City sues Monarch developers for breach of contract

(March 2012)
In 1997, the Planning Board approved the 1160-unit Shipyard project for nine acres at Hoboken’s north waterfront. After approvals were granted, the City of Hoboken and the developer, Shipyard Associates, signed an agreement that included provisions for creating open space at the pier now proposed for the Monarch towers. On March 7, the City of Hoboken filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court seeking to enforce the terms of that agreement. This has created yet another obstacle for Shipyard Associates in their proposal to build two 11-story towers where they originally promised to construct tennis courts, a tennis pavilion and the public walkway.

The City, represented by the law firm Maraziti, Falcon & Healey of Short Hills, New Jersey, charges breach of contract and seeks a declaratory judgment upholding the 1997 agreement. On March 21, by a unanimous vote, the Hoboken City Council approved the contract with this law firm to pursue this litigation. The Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) and the Hudson Tea Building are looking to join in this legal action.

The Shipyard Project as approved by the Hoboken Planning Board in 1997 is now fully built. The final phase of the project was to construct the open space on this pier, also referred to as “Development Block G.” But instead of complying with the 1997 developer’s agreement, the Shipyard Associates chose to come back to the the Board with an application for amended site plan approval for the two towers comprised of 78 luxury housing units. This application is currently scheduled to be heard by the Hoboken Planning Board on June 5. At the end of March, FBW retained a planning expert to provide a report and testimony to the Board to support the Board’s denial of this application.

On March 21, in another setback for the Monarch project, the Hudson County Planning Board adopted a resolution memorializing its decision to reject the Monarch application. The developer’s attorney argued that the County failed to obtain approval from the Hoboken Planning Board for extending its hearing within the required time frame. Attorneys for FBW provided legal support for the Board actions and the resolution was approved. Brothers Michael and David Barry, the principals of Shipyard Associates, are likely to appeal the decision either to the Board of Chosen Freeholders or to New Jersey Superior Court.

Pier for Monarch development

Development Block G at the Shipyard, an open space pier proposed for 2 towers.

Earlier this year, FBW, the City of Hoboken, and the Hudson Tea Building all filed an appeal of the waterfront permit granted by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to build the Monarch project. This case will be heard before the state’s Office of Administrative Law. The 1997 DEP Permit required that the pier be developed and open for use within two years after the issuance of the last Certificate of Occupancy for the residential units.

Related links

City’s complaint filed in Superior Court of NJ
What you can do to “Kill the Monarch”
County stuns developers with “no” vote
Can the waterfront walkway be a “street”?
FBW challenges state approval for towers on Hoboken pier
DEP flouts its permit to restore pier as open space
Shipyard’s plan to privatize pier