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Redevelopment Plan in Motion with Hoboken Housing Authority

by Stephanie Spear
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The Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA) is making progress in its ambitious plan to redevelop its portfolio of properties. A strategic plan published earlier in 2022 laid out a comprehensive plan to refresh the over 1,300 housing units managed by HHA. Now, the city is requesting bids for the first step to make that plan a reality. Read on to learn more about the strategic plan and what’s next for HHA.

About The Plan

The Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA) was founded in 1949 with the goal of providing low- and very low-income housing. According to its website, “The mission of the Hoboken Housing Authority is to provide safe, sanitary, affordable quality housing for individuals and families. To improve residents quality of life by providing services, resources, programs and activities that foster self sufficiency, dignity in addition to encourage a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Building on our mission, the Hoboken Housing Authority is looking to rebuild its existing housing stock and improve the current outdated buildings to reflect the ever vital City of Hoboken.”

HHA Logo

In April 2022, the HHA released a Strategic Plan that was the culmination of nearly two years’ worth of work. According to Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority, Marc Recko, that length of time was by design. “The plan is very comprehensive, it was on purpose,” he said. “We had a lot of community input, a series of community meetings, tent meetings at Mama Johnson Field, stakeholder meetings with a variety of groups. We included religious groups, fire, police, residents, and the community.”

HHA Community Meeting

The HHA manages six locations totalling 1,354 units. “Our buildings are 65 to 70 years old. They need to be developed,” Marc said. “We need comprehensive modernization or complete redevelopment of the buildings.”

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In addition to modernizing the buildings and making them more environmentally resilient, Marc said that the plan envisions additions like retail spaces to the buildings. “We would like to add some commercial elements within the area to make it be the same as the rest of Hoboken,” he said. “Something like a coffee shop or a medical clinic.”

Map of HHA Properties

Marc went to say that HHA is dedicated to a minimum of a one-to-one replacement of units. “We are absolutely committed to the idea that no resident of the HHA loses their unit. In this process we have taken great pains to make sure that not one person would be displaced by the work,” he said. “Our concept is to build a building first and then we can move anyone who needs to be moved. residents won’t have to be displaced. That is very important to the board and it is in the strategic plan.”

Timeline

The current RFP closes in January 2023 and seeks a vendor who will provide “Planning Services to Prepare a Redevelopment Plan for the Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken Redevelopment Area.”

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Marc said the purpose of this RFP is to bring the project along to the next step. “At this point we are bringing in a consulting firm to lead coordination efforts. Ideally we will have city planners, architects, engineers,” he said. “It will be people who can look at housing authority strategic plan and how we can work within City plans. The goal is to make the strategic plan line up with reality such as zoning, easements, and city ordinances.”

HHA Rendering2

The plan that will come out of this RFP process is the next step in what is a multi-step process. “Once we get the redevelopment plan, we can start working on the financing,” Marc said. “Once that is in place, we can start seeking bids on the construction.”

In terms of a timeline for the entire project, Marc said that bids on contractors to start construction would ideally be in late 2023 or early 2024. “It depends on how fast these other pieces come into play. Different vendors would give different timelines,” he said. “Typically a redevelopment plan would take between 6-12 months. We will be pushing to go as fast as we can. We would love to get the redevelopment plan published next summer, but we will not compromise on thoroughness and quality. We need to be sure we’re doing the right things environmentally, with our residents, and that it’s realistic and moving toward the future.”

In a statement, Vijay Chaudhuri, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, expressed support of the project. “The Bhalla administration and City Council will be working collaboratively with the Hoboken Housing Authority on preparing a redevelopment plan with the aim of rehabilitating and upgrading current HHA residences, and potentially creating new affordable units beyond the current housing supply. The redevelopment plan is the next step in furthering the HHAs mission, as identified in the April 2022 HHA Strategic Plan, to achieve a one-to-one unit replacement, at minimum, to prevent the displacement of HHA residents and meet future public housing needs. The creation of a redevelopment plan enables the City to use municipal redevelopment tools, including re-zoning, to support the HHA in this effort and engage the wider City in the process. The RFP acknowledges that addressing flooding issues through the provision of resiliency/green infrastructure and design strategies will be an important goal of the redevelopment plan. The administration and City Council look forward to working with community stakeholders to make this a reality in the coming years.”

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