Archived Posts from "'Real Estate'"

Hoboken reval rhetoric

Council seeks to terminate “rolling reassessment” in Hoboken

Zimmer misled council members, no transparency…

Hoboken City Council members Beth Mason, Theresa Castellano, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti called on “mayor” Zimmer today to cancel the City of Hoboken’s rolling reassessment program. The proposed rolling reassessment program would require the City of Hoboken to reevaluate properties on an annual basis. In addition, the program would require Hoboken properties be reevaluated according to market trends and values.

Hoboken Property Taxes

“Zimmer’s rolling reassessment program will not reduce our city’s tax burden,” said Councilwoman Mason. “This will lead to yet another tax increase for Hoboken residents. We should immediately terminate the contract of the firm the Mayor supported to conduct the rolling revaluation program.”

Earlier this year, Zimmer sought and received state approval to establish the rolling reassessment program before consulting the City Council. Her administration submitted a resolution to hire the same company that conducted the 2013 property tax revaluation, but the resolution failed to specify that it was for a new rolling reassessment program.

As a result of the rolling reassessment program, if properties are sold over market value or when building permits are taken out by a homeowner to make an improvement the Zimmer Administration will be able to increase property taxes on a continual basis.

As usual, Zimmer kept the independent thinkers on the City Council in the dark. Zimmer’s record on taxes is one that she should find very embarrassing. She promised to cut property taxes by 25% within 90 days of taking office and failed to do so, she blew a $25 million surplus on patronage and wasteful spending, and then her allies on the Hoboken Board of Education voted to take away the public’s right to vote on the school budget. I guess this is the latest chapter in her terrible track record,” said Councilwoman Theresa Castellano.

“We were elected to put the best interest of our constituents first, and I cannot support a program that runs the risk of increasing taxes on our residents,” said Councilman Russo. “I am committed to working with my colleagues to cut wasteful spending and provide much-needed tax relief for our families. She continues to point out that the County overtaxes residents, and it appears that her solution is to join the party and overtax residents at the municipal level as well. It is absolutely absurd.”

“Zimmer was the poster child for Governor Christie’s two-percent property taxes cap. However, patronage hires, skyrocketing legal costs, and fiscal mismanagement have rendered her unable to live within that two-percent cap. Instead, the Mayor is using this rolling revaluation as a way to circumvent the very property tax cap that she traveled the state to support. Evidently when her opinion of Governor Christie changed, so did her support for the two-percent cap,” Councilman Occhipinti said.

At the December 2nd City Council meeting Council members Mason, Castellano, Russo, and Occhipinti will introduce a resolution to terminate the professional services contract of the firm hired to conduct the rolling revaluation program. To date, the revaluation program has cost Hoboken taxpayers $680,000 and will top over $1 million in the next four years.

Property Taxes and Values – a sticky situation in Hoboken

A bunch of people asked me about this last week, as a lot of residents are scrambling to get a handle on their property taxes, the whole “assessment” process the city is fiddling with and more.

Is there anything “fair” about property tax assessment in Hoboken?

But I’d like to remind people – that rather than arguing over how much YOU pay – I think there are more disturbing issues to tackle, like determining a truly FAIR way to subsidize such an ineffective “corporation” called the City of Hoboken.

  • For one, as we cited an example earlier this year, a family of four living in a $350k condo pays a lot less than a single individual living in a $950k condo – yet uses significantly more of the city resources. That single fact alone makes their method of calculating the “contributions” a property-owning resident should make completely INVALID. Perpetually punishing someone because of what they can afford is just not sustainable. This is a lot different than a “sales tax.” When people start putting their heads together to crack this nut, then it makes sense to further the discussion.
  • Additionally, now the city wants to blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars to ANNUALLY INSPECT the properties! What kind of INVASION OF PRIVACY is that? Do you want that much government intrusion? It’s off-the-charts ridiculous, and I can sense another “revolt” amongst the residents brewing.

What sucks beyond belief – is the fact that all of you think you “own” your property. You don’t. You’re “renting” from the city.

When election time rolls around again, maybe there will be an intelligent candidate who will deliver a significantly smaller government and way to generate revenue that doesn’t OVER TAX the residents into poverty.

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New High Rise coming to 15th & Wash

Higher and Higher in Hoboken

Several residents were wondering why an entire block of Washington St. between 14th & 15th was marked off as “no parking” recently (almost until the end of the month on one side).

No Parking Hoboken NJ Washington Street 14th 15th

Another Toll Brothers Building starts at 15th & Washington

So it looks like Toll Brothers is breaking ground for the latest uptown high-rise. From what we understand the room was needed to stage large construction equipment onto the lot.

They’re apparently taking a pause from Maxwell Place to work on this project. But sales has been good according to Toll. Their revenues have increased by nearly 50% in just the past year alone, thanks to the lovely Real Estate Bubble!

All the people in 1450 Washington who’ve been enjoying their somewhat good views of the skyline must be wondering what to do with their investments. Oh well, the risks of city living, I guess.

Toll Brothers Construction Hoboken NJ Hudson Tea

Description: Luxury Apartment Building.
Address: 15th & Washington, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Phone: TBD
Online: TBD

Another church turned condo in Hoboken

Oh boy, Church condo conversion in Hoboken botches sidewalk!

This is a bizarre “accident waiting to happen” here in Hoboken. That Bethesda Church turned condo apparently comes with a ridiculously ass-backwards design for the sidewalk too, as Hoboken resident Eduardo explains:

“I walk by the church turned condo on Willow and 7th and found this unbelievable. I’m all for a couple extra trees but what the zoning board allowed is ridiculous. The sidewalk is extremely narrow now and they put up fences so you are literally squeezing and bumping into anyone that is on the sidewalk with you. My two kids, who are just 8 and 5, barely fit with all the fencing and diminished sidewalk! Also, if anyone is walking with a stroller or a dog there is no way that they both fit on the sidewalk. I always thought that the sidewalk had to be at least 6ft wide but that extra row of trees cuts it down.”

Not in Hoboken apparently if you know the right people on the right municipal boards!

Narrow sidewalk at church turned condo in Hoboken NJ

(What morons would approve this design in Hoboken?)

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More Hoboken Waterfront Towers Coming?

Monarch at Shipyard still on the radar in Hoboken

The political battle known as Monarch at Shipyard, though local courts gave the “green light” for the project earlier this year – debate still rages on.

Most people who live in the vicinity oppose the plan and feel it’s too much, and would hurt property values. While other residents actually support it, saying that having the piers “brought to life” would actually improve the city.

Monarch at Shipyard debate continues in Hoboken NJ

Mason to Freeholders: “Reject the Monarch”

Councilwoman Beth Mason called on the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders to vote against a controversial development plan because she feels that will adversely impact the Hoboken community. Hudson County Freeholders will vote on whether to uphold the county planning board’s rejection of the project at their next meeting on October 28, 2014.

The Monarch project includes plans to build two high-rise towers located at Sinatra Drive and Shipyard Lane in Hoboken. This is in direct opposition to the city’s and the developer’s original intention for the area, which was to create a waterfront walkway, tennis pavilion with several courts, and parking.

“The proposed site for the Monarch project was originally designated for public use, including a waterfront walkway, tennis courts, and additional parking for all residents to enjoy,” said Councilwoman Mason. “Replacing those plans with two high-rise towers will negatively impact Hoboken residents by putting an additional strain on our roadways, sewage, and public transportation systems. We must remain focused on improving our residents’ quality of life, and that is why I am calling on Hudson County Freeholders to vote down the Monarch project.”

Mason, who represents Hoboken’s 2nd Ward on the City Council, has been a leading advocate for constituents who are opposed to the project. She recently asked Hudson County Freeholders to host its October meeting in Hoboken, making it easier for the residents who will be impacted by the project to attend.

Earlier this year, Mason met with members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to talk about the negative impact the Monarch project would have on the Hoboken community. And now, she’s calling on both federal and state officials to join residents in opposing the contentious project.

“The people of Hoboken and the county planning board have made it clear that this project is not in the best interest of our community,” said Mason. “I hope that our federal and state elected officials will join us in opposition of the Monarch project.”

Mason will be organizing residents to attend the October meeting. She is committed to ensuring that her constituents are represented fairly and that their voices are heard by Hudson County Freeholders prior to the vote.

Click to see original Monarch Updates…

8th & Jefferson: For Sale!

Corner retail spot at 732 Jefferson in Hoboken for sale

Did you know that the location known as 732 Jefferson St. (at 8th & Jefferson) is for sale?

That’s right. For a mere $1.7 million bucks, an 1875 square foot sliver of Hoboken can be YOURS! The two businesses located there are The Blowout Zone (4 years left on lease), and one of the last remaining “dive bars” in Hoboken – DC’s Tavern (2 years left on lease). But is it worth it? See below for our armchair mathematics!

8th & Jefferson for sale in Hoboken NJ

$1.7 mil only worth it if you REDEVELOP!

Let’s take a look at some numbers here.

This spot generates about $100k in rental revenue annually ($85k after overhead).

So that means that if you have the luxury of paying CASH in full – it would take at least a full 20 years to see a “return on your investment” (ROI). 100% insanity! And if you had to get a mortgage on the property, keeping the status quo would take 50 or more years to “get into the black.”

It’s obvious the property owner just wants a payday – and hopes an overly-optimistic developer will buy the property, wait four years to get the tenants out, and push for some kind of profitable upgrade.

Whether it’s more condos above (with street-level retail), or some other kind of revenue-generating upgrade is unknown in this city. Because some folks with grand dreams get crushed by the city, and other good businesses also leave Hoboken in frustration due to the psychopathic ineptitude over at the zoning and planning boards at city hall.

The listing agent is Keller Williams.

One thing for sure. If this property sells – that pretty much guarantees DC’s bar will be gone forever. Even if they keep retail on-board, the rent would likely triple – meaning that an old-fashioned watering hole could never survive.

Pack your bags, people – Hoboken is changing!

NJ Transit Rail Yards Plan

NJ Transit / Hoboken Terminal Yards Redevelopment Plan update

We’ve been covering the NJ Transit Rail Yards “redevelopment plan” for the past six or seven years. And this political football topic has been around for more than 15 years! And look – still nothing done! Yet they keep talking about it as if it’s going to happen “any day now!”

We’re here to tell you it’s NOT.

Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan 2014 dog and pony show

Hoboken terminal plan is just rhetoric (and bad ideas!)

There’s yet another meeting dog and pony show tonight at City Hall to “discuss” this “plan.” Countless other “sideshows” disguised as “community input meetings” have been held over the years. These accomplish a few goals.

  • Make the community feel as if their input matters (it rarely, if ever does)
  • Give attention to politicians, make them appear competent, knowledgeable
  • Mask incompetence, divert spotlight from failed promises

Why the plan will not happen any time soon

This political football pipe dream may seem within touch for some people, but the reality is that it is nowhere near close to happening. It’s all rhetoric.

For one, before any building is built – a TON of infrastructure work has to be completed.

PSE&G is in the midst of ripping up streets all over town. They “project” they’ll have the “upgrades” down in two or three years (not including any unforeseen “discoveries” and other un-planned for circumstances). Any projection from a public utility can easily be doubled. So say five years is more realistic.

And that doesn’t include any of the work that United Water needs to do as well.

Add in a healthy mixture of legal battles, environmentalists, hearings, a revolving door of politicians, elections, unforeseen weather events, economic intangibles, and scandals – and I’d be very surprised if anything is even started by the year 2025.

Observer Highway Hoboken proposed traffic jam squeeze

Why the plan (in general) is a bad idea

Let’s say they “break ground” tomorrow (they’re not), only for sake of discussion. We think this plan is another one of those Utopian “pies in the sky.” Urban planners all over the world have a massive track record of failure to plan for growth appropriately. Not just here in Hoboken, but everywhere. Highways too narrow, bridges & tunnels too small, over-developing in climatologically risky areas, etc.

In this case – they want to redesign the downtown area with a full suite of accouterments that are currently ranking high (in terms of progressive “buzz.”) Like bike lanes, “eco-friendly” drainage, pedestrian (homeless) piazzas, green roofs, and all the other lingo. Missing from that batch of fuzzy feel good propaganda is a healthy dose of logic and reality.

Another big part of progressive plans like these are “traffic and pedestrian safety measures.” Including speed bumps, curb cutouts, special lanes for bicyclists, handicapped people, and so on. They also like to throw in “traffic calming” features as well, which slows movement. Let’s sum up what would really happen if they built this massive project as proposed today:

  • Traffic bottlenecks will drastically get worse (even with fancy signals and timing mechanisms).
  • Minor incidents will now result in catastrophic delays in terms of the effects they’ll have on volume.
  • Desperate drivers will seek alternate routes – quite possibly increasing volume on streets that normally don’t experience it.
  • Adding offices, jobs, and residential units will only compound the problem (i.e., people still love cars).
  • And most importantly – parking will get even MORE difficult.

It sure would be nice if someone stood up and said “wait a minute, are we really thinking this through?”

Sucks that only profit and political scores are the lone things that result from projects like this. All that happens is that (realistic) issues are “kicked down the road” and become someone else’s problems (sort of like how every headache in Hoboken today was effectively caused by someone else 10, 20 or 100 years ago).

Click for previous NJ Transit Plan updates going back to 2008…