Dear friends and neighbors,
I want to start with all the positives about this project: revenue, jobs and the completion of the Southern Waterfront. The total amount of taxes collected in Year 1 is nearly $1.8 million. By Year 5 that number grows to $2.2 million. The hotel pays full taxes (not piloted) and they are not putting the added pressures on our infrastructure that residential development does. Additionally,170 permanent jobs will be created.
My concerns are with the design and aesthetics of the building. We deserve a world class building to complete the Southern Waterfront. I fought for this under Mayor Zimmer and although she did not agree with the majority of the subcommittee she was willing to take a step back and allow the subcommittee to take the lead on something that was important to us.
Mayor Bhalla has negotiated a $3 million developer giveback which he unilaterally decided to give to two outstanding non-profits, Hoboken Community Center (the former Y) and Hoboken Public Education Foundation. Unfortunately this approach has created a divide between many of the worthy non-profits in Hoboken. This sets a bad precedent for Hoboken, creating division should never be our approach.
Today I reached out to the developer of the hotel and quickly came to realize that they were open to giving additional monies to the Charter Schools and the Affordable Housing Trust (to be used for the Community Land Trust) after I expressed how important this is to our community based on input from residents. This is why we need a discussion on how future givebacks are negotiated and how important community involvement is and why a cooperative process is critical to get a positive outcome.
The proposed amendment adds three stories to the building and increases the bulk from 170,000 sqft. to 205,000 sqft. This was exactly the kind of building the subcommittee as a whole was trying to avoid. I am in favor of the height with proper setbacks which this plan is lacking.