HOBOKEN -- Faced with paying $25.5 million for the city's municipal garage -- which was recently assessed at $14 million -- a representative of S. Hekemian Group asked the Hoboken City Council to make several concessions to make the project profitable. However, the mayor had already rejected the proposed amendments.
Hekemian's Douglas Cohen had asked the city to reduce the project's PILOT payments by $1 million annually until the economy recovers; change plans from having 10,000 square feet of retail space to having a 30,000 square foot grocery store; and bypass affordable housing requirements in favor of a $1 million payment for affordable housing.
In return, the developer would maintain the buying price and agreement on 240 residential units, and allow the city an extra year to move their operations to a new site.
At Wednesday night's council meeting, several council members asked questions, but no one committed one way or the other.
Also at the meeting, some members of the community also spoke out again against garage moving to a former towing site at Sixth and Jackson.
A husband and wife presented a letter asking for the council's support to not move the garage to any residential area in town.
The issue sparked a political boxing match between 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo and 4th Ward Councilman Michael Lenz.
Unfortunately for the city, Cohen said he believes the environmental condition of the site will preclude the city from closing the sale of the garage by Aug. 13.
For more coverage, read this weekend's Hoboken Reporter. For prior coverage, see the links below. --TJC