Years of behind-the-scenes planning by the owners of a prominent Downtown property could pay off in the form of revitalized industrial arts space, several large public plazas, and a major influx of apartments and retail that will soon be discussed by the community.
Rehabilitating the Neumann Leathers complex has been seriously discussed since 2017 when new ownership took over the property. Located at 300 Observer Highway, the oldest four-story section of the facility dates to around 1863 and was used for decades to produce and tan leather.
The hulking brick buildings have been home to an artist and light industrial community since the 1980s and the newest proposal to revitalize the land seeks to retain and enhance the existing tenants. Some of the components of the latest deal remain unchanged from our 2019 reporting, which aimed to preserve and rehabilitate 118,000 square feet of the historic buildings along Observer Highway.
The fresh amendments to the plan include a proposed 70,000 square feet of rehabilitated industrial arts space to go with the creation of 76,200 square feet of new commercial and retail properties. The owners of the parcels have also proposed the construction of 310 residential units at the site of a current parking lot, up from the 230 apartments that were first pitched in 2019.
The new building would still rise 14 stories per the previous scheme and 51 units of affordable and workforce housing would be included in the latest version. A parking garage with 204 spaces would be built in the possible redevelopment and Grand Street would be extended through the property between Newark Street and Observer Highway, with a bus stop to be added.
The proposed amendments would strive to create a dynamic public amenity via a 32,500-square-foot outdoor public plaza that would be built within an interior courtyard to be entered along Newark Street. The new plan additionally calls for a 9,500-square-foot indoor plaza set to feature some of the project’s planned retail space.
The reconstruction of the two mixed-use buildings would be carried out in accordance with historic standards and an existing smokestack at the property would be preserved under the deal. An underground water detention system capable of storing a minimum of 100,000 gallons of stormwater would be included and the plan calls for the creation of above-ground water runoff infrastructure and green roofs.
Nastasi Architects is the firm working on the Neumann Leathers revitalization and released some new images of the proposal before the city council introduced the plan amendments during their March 3 meeting. Hoboken’s Office of Community Development will now be holding a virtual community meeting to discuss the changes, which could face a final council vote in the coming weeks.