2009 Nov 9th

Monday Morning Musings on Hoboken Real Estate

More Hoboken Condos

I read on Hoboken411.com (and confirmed from other sources) that a bunch of zoning variances were granted for a lot owned by the former Fire Chief Cassessa.  The plan is for a 12 story condo building with 100% lot coverage at 509 Newark St.  It’s down by the corner of Observer & Newark – the one with the  chaotic traffic every rush hour.  72 units and 77 parking spaces are proposed in yet another Dean Marchetto design.  I wonder, when Toll Brothers is having problems selling 700 Grove and Zepher Lofts right next door, why would a rational business person think more condos in a market with an oversupply of units for sale were an economically good idea?

Environmental Problems in Hoboken?

A quick search on the internet shows that almost all of western Hoboken (and much of the rest) had environmental “issues” at one time.  We even had our own EPA Superfund site right in town at the corner of 8th and Grand – still a vacant, fenced off lot.  My understanding, though, was that if a property was cleaned up, the NJ EPA would issue a “no action” letter essentially stopping the chain of potential liability.  Yet one of my buyers was recently in contract for a property at a popular Fields building near 9th and Jefferson.  The managment company filled out the condo questionnaire indicating that there was an ongoing environmetal issue even though the buildings about 5 years old.  As a result, the buyer’s FHA loan was denied.  Head’s up to current condo owners, condo associations and buyers – this may become a real problem for buyers of recent construction, especially on the west side of Hoboken where there used to be mostly factories.

Do You Find Open House Placards Objectionable?Washington Street

Every Saturday and Sunday, Washington Street becomes an obstacle course.  Agents put these placards out on every corner so we end up with 8 to 10 per corner.  It is unsightly, ineffective, unsafe.  It is out of control.  Unfortuantely, as long as one company can do it, everyone has to or the sellers say “why isn’t my open house out on the street?”.  So here is my suggestion.  Ban them.  No free speech issues here as it is commercial speech which can be regulated for a reasonable purpose – pedestrian safety, for example.  Why doesn’t the city of Hoboken put up a kiosk and sell space to agencies and other commercial establishements to advertise by flyer or, should they be so technologically sophisticated, by digital display.  Hey, the dry cleaners can do it – how hard can it be?  This would serve to clean up our streets, make it easier for pedestrians to walk, save me a ton of effort every weekend, level the playing field for realtors, and RAISE REVENUE for Hoboken.  Anyone else agree?  Is it time to start a letter-writing campaign to our new Mayor & council people?

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 14 Comments »

2008 Mar 12th

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign!

Hoboken Streets Are Over Run with Signs – It’s Time For a Change.

Every Saturday and Sunday morning, you can watch as Hoboken realtors scurry around town, putting out sandwich board signs on street corners all over Hoboken to advertise their open houses. These signs are supposed to direct people to the open house but there is no evidence that this is at all effective. Worse, when it is windy, the signs often end up in the street instead of on the corner. Cars drive over them, people have to walk around them, and to say the least, they can be very unsightly.

According to most realtors, these signs are a necessary part of doing business. Yet in today’s internet world, that’s just nonsense. All of the open house information is readily found on-line at sights like craigslist, realtor.com and more, and it’s typically in the Hoboken Reporter classified section. For anyone who really cares, finding where the open houses are being held is pretty simple. The one thing the signs seem to do is make the seller feel all warm and fuzzy. So as long as one agency does it, the sellers will pressure every agent to do it. How do we get it to stop? Don’t let anyone do it! Or at least make them do it in a better way.

What’s the Alternative? Kiosks!

Why not have the city install a central kiosk or two, in high traffic locations that don’t block the sidewalk, where each agency can rent ad space? In fact, the city could use the revenue improve the street scape of Hoboken. Let City Hall fill some pot holes or plant some trees. The City has an interest in keeping the streets clear for pedestrians and ensuring the safety of its drivers. Keeping these signs out of the way and out of the street and having them placed in designated areas would surely further that purpose. It would also make Hoboken look a whole lot nicer.

Maybe even a little bit Parisian?

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 6 Comments »

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