Hoboken QLC on Sustainability
Today is the first of many regularly contributed articles from the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition:
Save the Neumann Leathers Buildings:
A cause based on Sustainability.
Many “green” organizations tout the benefits of “sustainability” in our buildings, but do we really understand what it means other than putting on a green roof or installing low-flush toilets?
The ultimate in sustainability is reusing existing buildings for new purposes and/or rehabilitating them for modern usage. Here in Hoboken we have one of the first examples in the U.S. of a conversion from factory (Keuffel & Esser) into residential units. More recently the former Lipton Tea Building was turned into living spaces. Oddly enough, those old factory buildings provide a real-life definition of and opportunity for sustainability. Another of those opportunities is now at hand. It is found in the Neumann Leathers buildings on Observer Highway, that is, if they are not totally demolished by Trammell Crow to make way for 251 units in humdrum, five-story residential buildings. Sound farfetched? Read on.
“Sustainability” means saving, reusing, maintaining. In the case at hand, it means rehabbing and reusing structures that were solidly constructed many years ago with materials no longer available or today in very short, expensive and resource-consuming supply. New materials are manufactured, in the majority of instances, with dependency upon oil which emits carbon dioxide in the process. The Neumann buildings are perfect examples of how to reuse what we have in order to save the nation’s resources and protect our global future. .
On Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 7 p.m. in the basement meeting room of City Hall (off of Newark St. between Washington and Newark Sts) the Zoning Board of Adjustment will be presented with the potential developer’s shiny new plan, which resembles so many other donut-shaped, maximum lot-coverage condo buildings we see all around the city. What the board members need to hear is a chorus of “save our historic buildings, no more of the same-old condos.” We need to tell them to “save Neumann Leathers; sustain our past as well as our future.” They need to be told to join the many municipalities throughout the country that are now demanding reuse of old buildings.
Continue reading the rest after the jump…
(Save Neumann Leathers, continued…)
The Neumann buildings offer another kind of sustainability, that of saving almost 200 jobs for not only artisans but other small businesses that exist there today.. Imagine the disgrace for a city that allows 200 jobs to move away (or even to be lost)in this time of financial crisis just to placate yet another condo developer.
The zoning board members also need to see a lot of citizens in the room, standing out in the hall, even spilling out into the hallway and onto the street in order to get this message across. Let’s “sustain” old Hoboken for “green” reasons and also because these buildings are stamped on our memories, they define the city, they are our reminders of the past. Lets keep as many as we are able with a new plan that gives purpose to the city’s Climate Protection Agreement enacted in March which demands that the city’s attention be focused on ways to minimize our negative impact on the environment. Here is a matter where that agreement can be put into play. Join the troops to “save Neumann Leathers,” a vibrant example of sustainability and historic preservation. This is how we sustain Hoboken.
Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition
[411 Note: See more about why Neumann Leathers is in jeopardy here.]