Hoboken Rejects Plan to Bring Food Hall Development to Clinton Street

710 Clinton Street Hoboken Rendering
Rendering showing the planned food hall project at 710 Clinton Street in Hoboken. Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.

A mixed-use project that was hoping to bring a food vendor hall and apartments to the center of Hoboken has been derailed as the city’s zoning board recently shot down a proposal that is now back at square one.

Jersey Digs began reporting on plans for 710 Clinton Street back in 2022 when the approval process began. The Taurasi Group, who are behind the Southwest Market project, were looking to redevelop a former film studio into a five-story building with 11 residences above an indoor food court.

Designed by MVMK Architecture and Design, the market portion would have featured space for 15 vendors plus an open floor area for kiosks on the first floor along with a second-floor dining level spanning 1,756 square feet. The largest spaces in the market would have spanned about 600 square feet, while the smallest ran about 250 square feet.

710 Clinton Street Hoboken Rendering 2
Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.

Documents submitted by Taurasi asserted that the market “will provide an economic development benefit by providing start-up space for food industry entrepreneurs who could eventually shift into larger, more permanent locations within Hoboken’s business districts.”

After testimony was heard on the application during several meetings, Hoboken’s Zoning Board officially rejected the plan during their April 30 meeting by a narrow 4-3 margin. The future of the property is now uncertain and the company behind the proposal is decidedly displeased with the rejection.

Hoboken Food Hall Rendering 2
Rendering of what could’ve been a food hall which provides start-up space for food industry entrepreneurs. Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.

“The Zoning Board decision was NIMBYism of the worst kind,” Taurasi Group Managing Partner Gary Mezzatesta told Jersey Digs, citing the Not In My Backyard mentality. “They chose to listen to a group of neighbors who didn’t want to have their peace disturbed, and the residents of Hoboken are deprived of a significant benefit.”

Hoboken Food Hall Rendering
Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.

The project needed to be granted several variances from the current zoning to come to fruition. The first involved a d (1) use deviation for the food court, while a variance for about 12 extra feet in height was also required.

The project would have provided no off-street parking when 31 spaces were required, a sticking point for some residents who spoke against the project during meetings. Three other variances related to maximum lot coverage of 100%, a lack of minimum rear yard setbacks, and a roof appurtenances deviation were also needed to move the project forward.

Catherine Willhoit and Kristin Karotkin, who co-own The Hive on Park Avenue, attended several of the Zoning Board’s hearings and were big supporters of the project. They saw the food hall as a great chance to give new businesses an opportunity to get off the ground without the huge overhead often needed to open a physical space within Hoboken.

“As small business owners, we are saddened and disappointed by the board’s decision to vote down this progressive concept,” the pair told Jersey Digs. “We only wish the town could have embraced the change and progress of this plot, rather than fear it.”

The Taurasi Group says they are leaving their options open to appeal the board’s decision, but the food hall project is otherwise back to the drawing board.

“The process took over 12 months with considerable resources expended which will discourage future innovation in Hoboken,” Mezzatesta added. “If you want to do something inventive in Hoboken, it’s impossible to get approved.”

Hoboken’s Zoning Board has a reputation for being particularly strict. A long saga from 2017 to get a Washington Street development that now houses a Shake Shack approved started with an initial denial from the board before re-emerging.

That same year, the board also rejected a plan from Advance Realty to bring a 58-unit project to Adams Street that included free space for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. That company sued the board and eventually got their project approved three years later.

When contacted about the rejection by Jersey Digs, Hoboken’s Communications Manager Marilyn Baer noted that appointments to the Zoning Board are made by the City Council.

““The administration does not appoint members to the Zoning Board of Adjustment,” said Baer. “That said, the Mayor is supportive of any project that adds amenities to the community and is in scale with the neighborhood.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include a response from Hoboken’s Communications Manager regarding the rejection of the application.


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