A mixed-use project near the upcoming Northwest Park could gain final approvals tonight, although the long-discussed development could be in for a future battle over the building’s height.
Last July, Hoboken’s city council approved a redevelopment agreement for a 1.83-acre parcel at 1300 Jefferson Street. Owned by subsidiaries of Pegasus Partners, the deal allowed the company to construct a development with a maximum height of 184 feet.
Designed by New York-based Fogarty Finger Architects, the tiered structure would sport a five-story podium that includes a 304-space parking component, while the remainder of the building incorporates sections of 11, 16, and 18 stories. The top floors would have 357 rental apartments and amenities at the building would include several active roof terraces, a gym, and a pool on the 17th floor.
The street level of the project would feature four storefronts totaling 24,526 square feet plus a 5,234-square-foot plaza for public use. Several community givebacks were included in the deal, as Pegasus will be required to construct 20 on-site affordable units plus another 17 for homeless veterans next to the American Legion Post 107 on Second Street between Willow Avenue and Clinton Street.
Pegasus will also be contributing $3 million towards the construction of a community recreation center at a location “within or about the Western Edge Redevelopment Area.” Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla praised the deal when it was passed, highlighting funding for a potential community pool.
“The combination of this much needed public amenity, along with 37 units of affordable housing, open space, and critical flood mitigation will add substantial quality of life benefits to our mile square,” Bhalla said at the time.
Despite the initial support, the city threw a curveball last week when the mayor’s office issued a statement suddenly looking to scale the plan back.
“Over the past few weeks, my administration has been in discussions with a number of stakeholders to improve and update the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan.” Bhalla said. “I am glad to have received a commitment from Pegasus Partners to reduce the permitted height of their proposed buildings to 145 feet, thus ensuring that there will be no structures built above the height of the Palisades.”
The change of heart appears to be related to the proposed Palisades Protection Act, which was first pitched by Union City Mayor Brian Stack and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and seeks to limit development height at properties east of the cliffside. Per Hudson County View, the bill has been modified in recent weeks.
Despite Bhalla’s statement, Pegasus Partners told the Jersey Journal that they never agreed to lower the development’s height. Pegasus CEO Mark Villamar added only that he “looks forward to continuing the conversation with the mayor, his staff, and the City Council”.
The Pegasus application to develop the Jefferson Street lot was heard by the planning board during meetings on May 4 and June 1 without controversy. Documentation shows that Pegasus has not changed the proposed building height and the application is scheduled to be heard again by the city’s planning board during their July 6 meeting, where final approvals could be granted.
Despite the possible greenlighting of the development, city spokesperson Vijay Chaudhuri issued an ultimatum of sorts to Pegasus. “In the event the plan is not revised to reduce the height to no more than 145 feet, the City will take immediate steps to rescind the portions of the plan and redevelopment agreement which are contrary to the property owners’ commitment,” he wrote in a statement.
It is unclear if the mayor has the unilateral authority to void the Pegasus deal, as approval from the council seems to be needed. A 2018 redevelopment agreement to bring a Hilton hotel to Sinatra Drive was voided over a legal challenge but was done so by the city council, not the mayor.