The final vote by the Hoboken City Council on the City’s redevelopment plan for the post office site is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. There will be a public hearing preceding the vote. FBW is urging the City Council to approve this plan.
By Ron Hine | FBW | April 13, 2017
The proposal to build an hotel behind the Hoboken Post Office, unveiled in the City’s new redevelopment plan, solves the many problems at the last unfinished parcel along the South Waterfront, following principles originally adopted in the City of Hoboken’s 1995 redevelopment plan.
The 1995 redevelopment plan called for the following:
- A contiguous public park along the river side of Sinatra Drive.
- New upland blocks with ground-floor retail and front doors facing the waterfront that bring life and activity to the street.
- East-west streets — First, Second, Third & Fourth — providing views to the Hudson River and leading people directly to the waterfront park.
- Greater density and height concentrated at the south end, closer to the Hoboken Terminal, with buildings stepping down as they go north.
The proposed hotel, facing Sinatra Drive between Newark and First Streets, adheres to these principles. It would bring life and activity to the streetscape, replacing a grim view of the Post Office loading dock and surface parking area. There is an opportunity for a ground floor restaurant and retail space. Generous sidewalks on Newark Street, Sinatra Drive and First Street will replace non-existent or overly narrow sidewalks. Additional street trees will be planted along Newark and Sinatra.
KMS Development has had a contract with the United States Parcel Service (USPS) to do this project for the past four and a half years. Developing USPS properties has been one of their specialties and, as part of this project, they will be able to preserve this historic landmark building and its postal operation. Loading docks for postal trucks will be provided off First Street under the hotel building. KMS and its architects have also been especially sensitive to developing a project that is in harmony with the existing development at the South Waterfront and the Hoboken community.
There are additional positive features of this project as follows:
- The hotel will take advantage of one of the region’s premier mass transit hubs just a block away that include the PATH, light rail, ferries, buses and trains to north and central New Jersey, thus reducing the reliance on car-use.
- The hotel will be built on a much smaller footprint than the buildings to the north, thus avoiding a massive structure filling up an entire city block.
- The hotel project, using valet service, will take advantage of the numerous private parking facilities that already exist in this neighborhood and are currently underutilized.
- This commercial project will pay full taxes and will not burden the City’s educational system and other municipal services.
- Developing this site as a hotel will bring additional jobs to Hoboken and people who will patronize local businesses.
Some have questioned the height of the hotel, but in fact, the hotel at the Post Office site would be substantially smaller than the other projects at the South Waterfront redevelopment area. The square feet for the hotel is 170,000. 111 River and 121 River (also known as Block A) total 935,000 square feet, five and a half times larger than the hotel. The residential building at 333 River Street (Block C) is 659,000 square feet, nearly four times the size of the hotel. While Blocks A, B and C are each 2.2 acres (95,625 square feet), the footprint for the hotel is just 0.4 acres or 17,424 square feet.
The Fund for a Better Waterfront originally proposed a development project on this very site as part of its 1990 Plan for the Hoboken Waterfront. Finally, after a 27 year wait, KMS Development along with the City of Hoboken’s newly introduced Post Office Redevelopment Plan have provided an opportunity to make this happen. Hopefully, this opportunity will not be squandered.
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