Three blocks of the zone are owned by the Rockefeller Group, which has for many years sought to build a high-rise office complex on the land. In early 2013, a study commissioned by the city recommended only the three Rockefeller blocks for redevelopment. Last December, the Planning Board declined to designate any parcels as “in need of redevelopment,” instead labeling the entire area as “in need of rehabilitation.”
After the Planning Board designated the North End only for future “rehabilitation,” Zimmer said Christie officials, including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, began to mention moving forward on Rockefeller project in connection with the city getting Hurricane Sandy aid. At the time, the Rockefeller Group was represented by a Christie-linked law firm.
Last week, Zimmer said the professional hired for the North End will work with the community to create a redevelopment plan, which could change the current industrial zoning of the area and allow for new developments to begin.
Zimmer said that the Rockefeller Group will be a part of the redesign process. Though she has not met with them one-on-one recently, Zimmer said she believes Rockefeller Group representatives were present at the event introducing Hoboken’s Rebuild by Design project in March, and at a meeting Zimmer held with the development community.
However, Zimmer gave some hints that the new redevelopment plan will not be dictated by the whims of the Rockefeller Group. She noted that the city’s “Master plan calls for the light rail station to be at 15th Street, as opposed to the secret agreement that was developed for 17th Street.” In 2013, the Rockefeller Group reached a non-binding memorandum of understanding with NJ Transit to build a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stop near its property at 17th Street.
Note: this article has been corrected to more accurately reflect the redevelopment process for the North End.