This morning during a Zoom interview with Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and reporter Jeff Henig, we discussed the City Council’s adoption last night of the agreement the Mayor’s Administration has achieved to redevelopment the western edge area, known as Block 112.
Here is the press release put out by City Hall detailing the specifics of the plan:
HOBOKEN ADOPTS WESTERN EDGE REDEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH FUNDING FOR PUBLIC POOL, AFFORDABLE HOUSING, FLOOD MITIGATION
$3 million in community givebacks would be invested into plans for community pool in Hoboken at new community center
Last night, the Hoboken City Council adopted a redevelopment agreement negotiated by Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and his administration for the Western Edge Redevelopment Area (Block 112) that provides for substantial community benefits for Hoboken residents. The agreement includes $3 million for the design and development for Hoboken’s first ever community pool at a new community center, 20 units of on-site affordable housing and 17 units of off-site affordable housing for homeless veterans, flood mitigation measures, and public open space. Block 112 is located between 13th, 14th, Jefferson and Madison Streets.
The redevelopment agreement includes the following public benefits:
- $3 million towards the design and development of a community recreation center with a public pool
- 17 units of affordable housing for homeless veterans on 2nd Street and Willow Avenue, which is adjacent to the recently rebuilt Hoboken American Legion building, which features 6 units of recently constructed housing for homeless veterans
- 20 units of affordable housing at the Block 112 site in Northwest Hoboken
- Over 5,000 square feet of public, open space which includes a public plaza and will be maintained by the developer at no cost to the City by a permanent open space easement
- Stormwater management measures to mitigate flooding: on-site stormwater storage with an underground detention system to withhold up to 22,000 cubic feet, or over 165,000 gallons of rainwater, as well as bioswales, rain gardens, and trees that will capture water above the standards for rainfall mitigation established by the Department of Environmental Protection
“I’m extremely pleased we have adopted a redevelopment agreement that provides for robust community givebacks, especially funding that will be allocated for a new community pool,” said Mayor Bhalla. “The combination of this much needed public amenity, along with 37 units of affordable housing, open space, and critical flood mitigation will add substantial quality of life benefits to our mile square. Thank you to Fair Share Housing, the Hoboken American Legion, the City Council and the Office of Community Development for working collaboratively together on this project.”
Fourth Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, stated “I’m excited about the opportunity to add to our affordable housing stock as well as continue to work to add sorely needed community benefits such as a swimming pool and community center. This will allow us to help rehabilitate the existing Multi-Service Center without losing any services.”
“It has been a dream of many to have a community recreation center and a community pool in the 5th Ward,” said 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen. “With the City Council’s approval of this revised Western Edge Redevelopment Agreement, we are now $3 million closer to realizing the dream — without imposing on Hoboken’s taxpayers. This revised plan is several stories lower, and more than 80,000 square feet less dense than originally permitted, including critical flood remediation features in a LEED-certified, energy efficient building, in our flood-prone Western Edge, and the welcome addition of 37 affordable housing units for our city, exceeding what is required by our affordable housing ordinance.”
“We must always honor those who served our great nation, not just with words but through our actions,” said American Legion Hoboken Post 107 Commander John P. Carey. “The words ‘veteran’ and ‘homeless’ should never appear together, so I thank Mayor Ravi Bhalla, the City Council, and Mark Villamar and Hany Ahmed of Pegasus Partners for their partnership on the second phase of housing for our veterans suffering from homelessness.”
“Fair Share Housing Center is pleased that the City of Hoboken is taking positive steps to follow through on the settlement that FSHC and Hoboken achieved that will ensure that the proposed residential development in the Western Edge abides by the City’s affordable housing requirements,” said Adam Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Share Housing Center. “These steps will lead to the construction of at least 20 new homes that are affordable to Hoboken’s working families as well as 17 new homes for homeless veterans. These affordable homes are desperately needed in one of the most expensive housing markets in the State.
At a time when New Jersey is reckoning with entrenched systemic racism and facing an unprecedented economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is encouraging to see Hoboken correct course and step up to seize an important opportunity to ensure that new residential development in the fast-gentrifying city does not consist solely of very expensive, luxury units but includes homes that are affordable to families of all races and income levels.”
The redevelopment agreement negotiated by Mayor Bhalla’s administration and approved by the City Council revitalizes over 1.8 acres of blighted land in Northwest Hoboken, with the redevelopment agreement providing for 322,700 square feet of residential density along with 24,500 square feet of commercial retail space.
The redevelopment agreement was approved by the Hoboken City Council by a 8-1 vote. As a condition of approval, the developer must present final site and engineer plans before the Hoboken Planning Board prior to construction.
Hoboken will soon initiate public meetings to solicit input on potential locations and designs for a recreation center with a community pool.
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