A significant step has been taken to transform five acres of undeveloped land along the Hudson River waterfront into greenspace after officials in Hoboken have moved to condemn the property.
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced yesterday that the city has filed a condemnation action to officially acquire the Union Dry Dock waterfront property. The move was made to allow for the development of a park at the site that will connect the final piece of an entirely publicly accessible waterfront that has eluded Hoboken for decades.
“Make no mistake about it, the Union Dry Dock property is now in the hands of the City of Hoboken,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This is truly a historic day for our residents, and I’m beyond thrilled that the entirety of our waterfront is now in our control and that we can once and for all plan for public open space and connect our treasured waterfront.”
While Bhalla’s announcement characterized the move as an “acquisition,” the property has not officially changed hands just yet. Hoboken filed their lawsuit to condemn the land in Hudson County Court on December 1 and deposited the appraised amount of the Union Dry Dock property, $13.36 million, per a judge’s order.
The City also recorded a Declaration of Taking with the Hudson County Register, a move officials argue means they have “effectively acquired title and ownership of the property.” It should be noted that the final acquisition price of the property will be determined by the courts or privately negotiated with New York Waterway, making it subject to change.
New York Waterway will continue to temporarily occupy the property and Hoboken announced they are working to finalize a temporary lease agreement with the company, who had initially sought to build a re-fueling facility on the land that was panned by local officials.
Bhalla thanked Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Brian P. Stack, the Hoboken City Council, and New York Waterway when announcing the move and hit the ground running initiating the planning process for the future waterfront park.
The administration released a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit professional design firms to present options for the design of a public park at the property. The city promises community meetings will be held on the plan before any construction begins.
“The fact that the City of Hoboken has acquired Union Dry Dock is a historic turn of events,” said Ron Hine, Executive Director of the Fund for a Better Waterfront. “This site, inaccessible to the public for more than a century, will add more than 3 acres to Hoboken’s waterfront park and complete one of the final missing gaps in a continuous park at the water’s edge first proposed by FBW in 1990. Kudos to Mayor Bhalla and his administration, and all the many community advocates who helped make this happen.”