(July 2000)

Developer Joseph Barry won approval for the largest development in Hoboken consisting of 1160 units of luxury residential housing and 63,200 square feet of commercial development in 1996. This massive project consists of a series of monolithic, block-long buildings, 13 stories tall, sitting atop 3 and 4 story parking garages. As of June, 2000, this project, the Shipyard, at Hoboken’s north waterfront is now only 44 percent built. But with the real estate market red hot and Hoboken being a choice destination for young professionals, Barry is now seeking to expand his project by building over the Hudson River.

The North Pier is an 120-unit project, designed in the shape of an ocean liner. It is proposed to be constructed on a dilapidated pier that extends 858 feet, the length of two long city blocks, into the Hudson River at the north end of the Shipyard site. The building would be four stories tall and about 800 feet long. Architects working for the developer claim that the existing wooden pilings are sufficient to support this new building but the deck must be repaired at a cost of about $3 million. Parking would be take up most of the first story of this building. A drive would thus cut across the public waterfront walkway to serve the residents of this project. This roadway would also cut across a series of tennis courts in the original Shipyard project eliminating several of the courts.

Applied Companies’ vice-president Michael Barry argues that construction of this project will permit the derelict pier to be repaired and thus opened to the public. There would be a 16 foot walk on the south edge of the pier and an open area at the end of the pier that measures 40 feet by the width of the pier which is 125 feet. But the landscape plan submitted to the Hoboken Planning Board shows a walled entrance to the pier with a guardhouse at the roadway. The message sent by such a design is that the pier will be private, a complaint voiced by a number of people attending the first Planning Board hearing on June 13. This would be the first private enclave-type development, seen often to the north along the waterfront in West New York and Edgewater, to be built in Hoboken.

Leaders of various community groups also voiced alarm that this 2-block long row of townhouses would block northern views of the Hudson River, George Washington Bridge and northern Manhattan. The “North Pier” is situated in line with 16th Street, the northernmost point of the waterfront south of the Weehawken cove. This pier juts into the Hudson River 859 feet toward Manhattan.

The Planning Board hearing for the North Pier will continue on July 11 at Hoboken City Hall.

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