Negotiations Stalled for Months
(Hoboken, NJ) Charles Poggi whose property at 1501 Adams Street has been the target of eminent domain condemnation by the city since February — and his attorneys – say the city has been dragging its feet in negotiations to acquire Poggi’s industrial lot and it’s time to come to a settlement or leave him and his family alone.”
“We have not heard anything constructive from the Administration and its legal representatives since July,” says Poggi. “I’m troubled by the city’s lack of responsiveness and so is my legal team.”
Poggi says Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s Administration has tied up his property since early 2021 when it sought a new home for the city’s Department of Public Works garage. The administration told Poggi last year to work with a developer and present to the city plans that would include the DPW center along with residential units on the Adams Street site. He did as requested, and began working with a prominent developer.
“Over several months we submitted two sets of plans and both were rejected,” said Poggi. “The city was just wasting my time and money.”
In February the city declared that it intended to seize Poggi’s Adams Street property by eminent domain – saying it needs the property for a new $192 million municipal complex that would include a DPW center. Poggi has maintained a willingness to work with the administration and negotiate in good faith, but opposes the seizure of his property.
Poggi’s Attorney Anthony Della Pelle, of McKirdy, Riskin, Olsen & DellaPelle of Morris Plains, says: “We have not had any meaningful communication from the Administration’s negotiating team in months and it doesn’t look like any progress is coming soon,” said DellaPelle.
“Because of the City’s foot-dragging, Mr. Poggi has been locked in a limbo jail. He has not been presented with a fair compensation package, and his options to use the property are severely limited because there is an eminent domain threat hanging over the property,” said DellaPelle.
The mayor, who in March, pronounced the need for a new municipal complex as a
“Once in a generation opportunity … to take a holistic approach to plan for the future…” has been silent on the project for months. Rumors are circulating that the city and Poggi have reached an agreement, but Della Pelle that’s untrue.
Bhalla has been unable to gain the full support of the city council for his proposed municipal complex. He needed six city council votes to approve a $40 million bond to fund the condemnation of Poggi’s property, but did not get them.
City’s HCIA End Run
With city council deadlocked for months on funding the municipal complex proposal, the Bhalla Administration introduced a resolution on July 6 requesting that the Hudson County Improvement Authority take over the condemnation and purchase the property. The city council – in a 5-3 vote – with one council member absent – approved the HCIA resolution.
Poggi’s team responded that the HCIA was given an inaccurate appraisal by the city and that the property is worth much more. “It is a flawed appraisal, and city knows it. We pointed out the appraisal’s flaws to the administration months ago – including the fact that one-third of the site was not included in the city’s appraisal,” said DellaPelle, an eminent domain expert.
DellaPelle said no one on the Poggi team has heard from the HCIA and they have no knowledge that the authority is interested in the proposed project.
“The city cannot leave Mr. Poggi in limbo forever while it tries to figure out whether it will try to buy or take the property, or how it is going to finance the condemnation of his property and the construction of a new municipal complex,” said DellaPelle.
Attorney Maria Vallejo, also representing Poggi, said her client’s property, which has been in his family for decades, is placing Poggi in a vice. “He is still paying taxes and carrying charges on his property, but there little he can do to generate revenue while the city maintains the position that it will condemn the site,” said Vallejo.
“Mr. Poggi has a right to be properly compensated for his property – or- in the alternative – be given his rights to redevelop his own property, which is what he really wants to do,” said Vallejo. “If the city has decided to go in another direction regarding the municipality’s infrastructure needs, they should let us know.”
“For the past two years, my family and I have been victimized by the mayor. All I want is the opportunity to enjoy the same benefits of redevelopment that many developers in Hoboken have enjoyed for years. It’s time for the city to fish or cut bait,” said Poggi.