Has anyone noticed that the bottom has fallen out of Hoboken’s rental market? Yet, Applied Housing is building two more 11- story rental buildings at The Shipyard which were, no doubt, approved long ago. Their building at 333 River Street is still not full even with the rental incentives that are being offered to get occupants. I don’t mean to single out Applied Housing. These just happen to be buildings that I know about. I have no idea how many more buildings, that were approved long ago by the old administration, are waiting to spring up or how many apartments in Hoboken are sitting unoccupied.
Now, the big question is. Why are we even considering a project at Maxwell House that will add another 1000 rental units to the market? There are many good reasons to reject this proposal – traffic, over-crowding, historical preservation of current structures, etc. But, have we considered that there is currently no demand for this? I see no upside to this project. If these apartments are built and occupied, there will be such an enormous amount of congestion from all the high-rises on the waterfront that will make our beautiful town unbearable. If they are not occupied, well then, what’s the point of having a multi-year construction project?
I have seen the plans that Stevens Institute and the City have proposed for the Maxwell House property. Their proposal is what responsible development is all about. It would include a math and science magnet school, incubator space for emerging advanced technology companies (as part of the Stevens Technogenesis program), and a baseball field/park while attempting to preserve most of the historical Maxwell House architecture. Stevens would partner, not just with the magnet school, but with the entire Hoboken school system to help upgrade the education of Hoboken kids. This is a truly brilliant plan. I think Mayor Roberts and Dr. Raveche should be commended for this work of art.
When I tell people about this potential project, they are incredibly impressed. This includes people who don’t even live in Hoboken. A project like this would be a cornerstone for the Hoboken community. It would help make Hoboken a place that families move to, instead of move away from. Our families and the children of Hoboken deserve to have a high-end educational program in town. It’s time for us to make a change. I urge the planning board to reject the current Maxwell House project. In fact, I urge the City to shut down any new apartment construction approvals until the master plan is completed. Obviously, the old rules don’t work anymore. We need new ones.