Hoboken Rejects Terminal Redevelopment Plan As Though It Matters What They Think

Hoboken’s City council rejected a resolution authorizing a contract for FXFOWLE, an architectural firm designing a plan for the Hoboken terminal. NJ Transit has been looking to develop land above and around the rail yards that are mostly, but not entirely in Hoboken. A small portion of the yards falls within the boundaries of Jersey City.

Hoboken residents have been upset about the proposal fearing the high rise tower component of the project would block their views. These concerns are mostly irrelevant since Jersey City’s Newport development is already zoned for high rises and borders the NJ Transit Property. Newport’s northern quadrant may be several years away from new construction; indeed, the Lefraks have not even sought final site approvals for those towers. However, with the soon to be completed NJ Transit bridge connecting Newport to the Hoboken terminal, the northern quadrant is suddenly a much more desirable location for residential and office development.

Hoboken Now quotes the always insightful Dawn Zimmer as saying: “I don’t think they have the right to come in here and build sky high.” Actually Dawn, NJ Transit, as a state agency, can pretty much do whatever they want.

The plan developed for the terminal includes an area of high rise office towers on the east side of the property and mid rise residential buildings around the perimeter of the property. The southern portion would abut against the north side of Newport’s redevelopment zone over the existing canal. The project would also include large areas of park space around the terminal and the new buildings.

Along with the project, new sewers and flood pumps would be constructed. While these upgrades alone won’t solve Hoboken’s flooding problems, the improvements are at least a step in the right direction.

While many in Hoboken are arguing against high rise towers, there is little the city can do along the border. Jersey City’s zoning already allows high rise towers in areas like Newport. The problem is best illustrated by 700 Grove Street, a large residential building in Jersey City, but north of the train tracks. Hoboken receives the drawbacks of that building, such as increased traffic, without any of the benefits, such as increased tax revenues. Because the building is in Jersey City, Hoboken had no control over the zoning. The terminal project, split between the two cities, would produce similar challenges for Hoboken.

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