The day has finally come. On September 4th Hoboken’s city council unanimously approved a final ordinance that authorizes the city to use eminent domain as part of their efforts to turn the property into a park. If you have been following our blog, you know that we have been keeping a close eye on this story.
By way of a recap, NY Waterway had purchased the Union Dry Dock in November of 2017 for $11.5 million. Over the past few years, the area has gone through a lot of drama. (Which is why we like to blog about it!)
In December, NY Waterway gained approvals from the Army Corp of Engineers to build a refueling, maintenance, and repair facility at the site based on the Hudson River being a federal waterway. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. The company did not submit an application, nor did they get approval from Hoboken’s planning board to move forward with the project. Of course, it caused the city to put a halt on all activity.
This is Hoboken after all, and no one is one completely surprised with what happened next…A brawl between city officials and NY Waterway that lasted for months.
Even without local approvals, NY Waterway sued Hoboken. The company said that they wanted to restart the project, and that they had “the necessary state and federal permits and the site has the proper zoning.” Subsequently, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Jeffery Jablonski disagreed with NY Waterway and threw the lawsuit out.
Happy with the victory, Hoboken city officials have been taking steps to acquire the land. Integra Realty Resources appraised the Union Dry Dock property on July 1 for $13.1 million and the ordinance authorizing eminent domain reserves funds from the city’s bonds and notes toward purchasing the land.
“Today, Hoboken is one critical step closer to achieving our decades long dream of a public, waterfront park at Union Dry Dock,” said Mayor Bhalla in a statement following the vote. “We cannot and will not give up this opportunity to create a contiguous waterfront our children can enjoy for generations to come. I look forward to beginning good faith negotiations with New York Waterway to acquire Union Dry Dock in a process that is fair to both parties.”
That is not stopping NY Waterway. The company is looking to relocate from their existing Weehawken refueling facility.
Then there is an outside chance that New Jersey Transit might acquire the Union Dry Dock property on behalf of NY Waterway. Nothing like going over the city’s head with state authority. NY Waterway has no plans to back-off and they still want to keep fighting.
We love a good drama, and this one seems to be one to keep watching!