Mayor Bhalla Announces Revised Monarch Agreement

 MAYOR BHALLA ANNOUNCES REVISED AGREEMENT TO PRESERVE WATERFRONT MONARCH SITE, ADD 1.4 ACRES OF OPEN SPACE IN WEST HOBOKEN 

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla today announced his administration and Ironstate Development have come to terms on a newly proposed settlement agreement to prevent two, 11 story high-rise buildings on Hoboken’s waterfront. The proposed agreement includes the transfer to the City of 1.4 acres of undeveloped land at 8th Street and Monroe Street for the purposes of public, open space that is currently owned by Ironstate and zoned for a 10-story building. As a part of the proposed agreement, Ironstate would be permitted to develop a new, modern building at the site of the current Observer Highway garage, which would include ground-floor commercial retail space. The proposed agreement will be presented to the City Council for consideration on Wednesday, February 3. 

“Not only will this newly revised settlement preserve and protect our waterfront from development, it also adds almost 1.5 acres of public, open space in West Hoboken that would have otherwise been developed as a residential building,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This deal is a win-win-win for Hoboken: preserving our waterfront, adding open space and adding commercial retail space while revitalizing an area of downtown Hoboken.”

“The Shipyard’s proposal to build the Monarch Towers would have privatized a portion of Hoboken’s waterfront that is otherwise public,” said Ron Hine, Executive Director of Fund for a Better Waterfront. “This settlement brings to an end a contentious, decade-long battle that has pitted a developer against the City, the Fund for a Better Waterfront and neighborhood residents. Instead of residential towers on a pier jutting into the Weehawken Cove, we now can look forward to a small park but more importantly an opportunity to complete a continuous, public park for the entire length of Hoboken’s riverfront.”

If the proposed agreement is approved at the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting, Hoboken and Ironstate would move forward with the negotiation of a Redevelopment Agreement to include all the project details for a mixed-use project with residential and commercial development at the site of the current Observer Highway garage. The Redevelopment Agreement would also officially complete the transfer of ownership of the Monarch and 8th and Monroe properties to the City for the proposed purpose of public, open space.

The obligation of Ironstate to transfer 1.4 acres of undeveloped land at 8th and Monroe to the City replaces the previous requirement of Ironstate to build the City a new municipal garage at 256 Observer Highway. This revision was mutually agreed to by both parties, revising an aspect of the plan that prevented both sides from moving forward. The City and Ironstate will conduct an environmental review of the land at 8th and Monroe in partnership with Ironstate prior to the adoption of a Redevelopment Agreement.

The revised parameters of an anticipated Redevelopment Agreement at 256 Observer Highway would include a building with ground floor retail, in scale with neighboring buildings and without a municipal garage. It would have no increase in density above what is permitted for in the current Municipal Garage Redevelopment Plan.

The proposed settlement agreement will provide the City the option to fund a temporary municipal garage in northwest Hoboken with funds from the developer. The City will identify a location for a permanent Municipal Garage in a suitable location in Hoboken’s North End, as reflected in the draft North End Redevelopment Plan.

If the proposed settlement agreement is approved by the Council at the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting on February 3, the City and Ironstate anticipate completing a Redevelopment Agreement by the summer.

For a copy of the proposed settlement agreement, please click here.

“This revised deal is one of the biggest wins for the 3rd Ward during my time as on the Council,” said Mike Russo, Third Ward City Councilman. “Instead of a 10-story building blocking views and ruining one of the best remaining pieces of real estate, west Hoboken now has another important piece of planned open space for our residents and families to enjoy. To say I’m overjoyed at this deal is an understatement. I am confident my council colleagues will unanimously adopt this plan.”

“I am thrilled with the outcome of this settlement with Ironstate as it brings more open space to West Hoboken in a heavily residential area,” said Emily Jabbour, At-Large Councilwoman. “This area was transformed by the addition of park spaces at 7th and Jackson – seeing how heavily utilized these spaces have already been, particularly during COVID, demonstrates that residents are seeking more open space. This is a big win for the neighborhood and all of Hoboken.”

“Adding over an acre of public park space at 8th and Monroe in addition to permanently securing the public right of access to our waterfront park on the 15th Street piers — replacing two planned 11-story residential towers on those piers — is great news for the residents of the 5th Ward, who will have easy access to spectacular, new green spaces in our City,” said Phil Cohen, Fifth Ward City Councilman.

Residents who would like to provide feedback about the settlement agreement are invited to speak at the virtual City Council meeting, scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, February 3. For instructions on speaking, please click here: http://hobokennj.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=1565&Inline=True