The process, which will take between 12 and 18 months, will find the "highest and best use" for every square foot of the terminal area, said NJ Transit Executive Director George D. Warrington at a Wednesday press conference.
"Over the past century, the Hoboken Terminal has evolved into a patchwork terminal hosting different transportation modes without a vision for the future that takes advantage of intermodal connections," said Warrington. "This plan will help us rethink the way Hoboken Terminal and its yard will serve customers and the surrounding community for the next 100 years."
The large-scale study will make recommendations about how to renovate the historic structures, add retail and restaurant complexes, and build mixed-use development, all the while improving access for travelers shuttling between the station's trains, light rail, ferries, buses and taxis. NJ Transit Board Chairman and DOT Commissioner Jack Lettiere added that a master plan that fully integrates the needs of the commuters and the community is long overdue. "We look forward to working with Hoboken and Jersey City to design a blueprint that will optimize the potential of this asset while reinforcing local commerce," Lettiere said.
Mayor David Roberts said that he is excited about the opportunity to improve the Hoboken Terminal. He added that master plan and future development and renovations will be an economic engine that will provide many new services for residents.
"We look forward to working with NJ Transit and LCOR to achieve a transit-oriented development plan that will complement the character of our community and deliver the mixed-use opportunities that enhance the quality of life for residents," Roberts said.
Who's paying the bill?
According to the contract, LCOR's team will provide the study at no cost to NJ Transit, a value the agency places at between $1.5 million and $2 million.
If the plan is approved, the firm will gain development rights and fees for the venture over the next 15 years under the contract.
The contract was advertised under a competitive request for proposals, said Warrington. LCOR's team has worked on regional transit-orientated projects such as the JFK International Arrivals Terminal, Grand Central Terminal, and Washington Union Station.
The team includes the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Williams Jackson Ewing, Inc., and DMJM + Harris and Langan Engineering.
According to a NJ Transit press release, LCOR has projects throughout the United States, with about $8 billion in developments completed, under construction or in pre-development. LCOR has developed in excess of 20,000 residential units and more than 16 million square feet of commercial space nationally.
Warrington said one of the reasons that LCOR was selected was because they have experience in completing major projects at locations that are open during construction, such as JFK Airport. Warrington did not give too many specifics about what the master plan might entail, but said he wanted the terminal to return to a more customer-friendly layout that better integrates the various travel modes and provides seamless passenger and pedestrian flow as well as enhanced amenities for commuters.
He added that the terminal is a "hidden gem we would like to return the luster to. We want to transform the atmosphere into something similar to the one you would find at Grand Central Terminal and Washington Union Station."
Hoboken Ferry Terminal rehabilitation moves forward
The NJ Transit Board of Directors has approved a $53.9 million contract for the second phase of a rehabilitation project that will return a portion of Hoboken Terminal to its original design, ultimately restoring permanent ferry service to the historic building and creating a new ferry waiting area for customers.
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad originally built the terminal and its ferry slips in 1907. During the early part of the last century, ferry service was the primary form of transportation for people traveling to and from Manhattan.
With the construction of the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the use of ferries began to decline, and in 1967, the Hoboken Terminal slips were closed.
In 1989, New York Waterway resumed ferry service between New Jersey and New York and used the neighboring Hoboken Terminal as a temporary ferry facility.
Originally, it was a bustling transportation focal point where 30,000 daily commuters hopped aboard ferries to Manhattan.
According to the contract, Hall Construction Co., Inc. of Howell, N.J. will finish five of the original six ferry slips, as well as restoration of the exterior copper facade and lighting on the river side of the terminal, structural repairs, roof repairs, and demolition of the finger piers and wooden fenders.
Also, NJ Transit plans to build a replica of the clock tower that originally stood on top of the building.
According to Transit officials, the second phase of construction is expected to begin at the end of this year and finish in 2008. The project's first phase, which began last year and was completed in September 2005, included repairs to the terminal's substructure and superstructure.
Early design work for the third and final phase is anticipated within the next few months.