resolution calling on the Planning Board to begin a study of a “proposed area in need of redevelopment.” This is just a formality, with politically connected planners and consultants being awarded big contracts to go through the motions. The question today is whether the council will go through with it, and whether state monitor Judy Tripodi will do anything to overrule them if they don’t.

The public will be allowed to comment on the resolution at the meeting. If you don’t want to see 40 story high-rise office towers on Park Avenue, you might want to let your councilperson know, speak at the meeting, and add your voice to the comments section.

Leave a Reply

52 Comments on "Park Willow redevelopment zone"

hobojoe
Member

[quote comment=”132865″]We need an electric bus service on Washington St. with parking on each end…stops the double parking and traffic congestion and saves the environment. With our taxes, we all deserve this service. Parking fee covers the free bus trip or whatever. Merchants and donations can also help out. :P[/quote]

Have you been pulling out Dave Roberts’ old campaign literature again? Because that’s exactly what he promised back before he was elected his first term – perimeter parking lots, and using the old Newark City Subway cars down Washington St.

nbm3
Member
nbm3

This area def needs some commercial space. Too many condos in Hoboken.

homeworld
Member

[quote comment=”132865″]We need an electric bus service on Washington St. with parking on each end…stops the double parking and traffic congestion and saves the environment. With our taxes, we all deserve this service. Parking fee covers the free bus trip or whatever. Merchants and donations can also help out. :P[/quote]

We had that, but it was torn out about 100 years ago.

truth1
Member
truth1

We need an electric bus service on Washington St. with parking on each end…stops the double parking and traffic congestion and saves the environment. With our taxes, we all deserve this service. Parking fee covers the free bus trip or whatever. Merchants and donations can also help out. 😛

notnow
Member
notnow
Unfortunately they already snuck in a Sewer plant back there, which serves Union City, Weehawken, and Hoboken. It could of easily went in any of the other participating towns, but ended up in Hoboken. I am just concerned that they may stick some other undesirable facilities there just to spite Hoboken. The Master Plan calls for shops and restaurants all along 15th, which I would love to see, but has not happened. They also are putting the exhaust vent for this under ground train tunnel in Hoboken. How many more things will they slip in, because no one cares about this area. I would much rather see significant commercial be developed than residential, but i am willing to give a little to get a little. I prefer commercial because it is less of a drain on the City. Look, the bottom line is Hoboken needs to cut expenses and also raise revenues. I am tired of increasing parking fees, permits, meters, and every other fee which is the equivalent to raising taxes, which they also did. I do not want a new Administration to go into an elected position with their hands tied. I want them to have options to significantly reduce taxes. Cutting expenses is important, but extremely difficult when it comes to Government. Ask any of our Council people. Which is why I want them to focus on raising revenues via NEW SOURCES. Not us the Tax Payers. We need help. We really should work with this group… Read more »
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