Rail Yard Development Unveiled

By on Monday, June 23rd, 2008 at 5:23 am

Hoboken Terminal clocktower

The Hoboken rail yards will eventually be a 54 acre mixed use development with high rise towers according to plans released last week. Three quarters of the land falls within Hoboken with the remainder in Jersey City bordering against Newport.

According to The Hudson Reporter, the project will cost as much as $500 million dollars. The masterplan was prepared by architectural firm FXFOWLE.

The NJ Transit rail yards present a major opportunity to physically unite Jersey City and Hoboken. For now, a vast expanse of undeveloped and industrial land exists on the north end of Jersey City with the rail yards a major obstacle between Hoboken and Jersey City. For instance, 700 Grove Street and the Zephyr Lofts, both in Jersey city but North of the rail lines, might as well be in Hoboken; there is no neighborhood to the south, only desolate parking lots and fenced in vacant land.

Developing the rail yard would provide a major opportunity to further transit oriented growth in New Jersey. Already, Hoboken property nearest the terminal is largely built out. Large vacant properties are only available in the western side of the city. Further, the value disparity has become more evident in the recent real estate downturn with eastern properties continuing to sell. In either case, Hoboken’s terminal has not been used to maximum effectiveness as a transit center since property to the south and west over the rail yards are not being built out. Building on the rail yards will allow more residents or office workers to commute by more easily accessible trains.

Also to the immediate south of the Hoboken terminal is the northern end of the Newport property in Jersey City. NJ Transit is building a bridge over the a small canal that will connect Jersey City’s waterfront to Hoboken at the rail terminal. When completed, the bridge will make Newport properties planned for the Hoboken / Jersey City border more desirable. The north side of the development is more than half a mile from the Pavonia-Newport PATH station, but less than a quarter mile from the Hoboken terminal when traveling over the new bridge.

The 54 acre rail yards are roughly the size of Liberty Harbor North. In that development, nearly 7,000 housing units and nearly a million feet of office space are planned. The final tally over the NJ Transit property may be higher though because Liberty Harbor North contains a significant amount of low and mid-rise buildings.

The rail yards project will certainly change the Hoboken skyline, but it will also make available more housing. But whatever happens, the project is years away from starting, and even further from completion.



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