Details Emerge About 439-Unit Proposal from Academy Bus in Hoboken

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Academy Bus Proposal Southwest Hoboken 2
Redevelopment proposed by Academy Bus, Southwest Hoboken. Image via City of Hoboken. Rendering by Nastasi Architects.

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.

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Redevelopment proposed by Academy Bus, Southwest Hoboken. Image via City of Hoboken. Rendering by Nastasi Architects.

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.

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Redevelopment proposed by Academy Bus, Southwest Hoboken. Image via City of Hoboken. Rendering by Nastasi Architects.

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.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Too dense. Too high. Traffic nightmare. Flooding. At the zoning hearing on the project behind the Hoboken Business Center, the projects architect admitted he could not guarentee that you would be able to get your car out of the parking facility, or into the facility in the event of a flood. A flood in that area is anything over our ordinary one inch rain. The park fills up its retention membrane of one million gallons in 30 minutes. The rest comes up out of all the combined sewers and the sewer overflow from the heights.

    • I was told that that building would have to be somehow be connected to Jersey City sewage infrastructure and officials have said that the existing lines could not handle the additional discharge.

    • “Frankly I don’t care about Hoboken” were the words the acting chairwoman of the Jersey City Zoning Board just before she “greenlighted” 13 story 161 unit residential building on the parking lot of the Hoboken Business Center. While I agree a project of this size should not be built the callousness of Jersey City officials to the well being go it’s neighbors well being is clear.

  2. A park with a busy road down the middle of it is not a nice park. This is an opportunity to re-route traffic to the west of the Academy site and address the issues with traffic running from Jersey Avenue Jersey City to Paterson Plank Road Jersey City through Hoboken . Then fill in that section of Harrison Street

  3. Agree with Owen, this MUST include realigning Paterson Plank Road along the light rail tracks to Coles St/Hoboken Ave in Jersey City

  4. Southwest Park. I was at the city hall meetings approximately two years ago when Hoboken residents argued passionately to empower Hoboken to use eminent domain to obtain Academy land for Phase 2 of the Southwest Park. The City Council voted yes unanimously. After that, we have no concrete progress on this second parcel. It seems to have vanished into some type of bureaucratic backwater. If it is again in play, let’s get the job done this time. Phase 1 is not so much a park as it is a plaza where people pass through but do not linger. The dog run is a great success, but the rest of the park has no playground for children. This sector of Hoboken, with new construction wherever you look, desperately needs a large, safe, green, stimulating park space focused on children to bring it into parity with other wards of Hoboken, not to mention the surrounding communities. Mayor, City Council Members, this is your window of opportunity to do something great for Hoboken which will be remembered long After you are gone. Make it happen now and not 5 years from now.

    • Negotiations are two sided. It is my understanding that Academy has reluctant to actively participate. Seeing this massive boondoggle of a development project they now trying to drum up support for it seems clear why they were reluctant.

  5. That specific area already has horrible traffic congestion – especially at rush hour when the Light Rail bisects Patterson Plank Rd. The infrastructure simply can not handle this type of development. And the *park*, as depicted in the illustration, is a nothing burger.

  6. We need a sports complex above the site. Similar to Chelsea piers. This is one of the city’s last chances to expand the living experience for residents, especially those with kids.

  7. Agree with others. Traffic already a nightmare from 7:30am til 9 and then from 4 through 6pm. It takes at a minimum half hour to just go two blocks. No more development until traffic is addressed.

    • Traffic is all congested between 9 and 4 and will only get exponentially worse.

      All the additional development already approved by Jersey City adjacent SW Hoboken and that proposed by New Jersey Transit on their proper along Observer Highway

  8. I live in Southwest Hoboken and feel this is the only area of Hoboken that is not properly being developed to its potential. The area desperately needs retail tenants and I think this project would be great. Yes, the traffic issue needs to be dealt with but that can be dealt with in the plans. Mayor Fulop has done a great job in Jersey City and this Mayor seems to oppose everything presented without any willingness to find solutions. The area is very industrial and has much more potential. The park should definitely be designed with more kid friendly activities rather than just a concrete area – somehow the vision for the park seems to have gotten lost. I think people need to not just shoot down ideas but find reasonable compromises.

  9. unless we do something to increase the safety of crossing the streets to get to the park (cars go to fast), we risk injury or worse to any of our children wanting to go to the park.

    • Putting a school on the South side of Paterson Avenue where kids need to cross those high traffic streets to get to it at least twice a day is not the brightest idea. The proposed Academy project would only make the area even more congested and crossing the those streets even more dangerous by adding several more residential towers.

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