14-story building for north Hoboken?
Zoning board meeting tonight
Tonight Hoboken’s Zoning Board will resume it’s hearing on the proposal to replace “Park on Park” with a high-rise, multi-use building. The developer is Larry Bijou of Bijou Holdings, who also developed the two-story brick building at the corner of 14th and Park with the NYSC, and plans to convert the vacant “Coconut Building” at 14th and Garden into “Garden Street Lofts.” Bijou has earned praise for choosing to spend millions to rehab older buildings that are in character with the heart of Hoboken when other developers cash in by tearing down old buildings in order to put up entire blocks of cookie-cutter condos.
The developer is also known as an advocate for “Green Buildings” that minimize impact on the environment, and the proposal includes several things that qualify for that status. Because of Bijou’s efforts to convert older properties, it came as somewhat of a surprise that he was proposing to tear down “Park on Park” and replace it with a modern high-rise.
At the first ZBA meeting on the proposal it was standing room only with parents from the Elysian Charter School turning out to support the project, which would provide much needed space for their classrooms. Others who attended are concerned that allowing variances for a building this large will open the floodgates to allow larger buildings southeast of 1415 park on land owned by Toll Brothers. Toll owns the Hudson Tea building, and is developing the Skeleton Building known as the “Harborside Lofts.” Several open parking lots between 14th street and the Tea Building will be developed with condos by Toll in a manner that would step the building heights gradually down from the Tea Building to 14th Street. This would allowing the dense development to better blend into low-rise Hoboken. Some people are concerned that should the variances be granted for 1415 Park, Toll will move to raise the height of their proposed buildings, creating a high-rise city at the northern edge of Hoboken.
Unlike Toll, Bijou is offering space for a school, an underground parking garage to better utilize space and lower the building height, and more expensive green building practices. Still, there is opposition to the height variances Bijou is proposing from people in the community who don’t want to be “boxed in.” Bijou also doesn’t have the pull with Mayor David Roberts that large campaign contributors like Ursa/Tarragon, Applied, and Fields have. If any of those well connected developers applied for these variances they would very likely be granted by the Roberts regime regardless of public opinion.
The meeting begins at 7pm in the lower level meeting room at city hall. Enter downstairs at Newark Street.