Last night, before a filled to capacity hearing room, the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders dealt the Shipyard Associates a stunning setback. With one abstention, all Freeholders voted to uphold the decision made in February of 2012 by the Hudson County Planning Board to deny the application of the Shipyard Associates to build the Monarch Towers. In 2011, the Shipyard Associates proposed this 78-unit residential project on a Hudson River pier bordering a county road. The Freeholders held this hearing in response to a ruling by Superior Court Judge Nestle Rodriguez.
Mayor Zimmer and two City Council members were the first to speak followed by a long succession of Hoboken residents, all of whom were adamantly opposed to the Monarch Towers. The Freeholders got an earful about traffic woes and the dangers of building in the Coastal High Hazard Zone. At the start of the hearing, attorney Kevin Coakley argued the case for his client Shipyard Associates while attorneys representing the Hudson Tea Building Condo Association and the Hudson County Planning Board made the case to uphold the denial.
This was a far cry from an earlier era, in the 1980s and 1990s, when the founder of Applied Companies and Shipyard Associates, Joe Barry, held sway over the mayor and council. At that time, he was Hoboken’s biggest developer and landlord. His federally subsidized Section 8 tenants constituted his base of power. He could deliver their votes to the candidates he favored and pack hearing rooms in support of his development projects. Few politicians dared to oppose him. In 2004, a jury convicted Joe Barry of making $114,900 in cash payments to former County Executive Robert Janiszewski. Subsequently, the U.S. Attorney’s office forced him to resign from Applied Companies and Shipyard Associates.
His sons, David and Michael Barry, now run the companies. But unlike their father, they could muster no political or community support. In 2011, the Barry brothers applied for and received a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) waterfront permit to build the Monarch Towers.
After the public hearing concluded, Freeholder Bill O’Dea made a motion to take a vote that night, rather than waiting out the 30 days allowed by the judge to make a decision. After the motion passed, O’Dea moved to uphold the February 2012 denial by the Hudson County Planning Board. All of the Freeholders supported the motion save one who abstained. The case now will go back to Judge Rodriguez for a final ruling on the matter.
The on-going litigation on the Monarch Towers case includes appeals of the NJDEP waterfront permit approvals, challenges in federal court by the developer of the City of Hoboken’s amended flood ordinance and appeals of Judge Rodriguez’s decision to automatically approve the project
The conviction of Joe Barry was based on payments made to the County Executive in connection with $8.8 million state and federal grants and loans for the Shipyard project between 1996 and 2000.
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The Weekly Wednesday Wrap-Up – Hoboken Residential Sales and Activity for the Week of October 29th, 2014
As of October 29th, 2014:
- 182 active Hoboken listings
- 160 Condo & Co-op listings, compared to 169 last week
- 10 Single-family listings, compared to 11 last week
- 12 Multi-family listings, compared to 13 last week
This Week’s Residential Property Sales & Activity:
- 11 DABOs (Deposit Accepted By Owner and Under Contract) vs. 14 last week
- 15 Sold vs 19 last week
- 13 New listings vs. 40 last week
- 10 Price changes vs. 14 last week
- 0 expired listing vs. 0 last week
Studio & 1-Bedroom Properties
58 Active listings
1 New listing
2 Price changes
- 358 3rd St., 2L listed Oct 4 for $265K;
- 72 Park Ave., 4A listed Sept 4 for $505K; reduced Oct 2 to $499K; reduced Oct 15 to $485K;
- 1021 Grand St., PHG listed Aug 1 for $589K; reduced Sept 19 to $575K;
- 650 1st St., 3 listed Aug 19 for $325K; sold for $300K;
- 718 Grand St., 3 listed Jun 20 for $319K; sold for $310K;
- 416 Monroe St., 3R listed July 3 for $359K; sold for $359K;
- 812 Grand St., 515 listed Sept 9 for $475K; sold for $493K;
- 501 9th St., 316 listed Aug 21 for $489K; sold for $511K;
- 1100 Adams St., 216 listed May 15 for $530K; sold for $515K;
74 Active listings
6 New listings
6 Price changes
- 906 Washington St., 2 listed Oct 11 for $479K;
- 208 Park Ave., 1R listed Oct. 15 for $549K;
- 820 Hudson St., C-5 listed Sept 24 for $749K;
- 659 1st St., 212 listed Oct 14 for $849K;
- 601 Observer Hghwy., 302 listed Oct 16 for $899K;
- 1450 Washington St., 311 listed Sept 17 for $949K; reduced Sept 29 to $920K; reduced Oct 13 to $900K;
- 622 Park Ave., 3B listed July 31 for $400K; sold for $385K;
- 322 Grand St., 2L/3 listed Aug 6 for $425K; sold for $420K;
- 452 2nd St., 4 listed Aug 21 for $719K; sold for $712K;
3-Bedroom & Larger Properties
28 Active listings
6 New listings
2 Price changes
12 Multi-Family Active listings
10 Single-Family Active listings
- 501 Adams St., 1I listed Oct 17 for $735K;
- 160 8th St., listed Oct 3 for $1.050M;
- 551 Observer Hghwy., 7A listed May 1 for $450K; reduced Jun 9 to $429K; sold for $425K;
- 222 Willow Ave., 4A listed May 5 for $625K; sold for $625K;
- 807 Clinton St., 2C listed Aug 6 for $689K; sold for $702K;
- 253 11th St., listed Mar 11 for $1.329M; sold for $1.329M;
- 1015 Garden St., listed Sept 1 for $1.60M; sold for $1.80M;
- 612 Garden St., listed July 25 for $3.0M; sold for $3.0M;
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The City of Hoboken is introducing a final draft for the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan which will be considered on first reading by the City Council at their next meeting on November 5, 2014. If approved by the Council, the plan would then be reviewed by the Planning Board. The Planning Board would provide a recommendation to the City Council, which would then hold a final vote to consider adopting the Plan.
The City’s revised Plan calls for a baseline 2.176 million square foot mixed use project with an additional 125,000 square feet of commercial space permitted if the commercial space is architecturally creative and designed to LEED Gold standard. Two-thirds of the overall plan is for office space and one-quarter for residential space, with the remainder for retail space. The plan would create a true mixed-use project that will significantly diversify the local economy, support local businesses, and revitalize the Hoboken Terminal area and Observer Highway area – an essential gateway to Hoboken.
“This plan represents the results of an extensive City Council and community process to find consensus,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “It is my hope that all of the parties will objectively evaluate this project and move forward in the best interests of our State and our City.”
The public is invited to view the plan, plan presentation, economic analysis, and overview of changes compared to the 2012 draft plan at the following links:
- Redevelopment Plan: www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Hoboken-Yard-Redevelopment-Plan-October-2014.pdf
- Redevelopment Plan Presentation: www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Hoboken-Yard-Redevelopment-Plan-Presentation.pdf
- Economic Analysis: www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Hoboken-Yard-Redevelopment-Plan-Economic-Analysis.pdf
- Plan Changes Since 2012: www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Hoboken-Yard-Redevelopment-Plan-Changes.pdf
The City’s Economic Analysis, conducted by Freeman/Frazier & Associates, Inc., a highly regarded and experienced New York City-based firm, makes clear that the implementation of the Plan is economically viable. The economic experts considered, among other factors, the value of the land, soft costs, construction costs, flood resiliency costs, relocation costs, infrastructure costs, and the fair market value of the residential, retail, and office space improvements. They concluded that the “cash flow model indicates that the IRR [Internal Rate of Return] of the project will be 12.9%” which “is at the high end of the minimum range of pro forma rates of return in the New York – New Jersey Market as reported by the ‘Realty Rates’ survey in the 3rd Quarter of 2014.” This is a conservative estimate that does not include the additional 125,000 square foot density bonus.
The proposed project will create thousands of construction and permanent jobs, bring new companies to New Jersey, and add millions of dollars of revenue for the State of New Jersey.
“While NJ Transit will not receive the enormous revenue that it hoped to receive when it originally proposed its 9 million square foot plan back in 2008, it will receive a fair return on its real estate asset enabling it to make overdue and vitally necessary improvements to its Hoboken facilities,” added Mayor Zimmer. “Hoboken is the 4th most densely populated City in the country, so we are quite sensitive to the burden that excessive new residential density would place on our City’s infrastructure.”
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