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NJ Supreme Court Rules Against Hoboken in Monarch Site Redevelopment

by Steph
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The vote is in from the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding the Monarch Project in Hoboken as of May 5th: Hoboken versus Shipyard Associates LP. The court ruled against the City of Hoboken, which has been trying to bar the development of two 11-story buildings at the waterfront Monarch site. The court rejected the retroactive application of a pair of ordinances that would prohibit residential uses on piers, noting that they were passed less than two years after the project’s approval.

The Fund for a Better Waterfront and many Hoboken representatives have been advocating for an open public space, such as a park, in place of the 11-story residential buildings and the ferry refueling station at the waterfront Union Dock property. Back in August 2019, the City offered Monarch the Hoboken Public Works Garage at 256 Observer Highway in exchange for the waterfront Monarch site. Keep reading for the most recent Monarch site redevelopment update.

monarch site hoboke news

The Meaning Behind the Supreme Court Ruling

While the court ruling is big news, it’s hardly the final say on the matter. In fact, the City is still fighting to prevent the redevelopment thanks to the help of a previously negotiated agreement with Applied, a New Jersey-based property company. In addition to Hoboken, Applied also owns luxury properties in Jersey City and Harrison.

Should Applied and the City of Hoboken come to a finalized negotiation, the Monarch property would then become the City’s property. In that case, the City would likely continue to move forward with its plans to redevelop the property into a public space.

The Settlement Between Hoboken and Applied

According to NJ.com, the settlement between the City of Hoboken and Applied, which has been approved by City Council, states:

  • Applied Development Company gives up the right to develop on the Monarch site, a parcel of land along the Hoboken waterfront directly in front of the Hudson Tea Buildings. In exchange, the City of Hoboken will grant Applied Development Company an opportunity to redevelop the Public Works Garage site located at 256 Observer Highway, pending the passage of a Redevelopment Agreement.
  • Upon execution of a Redevelopment Agreement with Applied for the development of the Municipal Garage site, the City of Hoboken may take ownership of the Monarch site for the purpose of creating open space.
  • Applied Development Company will pay the City of Hoboken up to $1 million for the removal of debris or other public improvements related to this settlement.
  • Redevelopment of the Public Works Garage site, pending a Redevelopment Agreement, will include:
    • A state of the art facility for the Department of Public Works, paid for and built by Applied Development Company.
    • 4,000 square feet of retail along Observer Highway.
    • 264,000 square feet of a transit-oriented rental building, in scale with the neighboring buildings with zero density above what is provided for in the Municipal Garage Redevelopment Plan.
    • At least 11% of all housing units mandated as affordable housing.

See the PDF of the legal proceedings here.

What Local Figures Are Saying

In a statement, Mayor Bhalla said, “Had we relied solely on the court process, the recent ruling would have allowed the two Monarch towers to be built on our waterfront, without any recourse for the city, and ruined any chance of open space at this location. Instead, we are continuing through the redevelopment phase with Applied and I’m grateful they are continuing to negotiate in good faith with my administration.”

Ron Hine, of the Fund for a Better Waterfront, said, “This was a very disappointing decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court. FBW believed from the beginning that building residential towers on piers, over the Hudson River was folly. Superstorm Sandy and the increasing threat of sea-level rise have only confirmed this.”

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher said, “This is an incredibly disappointing and final ruling on what has been an epic community fight against irresponsible development on Hoboken’s waterfront. Everyone has their issue that gets them off the couch and mine was Monarch. This started me on a path of advocating not only against the project but for protecting our entire waterfront, a path I continue to follow today.”

The Shipyard

Shipyard Associates LP hasn’t made an official statement in response to the decision yet. However, Michael Barry, CEO and president of Shipyard’s parent company, Ironstate Development Company, previously said, “We worked cooperatively with Mayor Bhalla to come up with an agreement that makes for all parties involved, and we are optimistic that the settlement the City Council approved last night in the win-win scenario we have all been looking for.”

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