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Title Redevelopment Study for the Hoboken Terminal & Yard of the City of Hoboken. Hoboken Planning Board. 2006.
Object Name Report
Catalog Number 2014.002.0002
MULTIMEDIA LINKS CLICK HERE to view the PDF; note - please be patient while file opens.
Collection Hoboken Government & Politics Collection
Credit Museum Collections.
Scope & Content Redevelopment Study for the Hoboken Terminal & Yard
of the City of Hoboken.

Prepared for the City of Hoboken Planning Board
Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc.
Planning & Real Estate Consultants
November 2006.

Digital reference record for this 56 page study; maps, diagrams; photographs. PDF format only on file; selected text by OCR is in notes.

Notes Archives 2014.002.0002
Selected text through the end of page 13; see PDF for all text and illustrations.
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Redevelopment Study for the
Hoboken Terminal & Yard
of the City of Hoboken

Prepared for the City of Hoboken Planning Board
Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc.
Planning & Real Estate Consultants
November 2006
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1Introduction...........................................................................................1

2Description of Study Area and Locational Context.........................................2

3Study Area Master Plan and Zoning Designations.........................................9

3.1Master Plan.................................................................................9
3.2Zoning.......................................................................................13
3.3Redevelopment Context................................................................14
3.4Municipal Actions.........................................................................18

4 Statutory Criteria for An Area In Need of Redevelopment and Application to the Study Area...................19

5 Study Area Evaluation............................................................................22

5.1 Property Overview.......................................................................22
5.2 Property Evaluation......................................................................23
5.3 Consideration of a Redevelopment Area Designation for the Study Area.................................38

6 Conclusions........................................................................................42

7 Appendix—Photo Images......................................................................43

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 1:Use and Bulk Requirements of the I-1 Zone.....................................15

Table 2:Use and Bulk Requirements of the W(H) Zone..................................16

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1:Location of Redevelopment Study Area............................................3

Figure 2:Study Area Boundary....................................................................4

Figure 3:Study Area Master Plan Designations..............................................12

Figure 4:Study Area and Surrounding Zoning................................................17

Figure 5:Application of Area in Need of Redevelopment Criteria.......................39

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1 INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this study is to determine whether an area located in the southeastern portion of the City of Hoboken commonly known as the "Hoboken Terminal and Yard” meets the requirements for designation as an "area in need of redevelopment” as established under NJSA 40A:12A. The study was authorized by City Council of the City of Hoboken and was prepared for the Hoboken Planning Board.

In the preparation of the study, we reviewed the following City records and documents:

• Official tax maps of the City of Hoboken.

• Tax records for each block and lot within the study area.

• Aerial photos of the study area

• Recent building department and property management records for the study area (i.e., building/construction permits, code violation).

• Recent development applications and approvals

• 2004 Master Plan of the City of Hoboken.

• Zoning Ordinance and Map of the City of Hoboken.

• Redevelopment plan for area adjacent to the study area, known as the Public Works Municipal Garage Site.

In addition to the above, we also physically inspected the various buildings/structures and grounds with representatives of the property owner (i.e., New Jersey Transit). This analysis included both exterior and interior inspections of buildings. Further, we attended two meetings with representatives of NJ Transit to obtain additional information on property conditions as well as the status of capital improvement projects at the Terminal. Finally, we reviewed a number of documents and reports prepared for New Jersey Transit over the years which provided not only a historical perspective of the property, but also information regarding conditions and functions of the various components of the Terminal.

The remainder of this report is divided into six chapters. Chapter 2 provides a description of the study area and its locational context. Chapter 3 provides an analysis of the applicable zoning, master plan and redevelopment activities affecting the study area. Chapter 4 discusses the criteria specified at N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5 for an "area in need of redevelopment.” Chapter 5 applies these criteria to the study area to determine whether or not an area in need of redevelopment determination is warranted. Chapter 6 summarizes the overall conclusions of the report. Lastly, the report appendix provides photographic images of the Terminal property.

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2 DESCRIPTION OF STUDY AREA AND LOCATIONAL CONTEXT

The area that is under consideration for redevelopment area designation encompasses a large tract of land that comprises the Hoboken Terminal and Rail Yards. The study area consists of a number of parcels owned by New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) that are proximate to the Hudson River in the southeastern portion of the City of Hoboken. The NJ Transit Terminal complex extends into Jersey City, where there are an additional ±30 additional acres of rail yards and transit facilities.

According to the official tax maps of Hoboken, the Hoboken study area is ±52.0 acres in size and consists of one (1) property assemblage consisting of a total eight (8) tax lots on portions of two (2) tax blocks. These include Block 229, Lots 1 and 2, and Block 139, Lots 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2, 3 and 4. The lots range in size from ±10,000 square feet to ±880,000 square feet. Portions of several of the lots include lands underwater. The location of the study area is shown on Figure 1.

The study area is bounded generally by Henderson Street to the west; the municipal border of the City of Jersey City to the south; the Hudson River to the east; and Observer Highway, Hudson Place, and Hudson Street to the north. The study area boundaries are shown on Figure 2.

The land area on which the Hoboken Terminal and Yard Complex is located has a long history as a transportation terminal. The Terminal was built on manmade land with ferry slips over the water. The Terminal Complex officially opened in February 1907, although prior to that time (i.e, during the 1800s) ferry service had been available. Designed for the Lackawanna Railroad, the Hoboken Terminal was an innovative facility that integrated ferry, rail, trolley, and foot traffic. The design combined the Railroad Terminal and Ferry Terminal into one main building. The YMCA Building was added later, in the 1920s, and constructed above the baggage wing of the Terminal as lodging for railroad employees.

The Terminal Complex was designed to serve as an entrance and canopy for the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (i.e., the predecessor of the PATH subway line), which was constructed between 1907 and 1908. The Immigrant/Pullman Building, which served as both a way station for immigrants arriving by ferry from Ellis Island and as a depot for Pullman dining cars, was also included in the original design. Eventually, trolley service was added. The so-called Public Service Trolley Terminal was demolished after trolley operations ceased. The Trolley Terminal occupied the area where the bus terminal currently exists.

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Today, the subject property continues to function as an integrated transportation facility, where several modes of transportation coalesce. These include:

• Seven NJ Transit commuter rail lines

• The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) line

• The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) subway line to Manhattan

• Trans-Hudson ferries

• Local buses.

The Hoboken Terminal serves as a transfer point for many commuters. According to the 2004 Hoboken Master Plan, approximately 30,000 commuters pass through Hoboken Terminal on a typical weekday morning, with most switching modes of transit at the Terminal.

The PATH has 13 stations in its system and provides a transportation link between Hoboken and New York City, Jersey City, Harrison, and Newark. The Hoboken Terminal PATH station is predominantly used by commuters to and from New York City, with the heaviest usage occurring on weekday mornings and weekday evenings. The 2004 Master Plan estimated that the PATH was utilized by approximately 8,300 weekday riders, with approximately one-third using commuter rail and one-third walking to and from the Hoboken station.

The recently constructed Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line connects Hoboken Terminal to locations in Jersey City and Bayonne. Two stations on the west side of Hoboken have opened at Second and Ninth Street, as well as stops in Weekhawken, Union City and North Bergen. Bus service is also provided from Hoboken Terminal.

Ferry transportation is provided by New York Waterway which operates service from the piers south of the Main Terminal to three Manhattan destinations: World Financial Center, Pier 11 on Wall Street, and West 39th Street.

The facility also comprises various buildings utilized by NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The Hoboken portion of the complex includes the following buildings and structures:

• Main and Ferry Terminal Complex

• YMCA Building

• Bus Terminal

• PATH Track and Structures Building

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• Records Building

• Engine House

• Maintenance of Way (MOW) Building/ Hoboken Shop

• Terminal Tower

• Train Shed

• Immigrant/Pullman Building

In addition, the complex includes six ferry slips, a pedestrian plaza, catenary-electrified track, and light maintenance facilities.

Office and employee facilities are predominantly located in the Main and Ferry Terminals, YMCA Building, and Maintenance of Way Building, with NY Waterways ticket sales and track maintainers’ facilities located in the Immigrant/Pullman Building. There are also a few commercial tenants including food vendors, florists, newsstands, etc., on the site primarily located in the Main Terminal area.

Several of the buildings are designated on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Main and Ferry Terminal and Plaza, the Immigrant/Pullman Building, the YMCA Building, the Train Shed, and the Records Building. The property is located within portions of the Southern Hoboken and Old Main D L & W Historic Districts. The Southern Hoboken Historic District includes the area south of Fourth Street to the Ferry Terminal. The Old Main Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad Historic District includes lands south of Observer Highway to the City line, between Henderson Street and the Hudson River.

Over the last ten years or so, NJ Transit has undertaken a number of improvements to the Terminal property, many of which were set forth as part of an overall master plan for the complex. The Hoboken Terminal & Yard Master Plan was prepared for NJ Transit by Beyer Blinder Belle, Architects and Planners LLP with STV Incorporated with the intent "to provide a development framework for the future growth of the Hoboken Terminal and Yard Complex.” The most recent versions of the Master Plan reviewed for the purposes of this report were from July 28, 1999 and March 9, 2005. In general, the Hoboken Terminal & Yard Master Plan makes recommendations for improvements in four areas which were considered critical to the property’s growth and development potential:

• Transportation

• Public and Commercial Space

• NJ Transit Facilities

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•Infrastructure.

In regard to implementation, the updated 2005 Master Plan indicates that NJ Transit has completed Phase I of the plan, which included $120 million in improvements. The following components of Phase I were completed in the years between 1995 and 2003:

• Ferry Terminal Roof replacement and skylight repair (1995)

•Construction of new food court in Main Concourse and Concourse roof repair (1996)

•Electric and sewer upgrades to meet current codes (1996)

•Plaza canopy, Train Shed Steel, North Wall substructure (2003)

•New Maintenance of Way/Hoboken Shop (1998)

•Restoration of Main Waiting Room (1999)

•HBLRT Station at Hoboken (2001)

• New Rail Operation Center located at NJ Transit’s Meadows Maintenance Facility in Kearny, NJ (2003)

•Yard B construction of nine train storage tracks, train fueling, sanding, and washing facilities (2003).

The Phase II portion is currently underway. Based on discussions with NJ Transit, the current status of the Phase II improvements is as follows:

•Ferry Terminal substructure repairs and first floor superstructure at the Team Concourse (ongoing; near completion)

•Restoration of Ferry Service into original Ferry Slips (ongoing)

•New Clock Tower construction (ongoing)

•Bus Terminal Roof repairs (completed)

Plans for Phase III include the following:

•Filling in of Long Slip Canal to create an area approximately 100 feet wide by 2,000 feet long, joining the southerly 90 feet of Hoboken Yard with the balance of the yard.

•South Yard construction of new car wash, inspection pit, wheel truing and running repair facilities, as well as additional platforms and train storage positions.

•Station Personnel Building/Access Road/Utilities to be constructed for NJ Transit Station and Transportation Department’s staff, currently located in the existing Rail/Ferry Terminal building complex. Includes a two-story building with parking underneath.

•Train Shed rehabilitation, with the lighting and signage modernized. Increase the level of platforms to allow for the physically challenged to access trains. The historic fabric of the train shed will be maintained and restored.

•Restoration of Record Building.

•Restoration of Immigrant Building.

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According to NJ Transit officials, future plans for Phase III are essentially on hold due to funding constraints.

In terms of the study area’s locational context, to the immediate north and northeast is Hoboken’s downtown commercial core. Observer Highway and Hudson Place run along the northern boundary of the study area. The north side of Observer Highway is characterized by a mix of uses, including commercial, residential, and office buildings which range in height from three to fifteen stories. The properties on the blocks immediately to the northwest of Observer Highway are primarily characterized by relatively high-density residential use. The Neumann Leather factory complex, located on a triangular property where Observer Highway and Newark Street connect, includes light industrial and commercial tenants as well as artists’ studios. The character of the surrounding area is primarily mixed-use.

Directly across from the study area along Observer Highway is a redevelopment area known as the Public Works Municipal Garage Site. The Redevelopment Plan calls for multi-family residential use with first floor commercial space along Observer Highway.

Across the street from the Hoboken Terminal at the eastern end of Hudson Place is the site of the recently-approved, 25-story W Hotel, which will be built adjacent to Lackawanna Plaza. The South Waterfront Redevelopment Area is located to the north of the Terminal in the area east of River Street.

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3 STUDY AREA MASTER PLAN AND ZONING DESIGNATIONS

3.1MASTER PLAN

The most recent Master Plan for the City of Hoboken was adopted in 2004. The Master Plan recognizes the Hoboken Terminal as an important multi-modal transportation facility:

Hoboken is New Jersey’s premier transit hub, and is unrivaled for the sheer breadth of types of service provided to it. Every major mode of urban mass transportation is represented in Hoboken.

The Master Plan makes several recommendations in regard to the Hoboken Terminal and the surrounding area. Specifically, the Master Plan recommends that the Hoboken Terminal become "more of a destination” and notes that the "Hoboken Terminal is an underutilized resource”. The Master Plan states:

This area is a natural focal point for development due to its transit access and general accessibility. Increasing economic activity in the Terminal and surrounding area can have a positive impact on the entire City’s economic health.

The Master plan goes on to make the general recommendation that the City "encourage appropriate development of key underutilized sites.” The Master Plan states:

There are some properties in the area that could better contribute to the City’s tax base, as well as the mix of land uses in the Terminal area, through their redevelopment.

It goes on to state:

These include the property currently developed with a one-story retail building (Barnes & Noble, etc.) and New Jersey Transit’s parking lot on the south side of Observer Highway at Washington Street.

The Land Use Element is clear in recommending action to prevent underutilization of scarce developable land. In regard to parking, the Master Plan recommends the following:

Land in Hoboken is at a premium, and as such, there should not be surface parking lots taking up land solely for the storage of motor vehicles. Where new parking lots are necessary, they should be constructed as multi-level facilities that are masked in their appearance by other uses on the exterior.

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The Master Plan further envisions Observer Highway as a "boulevard” with "the potential to be a defining gateway to Hoboken.” The following are several of the Master Plan’s recommendations for defining the gateway:

• Improve its appearance to make it a more attractive gateway to Hoboken

• Improve pedestrian safety while still accommodating high volumes of traffic

Many of the recommendations for the areas surrounding the Hoboken Terminal to the north relate to the enhancement of the area’s appearance as well as the improvement of vehicular and pedestrian circulation. In relation to the Terminal, the Master Plan states:

For the thousands of pedestrians who walk to and from Hoboken Terminal, the trip can be a harrowing experience.

It further states:

Any improvements made to Hoboken Terminal should include provision of better pedestrian access to all areas of the Terminal and all modes of transportation within it.

The Master Plan also envisions the Hoboken Terminal Plaza as an attractive public open space. The Master Plan states the following:

In addition, Lackawanna Plaza, which has been taken over by New Jersey Transit as a secured parking lot, should be returned to its use as a public open space as soon as possible.

The Master Plan identifies the Hoboken Terminal as an important community resource that with redevelopment can be improved and rehabilitated. However, the Master Plan does state:

Urban renewal-style ideas—such as massive buildings or rail yard development—are not supported.

The Master Plan proposes that the area encompassing the bulk of the existing I-1 Industrial zone, including the subject properties, be placed within three new zoning districts. For the Railroad and Ferry Terminal and its ancillary buildings and structures, the Master Plan recommends that a new HT Hoboken Terminal zone be designated. For most of the remainder of the NJ Transit property, the plan recommends that a RR Railroad designation cover the remainder of the property, exclusive of the main Hoboken Terminal buildings to the east. The boundaries of the RR zone would run the distance from Hudson Street on the eastern side to Henderson Street at the westernmost boundary and include the NJ Transit property south of Observer Highway until the Jersey City border. Finally, a portion of the property, largely in the area bordered by Hudson Place and Hudson

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Street, has been placed within a B-1 district. The zoning boundaries designated in the Master Plan’s Land Use Plan are displayed in Figure 3.

The Master Plan describes the HT zone as follows:

The historic main buildings of the Hoboken Terminal should be preserved and reused. The use regulations for this area should remain somewhat flexible, but provide certain parameters to ensure that redevelopment is consistent with a general vision of uses that generate economic activity as well as provide public benefits.

In reference to the RR designation, the Master Plan states:

This area is currently zoned for industrial use, which is no longer consistent with the character of surrounding areas. Limited redevelopment should be permitted in this area.

The Plan further notes that any new buildings should be oriented to Observer Highway and that building should not be permitted in the airspace above the railyards.

According to the recommended zoning map, the areas adjacent to the Hoboken Terminal are zoned as B-1 Business 1 and B-3 Business 3 districts. The B-1 designation coincides with the existing CBD zone and the B-3 zone includes those properties located to the west of Hoboken Terminal along Observer Highway. Permitted uses in the B-1 zone are predominantly office and retail development and permitted uses in the B-3 zone include a mix of land uses. In the B-3 zone the Master Plan makes the following statement:

Relatively intense development in terms of height or density should be permitted only as a part of comprehensive redevelopment that includes public benefits, such as provision of public open space, preservation of historic buildings, and/or creation of transportation improvements.

The Master Plan recognizes that there are pressures for reuse of the area given the premium price of land, and that redevelopment has the ability to eliminate underutilized land uses while creating opportunities to serve a public benefit especially in regard to the Master Plan objectives.

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[text beyond page 13 is not transcribed here - see PDF]
Date 2006
Year Range from 2006
Year Range to 2006
Search Terms NJ Transit (New Jersey Transit)
Lackawanna Terminal
Hoboken Terminal
Hudson Place
Observer Highway
Lackawanna Plaza
Warrington Plaza
Caption cover
Imagefile 240\20140020002.TIF
Classification Business & Commerce
Buildings
Real Estate
Transportation
Railroads
Historic Sites
Engineering
Government & Politics