511-521 Newark: High-Rise Condos?
As the Hoboken political worlds turns…
City Council overturns Zoning Board approval
A 12-story building application approved for 511-521 Newark Street was rejected on appeal by the City Council last night. The vote may have had as much to do with Fourth Ward politics as it did urban planning. The Skyline Condo Association appealed to the council to overturn approvals given to Former Fire Chief John Cassessa. The residents of that 15-story tower objected to the 12-story plan across the street because it would block some of their views of New York City.
In November, the Zoning Board approved the project on the old Rey Foods property, taking into account the other high-rise apartment towers in the area, including the Skyline, Hoboken Grande, and 700 Grove. Council members Marsh, Mello, Bhalla, Lenz and Cunningham voted to overturn the approvals, while Giacchi, Russo and Castellano voted to uphold the Zoning Board’s ruling. The applicant will likely go to court to challenge the decision.
High-rise residents against more high-rise apartments
In an ironic twist, the only two members of the council who live in high-rise buildings voted against this project, which is smaller than the towers they live in. Dave Mello lives in the 17-story Sky Club and Ravi Bhalla resides in the 14-story Shipyard. Lenz – who supported building a high-rise tower where Pier A park is today – could either vote against the project or face the wrath of one of the biggest buildings in the 4th ward months before an election.
Back to the Southwest Redevelopment Drawing Board
511-521 Newark was included in Mayor Dave Roberts’ Southwest Redevelopment Area, and Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s Planning Board (including Keith Furman) is likely to move forward to re-start the redevelopment plan process for the area. It’s possible that well after the 4th ward election is over, a redevelopment plan that includes a high-rise here will be back on the table.
See the original plans and earlier updates, after the jump!
Now called 511-521 Newark – Meeting tonight!
The Hoboken Zoning Board is holding a special meeting tonight on former Fire Chief Cassessa’s proposed 12 story building across the street from The Skyline. At this meeting, the board will hear public comment and take a vote. If this is approved, it may lead provide legal cover for similar applications for high-rises along Observer Highway and Newark Street. Meeting starts at 7pm in the downstairs conference room right below the City Council meeting taking place at the same exact time. Bring on human cloning!
Zoning Board Meeting continues tonight…
If you’re interested in finding out whether more high-rise condos get approved in Hoboken, head down to the Zoning Board Meeting at 7pm tonight at City Hall, where the public hearing continues in regards to the SEVEN variances the developer of this project is seeking.
Another 12 story condo tower proposed!
Here comes another southwest condo tower. This one’s been on the drawing board for years, but is only just now hitting tonight’s agenda of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Former Hoboken Fire Chief John Cassesa first proposed building a high-rise across the street from the Firehouse and southeast of The Skyline over three years ago. Politically speaking, Hoboken was very different then. Mayor David Roberts could count on a reliable City Council super-majority, and he planned to deliver big for his developer friends in the southwest. His pals the Caulfields of Fields Development proposed a 13-story building at Newark and Henderson, the Fire Chief filed an application for 14 stories next door, and Construction Code Official Al Arezzo wanted 15 stories on his property just up the street where the police horse stable used to be. Roberts said “Whoa! Pull back your applications fellas because I can deliver it all to you through a redevelopment plan!” (paraphrasing of course.) Well, the Roberts plan for the Southwest was so bad that the community rose up against it.
There was a little talk about SW redevelopment at the beginning of Dawn Zimmer’s term, but ahead of her Mayoral run she started sticking her beak into 2nd and 5th ward development issues while the downtown parks activists were fighting for the SW6 plan.
What’s in the application?
Cassesa has backed off a bit from the original 14-story plan, which has evolved into a 12-story building with 72 residential units on 100% lot coverage (naturally!) 77 parking spaces would be built, and neighbors at Toll Brothers’ 700 Grove complex would look at a three story blank wall where the garage is. Of course variances galore would be needed to approve this building, but they’re really no different from those approved to build the neighboring Skyline, Hoboken Grande, and Observer Plaza. The only thing different is the political climate. The block is in an industrial zone where use variances would be needed to allow for the residential units and the “Nursery School” added to the plan to appeal to southwest stroller moms.
There will always be those who oppose any building above 3 stories anywhere in Hoboken, and they will surely turn out to oppose the plan. Others will say the Newark Street corridor is lined with eyesore buildings that have long outlived their usefulness and should be replaced. Those opposed will have to raise money to hire attorneys and planners to fight the application. The developer will say he has no choice but to go to the Zoning Board because Zimmer and Roberts didn’t answer their mandate to come together on a southwest redevelopment plan that makes sense. The budget issues took center stage, and the southwest took a back seat to Zimmer’s Mayoral aspirations.
The 509 Newark application was tentatively scheduled to be on the agenda for tonight’s Zoning Board meeting, but the attorney for the applicant has requested the board consider scheduling a special meeting in September to begin hearing the application.
Hoboken411 will keep you abreast of the latest developments, as has been the case for years.