An uptown Hoboken restaurant that’s been shuttered for almost three years will soon be replaced by a new apartment building and a ground-floor restaurant that will be run by an experienced New York City restauranteur.
Demolition crews tore down most of the old one-story Liberty Bar building at 61-63 14th Street last week, leaving just the two side and rear yard walls at the property. The land was purchased back in 2014 for $1.75 million by Rohit Bawa, who currently co-owns Delicatessen in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The eatery opened in 2008 and focuses on international comfort food.
Bawa was also the lead owner during the re-launch of the iconic Empire Diner in Chelsea, which partnered with Chopped judge Amanda Freitag for its run.
His Hoboken project was initially approved back in December 2015. Bawa’s yet-to-be-named eatery will focus on being a “really good food-driven restaurant that caters to families” and he stressed during a Planning Board meeting that the establishment will not be a sports bar, nightclub, or rock club. The restaurant will seat 150 people in just over 1,300 square feet and also feature a back mezzanine area for parties.
The building itself was designed by Minervini Vandermark and will be four stories of concrete construction. The residential component will consist of three separate 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom units, each occupying one floor. Described as a “boutique building,” the apartments will all have direct elevator access, range about 1,200 square feet, and the second and fourth-floor units get access to private roof decks that will be surrounded by gardens.
The project will rebuild the entire front façade using a combination of brick, cast stone, Hardie Plank siding and cement board, also including an aluminum clad accordion door system. An existing basement at the property will be converted into a new stormwater detention system that will catch rain that falls on the building’s roof, store it, and then incrementally release it into the city’s sewer system following storms.
The restaurant will have a full liquor license and while Bawa acknowledged it could take a “long time” to get it up a running, the continued emergence of 14th Street’s retail is a good sign. Toll Brothers’ 1400 Hudson and 1423 Hudson next door both have retail components, as does Bijou Properties’ 1410 Grand Street and Harlow’s soon-to-open Trader Joe’s. Residents can expect Bawa’s project to add to the streetscape later this year.