June 13, 2019

Mayor Bhalla provides update on Union Dry Dock

Below is an update from Mayor Ravi Bhalla to the public regarding Union Dry Dock

I write to provide an update on Union Dry Dock. As you may know, last year, at the request of Governor Phil Murphy, I agreed to withdraw eminent domain proceedings for the Union Dry Dock property to engage in good faith negotiations with the Governor and his staff.

Unfortunately, months have gone by without any movement on a compromise solution that would prevent a heavy refueling station at Union Dry Dock. At the same time, New York Waterway has broken a promise to hold back while negotiations continue, by putting forward meritless lawsuit against the City in an effort to immediately start building a heavy refueling station.

To this end, I believe that it is time to once again begin eminent domain proceedings. This morning, the City appraiser was granted access to Union Dry Dock to come up with an updated appraisal of the property. This is a necessary and required first step to bring back eminent domain proceedings before the City Council to directly acquire the land.

While my preference is to accept a compromise solution that doesn’t jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of residents with a heavy refueling station, the lack of any real progress in negotiations with the Governor’s office, while New York Waterway engages in a propaganda public relations campaign and simultaneously suing the City, is discouraging. To be clear, Hoboken has made a number of good faith offers and concessions to Governor Murphy, including:

• Partnering with New York Waterway to identify an appropriate location for their refueling station
• Holding off on eminent domain proceedings to continue negotiations with the Governor’s office
• Purchasing the Union Dry Dock property for a fair price, saving New Jersey Transit over $11 million
• A lease to New York Waterway while they develop an alternate location
• Identifying a more suitable location, Hoboken Terminal for the refueling station through a study commissioned by the City (agreeing with a 2009 New Jersey Transit study)

Negotiations are a two-way street, and my administration has gone above and beyond to accommodate the requests of the Governor’s office. However, given the lack of progress, we must protect the interests of the City of Hoboken. Now is the time to once again begin eminent domain proceedings so we don’t lose the opportunity to transform Union Dry Dock into a public, waterfront park for good.

Thank you,

Ravi Bhalla