Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

3/6/2009 Update:

Unanimously voted down

In a marathon meeting that lasted well after midnight, the Hoboken Zoning Board unanimously rejected the application by Trammel Crow Residential for 23 variances to tear down Neumann Leathers for condos.

Nearly six hours of testimony focused on how TCR failed to meet the legal standards necessary for the variances they requested, as well as testimony about the many successful businesses and artists that would be displaced if the doomsday plan had been approved. Neumann tenants John Nastasi, Tom Newman, Chris Mehos and Tim Daly described the vitality of the artist, artisan, and high-tech business community that has been flourishing for decades at Neumann. This was followed by public comments. 12 of the 13 people who spoke opposed the application.

Many opposed plan

Born-and-raised Hobokenites stood side by side with newcomers seeking to preserve the history and vital current uses at the Neumann property.

Former City Council President Richard DelBoccio gave a passionate appeal for the tenants, recalling how so many things made in Hoboken were once exported to the world and that Neumann is now the last enclave of industry and artists in the Mile Square City. Allen Kratz and Sara Raslowsky were among those calling for the Zoning Board to pay attention to the history of the site. Many others including Ines Garcia-Keim, Melissa Abernathy, Jim Doyle and Helen Manogue opposed the plan. Neighbors of the Neumann property also urged the board to say no to the project.

Moving forward

In the end, a united Zoning Board led by Chairman Dominic Lisa turned thumbs down on the Trammel Crow plan after many nights of hearings and a great deal of professional and public testimony and discussion.

With the doomsday plan rejected now the work resumes to move forward with a better plan for Neumann Leathers.

See all previous updates after the jump.

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2/13/2009 Update:

Neumann Leathers Update

Another hearing on the Trammell Crow Residential (TCR) proposal to tear down the Neumann Leathers complex was held this week by the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA).

ZBA Chairman Dominic Lisa wants the next meeting to be the last. It will be held on Thursday, March 5th at 7pm at City Hall. Before wrapping up their testimony, TCR showed this map of the proposed subdivision of the site, which did nothing to quell the concerns of people who do not want Clinton Street extended through to Observer Highway:

tcr proposal for neumann leathers - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

TCR has conveniently subdivided their project into three lots, with the red one in the middle for the supposed pedestrian plaza that just happens to be the exact width of the existing Clinton Street right of way. When pressed, TCR claims it is not their intention for this to be a road, but rather stressed they have no control of what a government entity could do when it comes to eminent domain for a new road.

Some say drawing a seperate lot for the Clinton Street “View Corridor” may actually be designed to more easily handle the paperwork should the county move to drive a street through. Clinton could then become the first northbound turn for vehicles coming east on Observer Highway from Henderson/Marin Boulevard.

What happened Wednesday night?

With the developer completing the testimony of his witnesses, it became the Neumann Leather Tenants Associations turn to bring experts who could refute the claims of TCR and attack the legal arguments for the 23 variances made by the developer. NLTA attorney Ira Karasick began with environmental engineer John Kerber, who testified that nothing in the Department of Enviornmental Protection’s files on Neumann says it can’t continue to be used for current uses, and that there is no evidence the buildings would have to come down to remediate the property…


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(Neumann Leathers update, continued…)

Structural Engineer: The buildings are sound

Structural Engineer Donald Friedman testified that he inspected the buildings and they are sound. He found no rot, rust, or shifting of the foundation. He did find signs of “deferred maintenance” such as the lack of pointing between the brick is many areas, but that it could all be easily remedied. He added there is no sign of differential settlement or any structural deficiencies. The testimony flew in the face of TCR’s continued battle cry that the buildings must “come down”.

Planner: TCR made no legal case for variances

Licensed Planner Janice Talley then presented her analysis of the variances requested by TCR to build it’s project. In a detailed report Talley outlined how TCR’s request for a whopping 23 variances is in effect “Zoning by Variance” which is contrary to the Municipal Land Use Law. She also noted how the proposal was at odds with the Hoboken Master Plan and zoning ordinance. This is the most important part of the testimony since it is the part most likely to relevant if the variances are granted and appealed to a higher authority. It also gives the board the legal ammunition it may need to reject the application.

What happens next?

TCR’s attorneys will get the chance to cross examine the NLTA’s planner, which will be followed by testimony from some Neumann Tenants.

Chairman Lisa wants this over at the next meeting, and is likely to limit the number of tenants who will testify. Then comes the public comment, which will be key to the decision made by the board. Members of the public will very likely get their final opportunity to weigh in on the project at the next meeting on March 5th, which will finally be followed by a vote.


1/22/2009 Update:

Another special meeting tonight

Reminder: the Zoning Board holds another meeting tonight to consider TCR’s proposal to kick all the tenants out of the Neumann Leather complex to make way for more “luxury apartments”. Check out the recap of previous meetings after the break, as well as the “Dave Roberts on Neumann Leather” thread where one of the many pieces of Roberts Team campaign literature that turned out to be worth less than the glossy paper it was printed on. The hearing will resume with two new Zoning Board members.

The meeting gets underway tonight at 7pm at City Hall.

hoboken neumann leather building - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

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12/5/2008 Update:

Update as to what took place at last night’s Zoning Board meeting:

hoboken zoning board recap october 29 2008 - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

ZBA meetings trudge along…

Last night the Zoning Board hearing on the doomsday proposal to demolish Neumann Leathers continued at yet another special meeting. For about three hours planner Kenneth Ochab testified and was cross-examined by objectors and the public. Ochab wrote a planning report supporting TCR’s application to destroy the historic buildings and replace them with “Luxury Apartments.” The planner was challenged by several members of the public on his claims concerning the appropriateness of the requested variances to allow the project in an industrial zone, as well as his claim that TCR’s plan is in line with the Hoboken Master Plan, which lays out a very different vision for the Neumann site.

In addition to Neumann Leather Tenants Association attorney Ira Karasick, Ochab was cross examined by several members of the public, including Allen Kratz, Leah Healey, Jim Doyle and Lane Bajardi. The Zoning Board closed the hearing and will resume testimony at a special meeting on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009.

At future meetings TCR may bring Architect Dean Marchetto back up for more testimony, as well as a representative of their development group.

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Other professionals may testify depending on the comments made by the NLTA’s witnesses, which will include a planner to present a rebuttal to Ochab, a structural engineer to rebut comments about the true integrity of the post-Civil War era buildings and possibly an environmental expert to bring TCR’s comments about contamination into further perspective.

Zoning Board Chair Dominic Lisa may also allow some Neumann Leather tenants to discuss the work that they do and the value they bring to the community of Hoboken. Allen Kratz also plans to offer a historian to rebut the comments of the TCR-paid historian who poo-pooed the historical significance of the Neumann Leather buildings, some of which are among the oldest buildings still standing in Hoboken.

In addition to a full house of Neumann tenants and neighbors of the site, there were also several members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America in the audience. The trade unions are unhappy with TCR’s labor practices at a project now under construction in Bayonne. The allegation is TCR is transporting low-wage, non-union labor in from hundreds of miles away, avoiding union laborers from Hudson County, even though the developer has an agreement with the municipality to use local labor. The union may seek to cause TCR even more trouble at future hearings. Again, the next meeting is January 22, 2009.

11/12/2008 Reminder:

hoboken nlta logo - Neumann Leathers no longer in JeopardyIn case you didn’t know – tonight is the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustments meeting. Head down to City Hall Council Chambers at 7pm tonight – as the hearing continues for Trammel Crowe Residential’s application to tear down Neumann for its proposed townhouse style condo project.

This round will feature TCR’s historian and structural engineer vs. the Neumann Leathers Tenants Associations attorney Ira Karasick.

They encourage all residents in opposition to this plan to attend!

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10/30/2008 ZBA recap:

hoboken zoning board recap october 29 2008 - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

Tom Newman – from the Neumann Leathers Tenants Association sent Hoboken411 a recap from this week’s meeting.

The battle continues…

“We had a standing room only crowd in the downstairs meeting room (smaller than the upstairs Council chambers). It was a good showing for a damp evening. The main event was their traffic guy who gave the usual prediction that there would be little or no traffic impact.

But some of us – most notably Lane Bajardi – tried, through cross examination, to get at the danger of creating a Clinton St. extension, even though they only intend to have pedestrian use. With a massive development being proposed across Observer Hwy on the railyards we could reasonably expect even more jams on that road. Opening up Clinton to relieve this pressure could be an irresistible temptation for the County or State somewhere down the line.

The resulting jams on the Hoboken street grid – now protected somewhat by the bottlenecks at either end of the city – would be the most significant negative impact from railyard development. TCR’s attorney argued that this kind of speculation was not pertinent to the present application. If that is true it only serves to show that the narrow focus of a variance application in front of the Zoning Board is no way for the City to deal with the larger planning issues involved in a major project like this.

The next hearing will be November 12, 7:00PM, in Council Chambers (they promised). They will bring on their historian (Neumann has no historic significance), their structural engineer (the place is falling down), and their planner (who needs arts and industry, condos are what’s in).

Stay tuned. And hope to see you at the next meeting.”

See previous updates after the jump…

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9/24/2008 NOTICE:

Public Zoning Board Hearing TONIGHT

Many of Hoboken’s historic landmarks have fallen to greed and neglect over the years, the Fabian Theater, the German Seaman’s Mission, and the Clam Broth House just to name a few. Tonight the public has the chance to stand up and say no to a developer proposal to tear down one of the last havens of art and industry in Hoboken: Neumann Leather.

hoboken neumann leathers circa 1880 - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

Some of the buildings have stood since the Civil War. The history of Neumann is the history of Hoboken. Now developer Trammell Crow Residential wants to destroy it to build more “luxury” rental apartments, starting a process that will drive a street right through the property. TCR’s application to bring in the wrecking ball is the only item on the Zoning Board agenda tonight at a meeting that begins at 7pm upstairs in the City Council chambers (to accommodate a large crowd.)

Neumann Leather: What’s at stake?

Once home to a leather factory, the sturdy industrial complex at the foot of Willow Avenue between Newark St. and Observer Highway is now a haven for new-economy businesses that rely on proximity to New York. Architects, furniture and piano craftsmen, building-model and recording-studio designers, artists, musicians and more have set up shop in the airy, light-filled former plant.

Tom Newman is a furniture craftsman and representative of the Neumann Leathers Tenants Association. He was also among the first wave of new residents who came to Hoboken in the 60’s and 70’s during its darkest days, working to rehabilitate and revitalize his neighborhood as a community activist and city councilman. Newman says:

“A tsunami of residential development has swept away almost all traces of Hoboken’s industrial past, the factories and waterfront warehouses that were the engine of last century’s economy. After three decades of unbridled residential development, it would be a shame to allow yet another condo complex destroy one of the few viable workspaces for the 21st century economy.”

hoboken neumann leathers 1839 - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

Newman says the building is fully occupied because it’s getting hard to find truly purpose-built industrial space (with freight elevators and loading docks, high ceilings, and thick concrete floors and walls) so close to urban population centers. See videos of Neumann Leather tenants talk about the work they do.

Environmental scare tactics for variances?

hoboken dr george berkowitz zoning board meeting - Neumann Leathers no longer in JeopardyTCR needs several variances to build what they are proposing on this industrial site. They can’t build what they want just by going to Al Arezzo for permits. They need to prove there will be some community benefit to what they are proposing in exchange for getting a waiver from zoning law. Their strategy so far is to try and scare people into thinking the site is so contaminated that the only way to use it is to tear it all down and start over.

The Zoning Board began the hearing in August and allowed TCR to bring in its first witness, an environmental scientist-for-hire named Dr. George Berkowitz. He spent about a half hour going through a list of potential contaminants on the site, trying to draw allusions to the old Mercury Site that had to be torn down uptown. Members of the board saw through that tactic and asked direct questions of Berkowitz about the “dangers” at Neumann. At one point he said there was “significant concern” about contamination inside the building, but board members Jim Perry pointed out there were many people working in the building, so “Why not shut it down?” Berkowitz had to admit there was “No imminent health risk” and the results had not been reported to the state. Board member Joe Crimmins said listening to Berkowitz at first he thought “How terrible,” but had a change of heart when he noted they “haven’t even reported this to DEP.”

Which brings us to tonight

The Neumann Leather Tenants Association has hired it’s own attorneys and professionals to refute the case that will be presented by Trammell Crow. They continue to raise money through fundraisers to fight the deep pockets of this national developer while simultaneously working on a new vision to preserve and protect the property. A big presence at the Zoning Board meeting of people supporting the NLTA and opposing the TCR application will go a long way.

Large community turnout made a difference in the ill-fated plan to build a high-rise on the Holy Innocents site, and it could make a difference at Neumann Leather as well. The meeting starts at 7pm, but it will run late, so Newman suggests people come whenever they can and stay as long as they are able.


Also see Mayor Dave Roberts’ position on Neumann here.
And some comments from the Quality of Life Coalition here.

Read on below for a Q&A on the TCR plan for Neumann from February.

hoboken neumann leathers 2008 - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

(Thanks Melissa for helping with some of the copy!)

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Neumann is now a hot button topic

The historic Neumann Leather complex has been part of Hoboken since the Civil War. Now a developer wants to tear it all down to build a luxury apartment building complex. Trammell Crow Residential (TCR) purchased an option to buy and develop Neumann on Observer Highway, Newark Street and Willow Avenue. TCR is beginning to shop around it’s “vision” for the property, which is to kick out all the artists and businesses, tear it down, and build a downtown version of “Upper Grand”.

hoboken neumann leather building - Neumann Leathers no longer in Jeopardy

Copies of the plans drawn up by local architect Dean Marchetto are not yet available to the public, but Furey of Philly2Hoboken got a look at them at a condo association meeting this week at the Jefferson Trust building across Newark Street from Neumann. He writes about it in a Q and A format, complete with a “Spin Doctor” fact-checking and offering additional information.

hoboken neumann leathers tenants association file photo - Neumann Leathers no longer in JeopardyAs TCR is pushing its doomsday plan for the site, the Neumann Leather Tenants Association and Observer Highway Redevelopment Advisory Committee have been researching how similar historic industrial sites have been transformed. From SoHo and Williamsburg to Boston, Europe and beyond, there are many similar projects that to draw inspiration from. The ultimate decisions will be made by the city council, which directed the Planning Board to begin an “area in need of redevelopment” investigation of the Neumann Property back in 2005.

Hoboken411 will bring you all the developments in the weeks and months ahead as Neumann once again becomes one of the hot button development issues in Hoboken.

Neumann Leather FAQ

(from Philly2Hoboken)

Neumann Leather Building: Spin City

“Monday night, myself and other tenants from my condo gathered in our fitness room (which serves as our temporary conference room), to listen to Dean Marchetto (Architect) and representatives of Trammel Crow Residential (Developer) present their vision of developing land where the Neumann Leather Building is located at 300 Observer Highway.

If you haven’t heard, they are In Contract. I decided to make this in a FAQ form, for easy understanding of what they told us, and what I can remember the residents asking. There were lots of questions and Mr. Marchetto and the representatives from TCR were extremely considerate, patient and forthcoming with their answers.

But I also added in a new element with The Spin Doctor (“It’s spin because:”), who will remain anonymous, contributing to my story. I planned to just write a FAQ, but the Spin Doctor, an avid reader of my site, saw it when I posted it and feared I was misled. So, I have the (Q)uestion, (A)nswer, and Spin comments. The answers were what the tenants were told at the meeting. The spin is what The Spin Doctor says about my answers (which are basically what TCR representatives Rich Murphy and Tricia Gutowski told me).

It’s spin because:: TCR and Marchetto are coming to Jefferson Trust seeking support because they are not getting it from inside the Neumann community or from key decision makers in the city. Many others who have seen the TCR proposal are against their plan to demolish the entire historic Neumann property, removing all buildings and existing uses in an unimaginative and destructive way. The Neumann Leather Tenants Association and Observer Highway Redevelopment Advisory Committee are working on plans to redevelop and revitalize Neumann Leather without destroying it.

Q: WHAT? The building is SOLD?!
A: Not sold yet, under contract. Under Contract means that TCR has made and offer and deposit on the property.
It’s spin because: Under contract also means if TCR can’t come to a consensus on a plan to develop the site in whatever it considers a timely manner they can decide to take their losses and move on to the next project without paying the full purchase price for the Neumann Property.

Q: Oh great, another monstroustity is getting built? What are the details, man?
A: TCR claims it will be a 5 story building. They said that the building that’s going up at the Municipal Garage, would dwarf this project. The city currently allows for larger buildings that line Observer Highway and they could have proposed “a 12 story design”, but TCR was aware of the residental backlash against the urban sprawl currently going on in town and loves us, the people, so much.
It’s spin because: The city zoning code does NOT allow for 12 stories on the Neumann Leather property. 415 Newark was built through zoning variances, not current zoning. Neumann is currently zoned industrial, which allows buildings no higher than what you see there today. 12 stories is NOT currently allowed for the Neumann triangle.

Q: They are extending Clinton Street? That sucks!
A: TCR claims this is not correct and a “misperception of many residents”. They aren’t creating an “extension”, it will be for pedestrians only and blocked for use by any vehicle traffic. Designed with cobblestones, trees and artisan street lamps, it will be more like a Italian plaza-esque design for the extension of the first floor commercial customers. It would be similar to what was done at 11th street at the Maxwell project.
It’s spin because: Do not fall for the line that Clinton Street will not be extended through the new project, because it will. TCR and Dean Marchetto can say they don’t “plan” on it being a through street, but they know Hudson County is likely to insist on it if the city allows TCR to clear the entire Neumann property for development. Planners at the county and city level have been talking about connecting Newark and Observer via Clinton for decades. Newark and Observer are county roads and the type of redevelopment TCR is proposing at Neumann cannot be done without a county permit. When TCR applies for the permit, the county will tell them to drive the road through the property. Marchetto knows this, and this is why I believe he designed the project this way. One of the reasons given for the “need” to extend Clinton is to allow ambulances to get to Hoboken University Medical Center faster via a straight shot down Clinton. If it looks like a road, it’s a road.

Q: That area is in a flood plain, anyone who buys there is so screwed.
A: That’s true, it is in a flood plain and the architect and developers are well aware of this. First they plan to make a “Green” building, using many enviromentally friendly measures. The first floor will only have commericial zoning, or the garage. Dean Marchetto developed 300 Newark Street, which is across the street.
It’s spin because: Nearly all of Hoboken is in a flood plain. Lots of developers are saying they are building green buildings, but Dean Marchetto is also the architect of Dean Geibel’s Metrostop building with all the “Think Green” ads you see. The truth is Metrostop is not even close to being a green building according to LEED standards. Don’t just take a developer’s word that they are building a “green” building. Ask for their LEED certification information.

Q: Are they condos or rentals? How many?
A: 275 Rentals. TCR is well aware of the current market and plans rental units. If the housing market changes, they may change that, too.
It’s spin because: This is what they say today, but as history shows us developers in Hoboken often start with plans that have a tendency to get bigger as the years go on.

Q: What will be on the first floor?
A: They have a (approx) 375 car garage, designed for 1.5 cars for every renter. They are fully aware that not every renter will own a car, but also very aware of the terrible parking situation in Hoboken, and are designing a building with easing street congestion.
It’s spin because: A 1.5 parking spot-per-renter ratio would be frowned upon by the city’s planners. Besides, just because there are parking spots for every renter doesn’t mean the new residents will use them. There are more than enough spots at the Archstone at 77 Park, but many renters balk at the $225 a month fee and just park on the street, adding to congestion.

Q: Wait! What if they have extra parking there? What will they do? Daily space rental? Monthly rental?
A: No definite plans with that action, but they were leaning against daily rentals.
It’s spin because: They will likely lease the parking to a contractor like Central Parking or Little Man, who will manage daily and monthly rental operations. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. These are the economics of parking facilities in Hoboken.

Q: Any plans for a park or green space??
A: No plans for a park, but the rooftop will be a “green roof”, with real grass rooftop. Neighbors looking down on the Neumann Leather building will see this.

Q: But Neumann Leather has STARVING ARTISTS!!! What of them?!
A: Actually, there is a plan to create a seperate building (it’s located near the corner of Newark and Willow) which will be 5 stories and only house studio space for artists, which will be rented at below market costs.
It’s spin because: We are heaing TCR is reaching out to artists groups outside of Hoboken to supplant the artists who now have studios at Neumann. Their plan appears to be to remove everyone from their Neumann spaces, destroy the building and start anew. This will take several years, and people currently in Neumann may be unlikely to return if TCR turns the keys over to a “new” artists building to an outside group.

Q: What? That’s bullshit, TCR wouldn’t do that.
A: TCR reps made it very, very clear that the community angst was their main reason for the low building height, the artists studios (at below market prices to assist those current, real starving artists), the green building materials, and the Clinton Street pedestrian walkway.
It’s spin because: You were probably right the first time.

Q: What about the industrial people in Neumann Leather, what about them?
A: Sadly, there wasn’t a plan to accommodate the industrial tenants.
It’s spin because: TCR has no plan to accommodate any existing tenants of Neumann Leather at this time, not just the light industrial tenants. No existing tenants have signed on with the TCR plan.

Q: What kind of commercial properties will TCR allow on the first floor? I don’t want a McDonalds there! I don’t want a nightclub/bar there! I don’t want a restaurant with a liquor license there!
A: TCR stressed they were on the same page and weren’t going to allow something like McDonalds, but would be amenable for something like a Starbucks (which I think is great). They would be interested in restaurants, but not interested in a liquor license variance. Maybe something like a gym could be located there (Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Crunch Fitness located there? I think so. They wouldn’t need a pool, they would have one instantly when it rains)
It’s spin because: If TCR says they are interested in providing space for restaurants there is nothing they can do to stop anyone from bringing a liquor license there. Any restaurateur who leases space in TCR’s building could buy one of the available “pocket” liquor licenses and place it at Neumann. Hoboken has a 500 foot rule that bars restaurateurs from getting liquor licenses, but the next bar is far from Neumann Leather.

Q: If they allow commercial projects what about trash? We don’t want litter all over the streets like Garden of Eden did on Bloomfield!
A: There are two internal loading docks designed in the building, unlike GoE which didn’t have one. The one entrance will be on Willow between Newark and Observer Highway. The other will be on Newark, between Clinton and Grand. The design of the loading docks will be to minimize noise and parking issues that trucks create on such streets like Washington.

Q: TCR should just buy the land and make one big park!
A: TCR was farily blunt, but direct about their intentions. They aren’t going to sugar coat it, they are a company that develops projects like this across the country. They designed this property with the intention of making most of the people happy, but realizing that not everyone in Hoboken is going to be happy. They are a company that, like any company in America, wants to realize a profit. They don’t make money in litigation, they don’t want to get tied up in a courtroom over this project. They want to make a project that will make their company money, and keep the surrounding residents content with their project.
It’s spin because: Which is why they are selling their project so hard to immediate neighbors, because it is not going over well with others in town.

Q: Couldn’t you just keep the building intact and build rentals inside it like they did with other buildings in town?
A: Neumann Leather building is very old. It isn’t up to current construction techniques that protects against earthquakes (yes, this is a law for our area). There’s also enviromental contamination (asbestos, industrial chemicals that have been used there over the years), and when doing the demolition, they are very aware that they will be EXTREMELY careful about this. They won’t implode the building, they have a plan for a controlled removal of the structure, to minimize dust and contamination.
It’s spin because: If an Earthquake hits Hoboken we are all in trouble. This is a non issue designed to obfuscate. As for environmental contamination, the extent of it is unknown at this point, but not considered to be significant. Neighbors would likely face greater jeopardy in the demolition of the site than they would from the rehabilitation of historic structures. This is a smokescreen.

Q: Do you have pictures?
A: They have pictures and floorplans. It isn’t final yet, and I hope to get it up here soon.

Q: Who will manage the building?
A: TCR will have an on-site management company.

Q: Hoboken should stay like it did! Change is bad!
A: Yea, that’s just not going to happen. TCR claimed that the city collects about $125,000 in taxes from the Neumann Leather site? With the new plan they project the city would collect about 10x in yearly taxes from the rentals and commerical customers. With our current fiscal situation in the city, this will contribute to helping Hoboken generate revenue.
It’s spin because: First of all, that $125k number does NOT come from the tenants. It comes from the property taxes paid by the owner of the property. The tenants themselves contribute millions to the Hoboken economy by employing people and being a part of the community they work and in many cases live in. These are your neighbors. As for the potential to bring in “ten times” the revenue to the city, studies have shown for every dollar in new residential ratable tax revenue gained, municipalities spend more than a dollar to provide essential services (trash/police/fire) for the new units.

Q: Why is TCR approaching the neighbors of this project? What’s in it for them?
A: TCR is trying to learn from the mistakes of other developers and design a project that the majority of residents will find suitable, but also realizing that “you can’t make all the people happy all the time”. They want to create something that makes them a profit (This is America, folks), but also doesn’t have the entire community up in arms over their project and trying to get it blocked (This is Hoboken, folks).
It’s spin because: That’s a nice sounding story, but others believe they are approaching neighbors after receiving lackluster and negative responses to their plans from others who want to see the Neumann Leather complex fixed up and revitalized, not destroyed and replaced. The NLTA and OHRAC are working on alternative plans that they look forward to sharing with the residents of Jefferson Trust and the entire City of Hoboken.

Q: Why your condo building? How many people live in your condo?
A: We have 100 tenants (renters/owners) that live across the street at 300 Newark. TCR said they are meeting with neighbors about this, and had met Observer Place residents last week about it. In our building we had flyers put up in the hallways and at the elevators for days. About 15 residents showed up on Monday night at 7pm.

Q: Do they plan a similar public forum at City Hall?
A: We didn’t ask this, but from the Spin Doctor, i’m sure they won’t.

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Monday, March 9, 2009 12:42 pm

[quote comment=”141262″][quote comment=”141164″]Here we go again. Q: Who does Ken Lay work for?[/quote] You don’t need to work for anyone to think the building is a polluted eyesore. There is a very good reason for the relatively cheap rent. While we had this discussion before, it only takes a casual walk by in the evening to see that a handful of the tenants are using the building as residents. I think you misunderstand my point. The companies are, of course, important to their employees and customers, and the property taxes (if there isn’t some special deal in place) paid by the landlord diversify our tax base. However, if a diverse tax base is so important, we should let the owner of the building tear down the factory and put up a modern office building that would pay even more. How about a nuclear power plant? My concern is that, even if Trammel Crow didn’t need a bunch of zoning variances to redevelop the site, politically connected people are going to find a way to thwart a private land owner from exercising control over their property. It’s the Hoboken way. There are no rules. Admittedly, this cuts both ways since there are plenty of sweetheart deals for developers in this town, but it is interesting that a out-of-town developer is getting hit with this issue. Alas, at this point the development plan needs a lot of approvals from the city, but so will any other plan for the site other than… Read more »

Sunday, March 8, 2009 9:01 am

The City’s finances are still in Jeopardy ❗ The responsible incumbents have to Go! Vote Independently in May. 💡

Ken Lay
Ken Lay
Saturday, March 7, 2009 11:13 pm

[quote comment=”141164″]Here we go again. Q: Who does Ken Lay work for?[/quote] You don’t need to work for anyone to think the building is a polluted eyesore. There is a very good reason for the relatively cheap rent. While we had this discussion before, it only takes a casual walk by in the evening to see that a handful of the tenants are using the building as residents. I think you misunderstand my point. The companies are, of course, important to their employees and customers, and the property taxes (if there isn’t some special deal in place) paid by the landlord diversify our tax base. However, if a diverse tax base is so important, we should let the owner of the building tear down the factory and put up a modern office building that would pay even more. How about a nuclear power plant? My concern is that, even if Trammel Crow didn’t need a bunch of zoning variances to redevelop the site, politically connected people are going to find a way to thwart a private land owner from exercising control over their property. It’s the Hoboken way. There are no rules. Admittedly, this cuts both ways since there are plenty of sweetheart deals for developers in this town, but it is interesting that a out-of-town developer is getting hit with this issue. Alas, at this point the development plan needs a lot of approvals from the city, but so will any other plan for the site other than leaving… Read more »

Saturday, March 7, 2009 3:55 pm

[quote comment=”141181″]One example of the many honest-to-goodness businesses that would have been run out of town:

Is there anyone who would not be impressed by this?

Saturday, March 7, 2009 12:32 pm

I had some pollster from Ria call me ask me if I was aware that if he was elected he would run the city government like a business since he is a successful business man himself. It made me laugh because that would imply he gives his people raises (teachers) for building things that aren’t up to code (our poor schools). If ran his business the way he votes on the school board he’d be homeless, bankrupt, and his buildings would have all fallen down. :mrgreen:

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