The winners of New Jersey Future’s annual Smart Growth Awards were announced and one of Hoboken’s most anticipated resiliency projects was included with this year’s recipients.
Designed by Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects and developed by Bijou Properties, both Hoboken-based offices, 700 Jackson was named one of the winners of the Smart Growth Award for 2018. The unique features of the development include its generous amount of public space and advanced resiliency features, which tackle two things this aging industrial area of Hoboken has been in desperate need of, community parks and stronger flood proofing systems.
Hoboken suffered extensive damage after Hurricane Sandy hit the area in 2012 when the city “filled up like a bathtub,” according to Mayor Dawn Zimmer, due to various oversights in its development that left it extremely vulnerable to rising water levels of the Hudson River. Design guidelines for buildings, in the form of a “Resiliency Plan” were released for the city following the destruction caused by Sandy. Some factors the guidelines consider are the base elevation of the site, the program, and the square footage of the building — offering examples for both renovations and new construction.
Introducing two one-acre parks to the area, 700 Jackson allows the existing community to engage with the building’s amenities. One park is a flat open grass area, referred to as “The Quad.” Part of the quad acts as an extension of the multi-use public gymnasium, creating both an indoor and outdoor active environment. In addition, the quad features a children’s play area set on a rubberized play surface. The perimeter of the park is outlined with rain gardens, bioswales, seat walls and benches, and modern fencing — creating an active boundary for an active public space. The other park is a public plaza with tiered seating, a tilted lawn panel for relaxing and passive gatherings, and a vibrant programmable plaza area designed to accommodate vendors and seasonal markets. The contribution of both of these parks gives western Hoboken a type of engaging environment it hadn’t yet seen.
Stormwater management is crucial to Hoboken’s future because of its vulnerability to coastal flooding caused by both storm surge and high tide, and localized storm water flooding from ordinary rainfall. By addressing the lack of open space that cities often come with, this project aims to construct a neighborhood rather than just a building. The lens of the neighborhood shapes the introduction of recreational parks and the opportunity to place a system with more than 450,000 gallons of underground stormwater detention and infiltration below those parks. The underground system is augmented by a sedum tray-based green roof area that supplements the stormwater capture and detention capabilities of the rest of the site. The project is one of three planned resiliency park areas in Hoboken, designed specifically for the purpose of capturing larger volumes of stormwater — the others being the Southwest Park (recently completed) and the Northwest Park (currently in planning stages).
While the attention to climate resiliency and community engagement are some of the most celebrated aspects of 700 Jackson, the development also includes affordable housing units. The site is less than a block away from the majority of low-income housing in the western area of Hoboken. The units available in 700 Jackson will complement the existing low-income housing, contributing to the positive impact on the health and financial stability for low-income renters. Connecting the Hoboken Housing Authority, the Jubilee Center, and 700 Jackson’s public amenities alongside the Light Rail allows Jackson Street to become an energized dynamic transit-oriented neighborhood.
The Smart Growth Award, awarded by New Jersey Future has been honoring smart planning and development in New Jersey annually since 2002. NJ Future says, “The award helps promote our mission to secure economic opportunity, community vitality, and quality of life for all New Jerseyans.” The committee takes into account a variety of factors; their independent panel of experts considers transit-oriented areas, engagement at the street level that fosters walkability and encourages personal interaction, improved resiliency to natural hazards, utilization of green design techniques, and many others. A full list can be seen here.
A reception to celebrate the winners of the 2018 Smart Growth Award will be held at the Great Hall at Rutgers University, Newark on Wednesday, June 6 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.