After being closed to the public for over a century — and the subject of a lengthy debate — the Union Dry Dock property has officially been acquired by the City of Hoboken. The agreement was originally announced in June of 2021 among the City of Hoboken, NY Waterway, and the State of New Jersey, but this morning, Wednesday, December 7th, 2022, Mayor Bhalla took to Twitter to announce the latest news. This historic acquisition will allow for the development of an open, public park on the property and will be the connecting piece of the Hoboken waterfront, bringing a fully publicly accessible waterfront to Hoboken’s eastern border.
This acquisition + agreement ends years-long battles between the city and NY Waterway. If you’re looking for a more in-depth read, click here for more historical back and forth.
A press release was sent out by the City of Hoboken with local and regional leaders’ comments on the acquisition of the Union Dry Dock.
“Make no mistake about it, the Union Dry Dock property is now in the hands of the City of Hoboken,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This is truly a historic day for our residents, and I’m beyond thrilled that the entirety of our waterfront is now in our control and that we can once and for all plan for public open space and connect our treasured waterfront. This day couldn’t have happened without the steadfast support of our many residents and advocates, including the Fund for a Better Waterfront, who made their voices heard loud and clear that Hoboken deserves nothing less than a waterfront park. I look forward to working with our community on a design our residents can be proud of in the coming months.”
Read More: The Backstory on the Union Dry Dock
“I would also like to extend my gratitude to Governor Phil Murphy and State Senator Brian P. Stack. Without Governor Murphy’s assistance, New Jersey’s residents would not realize the quality of life and environmental benefits of this acquisition. Without the steadfast support and advocacy of Senator Stack for Hoboken, this acquisition would not have been possible.” Mayor Bhalla continued.
“I also want to thank the Hoboken City Council, which fought alongside my administration and our residents to ensure open space at Union Dry Dock would be a reality. Finally, I want to thank New York Waterway for working cooperatively over the past year with my administration so our residents can realize both a waterfront park, and an improved ferry system in the coming years.”
Ron Hine, Executive Director of the Fund for a Better Waterfront said, “The fact that the City of Hoboken has acquired Union Dry Dock is a historic turn of events. This site, inaccessible to the public for more than a century, will add more than three acres to Hoboken’s waterfront park and complete one of the final missing gaps in a continuous park at the water’s edge first proposed by FBW in 1990. Kudos to Mayor Bhalla and his administration, and all the many community advocates who helped make this happen.”
Read More: Your Ultimate 2022 Hudson County Bucket List
The acquisition was undertaken in accordance with the condemnation process, which allows the City to move forward with acquiring the unused waterfront property for the purpose of a public park.
According to the press release:
Pursuant to a Hudson County judge’s order, the City deposited the appraised amount of the Union Dry Dock property, $13.36 million, into Court. The City also recorded a Declaration of Taking with the Hudson County Register.
With control of the Union Dry Dock property, the Bhalla administration will initiate a public planning process to determine the public amenities and features that will be located within the waterfront park. The administration today released a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit professional design firms to present options for the design of a public park at the property. The firm will be tasked with working with the administration and conducting a robust public process that will solicit community input from residents, similar to Hoboken’s other open space projects.
Through these actions, the City has effectively acquired title and ownership of the property. New York Waterway will continue to temporarily occupy the property with the support of the administration, as the City and New York Waterway are working to finalize a temporary lease agreement at the Union Dry Dock property. The lease will assist in the docking of a portion of New York Waterway’s fleet while they redevelop and expand their current ferry operations at an alternate location.