Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla announced today that he is placing on the upcoming City Council agenda two important waterfront initiatives for approval. The first is a resolution authorizing a proposed settlement of the Monarch dispute that would prevent two eleven story buildings on Hoboken’s northern waterfront. The second is an ordinance which would authorize the City to make an offer to New York Waterways for the purchase of Union Dry Dock for the purpose of a public park, and acquiring this property through eminent domain if the parties fail to agree on a purchase price for the property. The Council meeting takes place on August 7 at City Hall (94 Washington Street) at 7:00 pm.
“Protecting our precious waterfront is of the utmost importance to my administration,” said Mayor Bhalla. “I strongly believe it should be preserved for open space, not large-scale residential development or a heavy refueling station. If we don’t move forward expeditiously, we could lose the once in a lifetime opportunity to finally create public parks at these two waterfront sites. I ask the City Council for unanimous support on the Monarch settlement and eminent domain authorization for Union Dry Dock.”
Members of the public are invited to make public comments at the Council meeting on these two agenda items. Residents may email the City Clerk’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to speak ahead of time or sign the speakers list at the Council meeting.
Union Dry Dock
The ordinance authorizing the use of eminent domain as a negotiating tool requires approval on first and second reading at two Council meetings. If passed at the August 7 meeting, the second reading of the ordinance will be held at the regularly scheduled Council meeting on September 4, also at 7:00 pm.
If the eminent domain ordinance is approved on second reading, Mayor Bhalla and the City will have the opportunity to engage in good faith negotiations with New York Waterways to acquire the property. If the City and New York Waterway are unable to amicably agree to the acquisition of the land, the City would be permitted to acquire the property through eminent domain for $13.1 million, which represents the appraised value of the property.
Currently, Union Dry Dock is one of the only remaining pieces of waterfront property that is not a part of Hoboken’s contiguous waterfront. Mayor Bhalla is committed to acquiring the property for a public, waterfront park as called for in the City’s Master Plan.
The resolution authorizing the Monarch settlement requires one Council vote at the August 7 Council meeting. If the settlement is approved, the City will then negotiate the terms of a Redevelopment Agreement for Applied to develop the Municipal Garage site on Observer Highway over the next several months. The final transfer of the Monarch site is contingent on the City Council’s future approval of the Redevelopment Agreement.
The terms of the announced settlement agreement agreed to by Mayor Bhalla and Applied, as previously announced, are as follows:
• Applied Development Company gives up the right to develop on the Monarch site, and the City of Hoboken will grant Applied Development Company an opportunity to redevelop the Public Works Garage site located at 256 Observer Highway, pending the passage of a Redevelopment Agreement.
• Upon execution of a Redevelopment Agreement with Applied for the redevelopment of the Municipal Garage site and conveyance of that site to Applied, the City of Hoboken may take ownership of the Monarch site for the purpose of creating open space.
• Applied Development Company will pay the City of Hoboken up to $1 million for the removal of debris or other public improvements related to this settlement.
• Redevelopment of the Public Works Garage site, pending a Redevelopment Agreement, will include:
1. A state of the art facility for the Department of Public Works, paid for and built by Applied Development Company.
2. 4,000 square feet of retail along Observer Highway.
3. 264,000 square feet of a transit-oriented rental building, in scale with the neighboring buildings with zero density above what is provided for in the Municipal Garage Redevelopment Plan.
4. At least 11% of all housing units mandated as affordable housing.