HOBOKEN – Mayor Dawn Zimmer invited the local media on Friday afternoon to the Observer Highway Municipal Garage to show that workers had completed the job of moving out to a location uptown. Vacating the garage was part of an agreement the city planned to enter into with a developer this past week. However, earlier in the week, the city said the developer is in “breach” of the agreement to buy the property. Nevertheless, in order to prove that the city did what it was supposed to on their end of the legal agreement, it was important for them to move out on Friday.
After city trucks filed out of the parking lot at 4 p.m., Director of Environmental Services Jennifer Maier issued a statement to the media gathered at the site, thanking her employees for the work they’ve done over the last few days to vacate the garage site. (Some of those same employees may soon be laid off to save money in the next city budget.)
“They were working until after midnight last night,” Maier said. “I want to commend them for their work.”
After offering a tour of the garage to the members of press in attendance, Maier elaborated on the timeline of the city’s departure from the Observer Highway Garage.
“We’ve been working at it for four months,” Maier said. “But the city still had to operate out of here on a day-to-day basis.”
She says a lot of the move occurred in the last few days, calling it a “marathon last-ditch effort” to get everything out on time.
With legal action on the horizon, Mayor Zimmer said, “It was important to invite the press and show the public that we were out of here today.”
The garage’s prospective developer, S. Hekemian Group (SHG), issued a statement via e-mail on Wednesday after the City Council voted that SHG was in breach of its contract to buy the garage. SHG said, “We intend to pursue to pursue all remedies available to us through the courts.”
At 4:45 p.m. Friday, a small number of city vehicles remained in the parking lot, but the actual building had been emptied.
Read more about the garage issue this weekend in the print edition of the Hoboken Reporter or at www.hudsonreporter.com.