Call Thom Ammirato 973-403-7836 (February 22, 2022) A Hoboken business owner whose family has been in the City for over 100 years is fighting off an eminent domain condemnation of his land, so the City can use his property to comply with the City’s obligations to a private developer. Charles Poggi owns a building on a property, identified as 1501 Adams Street, between 15th and 16th Streets. The site has been home of a printing company started by Poggi’s grandfather in 1928. The printing company was wiped out during Super Storm Sandy in 2012. Since then, Poggi has been trying to find new uses for the site, including making it available to other businesses seeking a home; but the City made it known it would not support the reuses. Poggi has told the City he wants to redevelop the property himself and – along with a prominent development firm, has been meeting with Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s redevelopment team for seven months, discussing redevelopment plans and producing renderings of two proposed development options. In a letter to the City council, he sent this week, Poggi said, “Let me be clear – I have no interest in selling my property to the City … It is my right to determine how to develop my property, and that right shouldn’t be taken from me by the City.” Last week, Poggi was disappointed to find that the City had placed a bond ordinance on the February 16 council agenda to condemn his property. He was shocked to learn of the City’s appraised value of his property, which the City never disclosed to him, from a newspaper article. More intriguing is the fact that the initial bond ordinance was based on a November appraisal of his property by Lasser Sussman Associates of Summit, NJ. On the morning of the Council meeting, the City slashed the appraised value by 27% without notifying Poggi, who once again learned of the revised appraised value from a newspaper article. The City council voted 5-4 to approve making an offer to acquire Poggi’s property by condemnation and accept the appraisal. Councilmembers Rubin Ramos, Mike DeFusco, Tiffanie Fisher and Jen Giattino voted against the ordinance on first reading. According to a published report, Ramos said; “he would prefer to have a garage built by a developer, not the City, to save taxpayers money.” “It makes no sense to me to have the taxpayers of Hoboken buy my property then turn around and hand it off to a contractor, when I am perfectly willing to invest in a redevelopment project that will benefit the City,” added Poggi. “I applaud the members of the City council who had the integrity to vote against the ordinance approving the appraisal and acquisition of my property,” said Poggi. KEPT IN THE DARK Lasser Sussman Associates submitted its appraisal report to the City on November 9, 2021. Poggi was never shown a copy of the appraisal. “The City’s administration was sitting on the appraisal for three months and never bothered to show it to me or my attorney,” said Poggi. “Why would the City administration act in such a secretive manner? My family have been good corporate citizens for three generations. I think we deserve more respect than we have been shown.” Also troubling to Poggi is how the assessor’s estimate of the best use of the property suddenly dropped from 335 housing units to 208 units, including 31 affordable housing units. “I never got an explanation of how the appraiser’s best use of my property dropped by more than 120 units in just a matter of hours,” said Poggi, who attended Wednesday’s council meeting. IRONSTATE SETTLMENT Mayor Bhalla’s administration claims it needs to condemn Poggi’s property in order to fast track the building of a new public works garage that is part of the City’s litigation settlement with Ironstate Development Company of Hoboken. As part of the settlement, the City will cede control of its current Department of Public Works Garage site to Ironstate. “I take no issue with the City’s settlement with Ironstate. But, I was never a part of the Ironstate negotiation. So, I don’t see why the City is pointing a gun at my head to fulfill promises that the administration committed to,” said Poggi. “The condemnation doesn’t make sense when I’ve offered to help place the DPW garage on my property using private funds with a private developer.” In his letter to the City council Poggi noted: “For the past seven months, I have met and worked with the City to try to find a remedy to prevent a condemnation. I did everything that the City asked for and made every accommodation that the City demanded. I found a trust-worthy and reputable developer that presented two, outstanding plans that included the construction of the DPW garage and residential building(s) on the property, which would make my family, and any Hobokonite proud. The City rejected the proposals, without explanation.” “This property represents the blood, sweat and tears of my grandfather, father, brother and myself, and our dedication to Hoboken. I do not want and I do not deserve to have it taken from me,” concluded Poggi.