A company that has called the Mile Square City home for decades is working on a plan to redevelop their property in the city’s southwest corner, but the mayor has already stated that one version of the project is too large for his liking.
Academy Bus, which provides bus service to points mostly in central and southern New Jersey, is at the center of a looming battle over what type of development should happen along Hoboken’s border just off the Palisade cliffs. The company owns five total parcels of land around their 111 Paterson Avenue headquarters that they are seeking to redevelop.
The properties fall within Hoboken’s Southwest Redevelopment Plan, which was unanimously passed by the city council in 2017. The scheme sought to spark measured growth in the neighborhood and possibly expand the Southwest Park beyond its current acre.
So far, the only movement in the plan’s area is an approved expansion of the Hoboken Business Center, although Jersey City did greenlight a 161-unit, 13-story project on the business center’s parking lot just over the city line late last year. However, Academy Bus is working with Nastasi Architects on a plan that would bring 439 residential units, several retail storefronts, and a new school to the neighborhood.
While no formal announcement has been made, Jersey Digs has obtained details of the five-pronged plan, which is still in the conceptual phase. The scheme would rebuild everything from the ground up and create two stories of office space for Academy Bus at Observer Highway and Marshall Street directly next to a five-story mixed-use building with two floors of retail and parking.
Three other residential buildings would be constructed under the plan, with the tallest of them rising 143 feet high. Parking is proposed beneath all three structures and renderings of the plan show a Southwest Park expansion as part of the deal, in addition to a new four-story middle school that would be built next to the park.
The current Southwest Redevelopment Plan allows a total of 192 units combined at the properties, so Academy cannot build this vision without major changes taking place. Late last week, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla effectively killed the current plan after claiming several constituents contacted him over traffic concerns.
“It is my understanding that some councilmembers were involved (or at least consulted) in the crafting of the proposal,” Bhalla said in a statement. “To be clear – I remain 100% supportive of the scale of residential density permitted in the existing Southwest Redevelopment Plan, and I will not consider any developer proposals inconsistent with the Plan’s scale and vision.“
The mayor added that Hoboken is still looking at ways to expand the Southwest Park on land that Academy Bus currently owns and appeared to leave the door open for some sort of deal to be struck.
“We are continuing to explore direct acquisition and consider it the preferred course of action, but if a development agreement could be struck based on a fair value, I would consider an amendment to the Southwest Redevelopment Plan that would incorporate the build out of the Southwest Park,” Bhalla said.