City Council – 12/13/2007 Preview
The Hoboken City Council holds a special meeting at 6pm tonight with two items on the agenda. The special meeting will be followed by the fourth and final budget workshop. Here is a look at the two items on the agenda.
Municipal Garage Sale
The agenda includes a “resolution on the selection of a proposal solicited through a request for proposals for the purchase and redevelopment of the Public Works Garage Site and the conditional selection of a redeveloper.” This is the conclusion of the open and fair RFP bidding process that the City Council approved unanimously at the August 20th meeting. While residential developers such as Metro Homes and Tarragon are halting projects and/or selling off assets during the credit crunch, Hoboken was still able to secure competitive bids for the garage through a process designed to establish a level playing field for all qualified developers while reaching the city’s $25 million dollar goal for the sale of the property.
The city received bids from Trammell Crow Residential and S. Hekemian at the deadline. Tonight the city’s special redevelopment attorney will recommend the most acceptable bid for council consideration. A third developer – MDK Development – sent a letter to the city refusing to participate in the open and fair RFP bidding process, and is now trying to weasel back onto the scene via Councilman-at-Large Peter Cammarano, who is looking to make new friends in the campaign contribution-rich developer community ahead of his run for Mayor. Cammarano and Ruben Ramos tried to block the RFP process back in August so they could direct the project to their friends at MDK. Seeing they didn’t have the votes, they begrudgingly voted to support the RFP.
In the unlikely event Cammarano could get five votes to reject the bids that comply with the city’s bidding procedure, the city would lose all the credibility it built up by actually launching a level playing field bidding process. Watch for the inevitable appearance of various real estate developers standing up to demand the council allow an even bigger building on the muni garage site to “maximize value,” which is a codeword for making sure more high-rise condo projects get the green light without pesky citizen interference.
Hiring Rail Yard Planner
The second and final item on the Special Meeting agenda is a contract to hire FXFOWLE Architects and Planners to prepare a redevelopment plan for the Hoboken Terminal and Yard. FXFOWLE will then work with the city and NJ Transit on plans to start building on the rail yards. This item was tabled at the last meeting due to concerns about how NJ Transit would reimburse the city for the work.
Budget Workshop Continues
Day 4 of the budget workshops may be dominated by all the unanswered questions from the first three budget workshops. It is scheduled to begin at 7pm, but with the special meeting preceding it at 6 it may take a while to get it going. As a refresher, you might want to catch up with day 1, day 2 and day 3 of the budget workshops.