On behalf of the members of the Hoboken community who feel deeply betrayed by Michael and David Barry aka The Applied Companies (“Applied”) with their proposed Monarch at Shipyard Development, I was disheartened to read the March 15th article titled “City approves $100K more to fight pier development”. This article effectively makes the Barry’s out to be the victims without highlighting their own role in this. It is important that the Hoboken community be reminded of the history of how we got to this point and what is at stake.
In 1997, Applied signed a Developer’s Agreement with the City of Hoboken and the Hoboken Planning Board for its Shipyard Planned Urban Development which covers the area east of Hudson St. and north of 12th street. Under this agreement, a number of buildings were to be (and have been) built, with the last block to be developed as open space, tennis courts, and parking.
In May 2011, only after it realized substantial profits from the completion of all of the buildings at the Shipyard, Applied announced that it no longer intended to build the open space as previously agreed. In both its DEP Waterfront Permit and Hoboken Planning Board applications, the Barry's cried “hardship” saying it was now too costly for them to make the necessary repairs to the piers to ensure public safety, and instead said they must “build up” for it to make economic sense. Accordingly, they proposed the two-tower development now known as The Monarch at Shipyard and also announced that they had the “as of” right to build it.
So that is why we are here. Because a long time, Hoboken based developer, supposing to be a community partner, changed its mind for its own financial gain.
If determination of fairness was based solely upon a social contract, this would have been resolved immediately in 2011 and the Hoboken community would now have the end-to-end public waterfront that it hoped for in its master plan. However, Municipal Land Use laws govern the outcome of this and the Barry’s with their lawyers are leaving no stone unturned in its pursuit of what they deem to be the only fair outcome. Their lawyers continue to search for technical loopholes to defend its client’s perceived rights to build as it sees fit. But where their lawyers seem to have had the most success is in steering the emphasis off of the fact that the Barry’s betrayed the Hoboken community and shifting it so that it seems the Barry’s are the victim here of unanimous community bias.
The Administration and the City Council are only attempting to maintain the intentions of the original arrangement between the City and Applied and taxpayers are being forced to bear the burden of the legal costs required to defend this case solely because Applied is not holding up its end of the bargain.
Well, maybe if the Hoboken community had not been so betrayed, it would not be so biased.