Initially, the City of Hoboken was considering condemnation of the Poggi Property to build a new Department of Public Works garage on the site of 1501 Adams Street. It has now come to light that, the City wants to build a full-scale municipal complex, including fire and police stations, on the property in addition to the DPW Garage. Charlie is an unwilling seller and has told the city council and Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration that he wants to develop the property with his partner, in cooperation with the city.
Why is the Poggi Property Being Targeted for Condemnation by the City?
The current Public Works garage at 256 Observer Highway is being given to Ironstate Development Company, as part of long dispute with the city over waterfront development. That dispute was settled in 2021. Ironstate will build 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 360 residential units on the Observer Highway location.
The city needs a new site for its Public Works Garage and has moved to condemn 1501 Adams Street. The city has until November 2024 to vacate the site or seek temporary arrangements to rent space for its DPW equipment and vehicles.
In 2021, the city hired an appraiser to place a purchase price on 1501 Adams Street. The appraisal was completed in November 2021. It sat for three months. Just before the city council was to vote on a bond ordinance to acquire and develop the Poggi Property on February 16, 2022, the appraisal dropped by 27%.
What is the Alternative to Condemnation?
Starting in the summer of 2021, Charlie and a highly-qualified developer began talks with Mayor Bhalla’s development team to redevelop his property. Included in the initial redevelopment proposal was a proposed new, state-of-the-art DPW center, residential housing and an elevated linear park similar to the New York City Highline for residents to enjoy. Charlie and his development partner also submitted a second proposal to the city, which also included the DPW garage, residential facilities and greenspace. (Please see the redevelopment drawing on the Poggi Development Proposal page) With limited input from the administration, both plans were rejected and the mayor’s redevelopment team decided to use the city’s powers of eminent domain to take Charlie’s property.
Charlie was never a partner to the city’s settlement with Ironstate, yet he is being negatively impacted by the deal the city made. Is that fair?
Is the condemnation a good deal for Hoboken taxpayers?
That’s the question that some members of the city council have begun asking. Is it economically advantageous for the city to take Charlie’s property – pay its fair market value and hire professionals and contractors to build the garage, when the city can have a new DPW center, without having to seize the Poggi property and can also receive other benefits from a private development on the Poggi property?”
Is this about more than a Public Works Garage?
The simple answer is yes. The city council in late January approved a $25,000 contract for Nastasi Architects of Hoboken to prepare a schematic design of a public works facility at 1501 Adams Street. In February 2022, the city awarded Nastasi another contract for a staggering $1,716,370 to design a facility at the 1501 Adams Street. It doesn’t cost $1.7 million to design a garage, so what is Nastasi being asked to do?
So, what’s really happening?
Thanks to some dogged reporting by John Heinis of the Hudson County View, the city finally had to admit its plans for a much more extensive and costly redevelopment of 1501 Adams Street. City spokeswoman Marilyn Baer told the reporter in a February 28 article that in addition to the DPW facility, the city also is planning to intensely redevelop 1501 Adams Street by adding a Public Safety complex, including a new police headquarters, a firehouse, a command center for the Office of Emergency Management, and a mid-rise parking deck for 600 cars.
The city’s aggressive plans have yet to be revealed by the Bhalla administration to the public. Neither has the administration said what the cost of its grand plan will be. No one knows, except the administration.
How will this intense development of what is now a lightly used site impact the neighborhood? No one in city hall is saying.
What does the Poggi family want?
Charlie Poggi and his family want one thing – to be treated fairly. They want to be recognized as long-term members and contributors of the Hoboken community, and to be allowed to develop the family property in a way that benefits the city and protect the Adams Street neighborhood from intense, over-development.