A long battle between the city and Applied Development Company over a dilapidated uptown pier looks like it might come to an end, as both sides have arranged to negotiate an agreement that could create new open space, build a new public works garage, and construct more residential units.
The saga stems from a pier at 15th Street and Sinatra Drive, which spans about 1.4 acres and is one of the last undeveloped parcels along Hoboken’s waterfront. Applied had been seeking to build a 78-unit project called Monarch at Shipyard that would include two 11-story towers at the site but per a 1997 development agreement, the property was supposed to be home to tennis courts and open space.
Applied, now known as Ironstate Development Company, was granted a permit to build the Monarch project by the Department of Environmental Protection back in 2011, but the city sued to enforce the original agreement, both the county and local planning boards rejected the project, and Hoboken passed a 2013 flood prevention ordinance that banned development on piers. The litigation has slogged forward for years and is currently before the state’s Supreme Court.
The lingering issue could soon be history, as Hoboken’s city council voted 7-0 to approve a legal settlement with Applied at their August 7 meeting. Under the deal, the city will get title to the 15th Street pier “as is” plus a $500,000 payment from Applied to go toward improvements at the property. Going forward, Hoboken will be responsible for any additional costs associated with turning the parcel into open space.
“We worked cooperatively with Mayor Bhalla to come up with an agreement that makes sense for all parties involved, and we are optimistic that the settlement the City Council has approved is the win-win scenario we have all been looking for,” said Michael Barry, president and CEO of Ironstate Development Company. “This is a detailed agreement that still requires a lot of work by a number of municipal departments to implement, and we all recognize that the ongoing litigation on this matter will continue during that time period, but we are encouraged that there is now a potential path to a resolution of this issue.”
In exchange, Applied will get the rights to develop the city’s Department of Public Works facility located at 256 Observer Highway. Under the pact, Applied will be required to construct a new municipal garage and public works site for the city within a mixed-use building they would develop. The garage would be no smaller than 30,000 square feet and the second floor of the property would include 15,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of storage space.
Per the settlement, any development Applied builds would need to include about 4,000 square feet of retail space fronting Observer Highway. The exact height and density allowed at the site isn’t spelled out in the settlement, but the agreement caps the building’s maximum height of 165 feet and requires 0.25 parking spaces be included for every residential unit.
Per the existing Municipal Garage Redevelopment Plan, 11% of the residential units need to be designated as affordable housing. Upon completion of the development, the city would still own the municipal garage portion of the project. The settlement includes a clause about “discussion of a possible PILOT” or tax agreement, but something of that nature would need further city council approvals to be granted.
Shipyard Associates can terminate the settlement if an agreement on the proposed development isn’t approved within 270 days, so the parties have some time to work out a deal. There has been no timeline announced as to when a formal proposal for the public works site might be unveiled.