Just when you thought the only new construction in town was residential, developer Michael Gorman plans to unveil a 15,000-square-foot shopping center at 14th and Adams streets this coming summer.
The single-level shopping center will have at least one bank, a liquor store, and a national coffee chain. Ultimately it will include seven to 11 stores and a 50-spot parking lot.
The structure will be in stark contrast to the surrounding area, which was once industrial but now consists mostly of residential buildings in progress.
Across from the shopping center will be the city’s long-anticipated five-screen Clearview Cinemas movie theater, which, according to Hoboken’s Director of Community Development Fred Bado, should be completed by the end of this year. The theater is being built by URSA development, a company that is also building residential projects in that area. Unlike some of URSA’s projects, the movie theater is not contingent upon any other city measures.
Currently, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reviewing an application for approval for the theater. Once approved, construction will immediately begin, added Bado.
As for the shopping center, Gorman was restricted by the Northwest Redevelopment Plan to build only commercial space. He said his reason for keeping the structure at one story was to ensure that customers had a place to park when they shopped in the area.
“The zoning board was willing to give me five stories. They envisioned upstairs doctors’ and dentists’ offices, karate rooms, but then the parking lot becomes filled with people who work in those offices and there isn’t any place to park for customers,” said Gorman. “We’re trying to bring a balance to the community up here, offering residents a variety of vendors that aren’t here and at the same time giving them the convenience of a parking lot.”
As attractive as the Hoboken real estate market is to developers, with its close proximity to New York City, several residents in the city’s Northwest area said they’ve been neglected when it comes to infrastructure improvements and maintenance.
“The streets are absolutely awful; they’re almost undrivable in this area,” said Keith Furman, who moved to Hoboken nine year ago and relocated to the 5th Ward last year.
Although Furman acknowledged that in the immediate area where he lives the city has repaved several of the roads, he said, “as a whole, [the city] needs to pay a lot more attention to its roads. You see potholes all over.”
Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham agreed to a large extent with his constituents’ concerns. “Between the flooding and the potholes, when it rains there’s no way to tell just how deep a pothole is until it’s too late,” he said.
Cunningham said that although the northwest currently lacks the density when compared with the southern edge of town, its population is rapidly growing due to the new developments and “not enough is being down by the developers to assist the city with infrastructure improvements.”
In response, Mayor David Roberts said the city is currently attempting to secure $480,000 from the state transportation department to fix its roads. According to Roberts, “Hoboken is sustaining an incredible amount of traffic due to the fact that commercial traffic is not permitted to go through the Holland Tunnel, which in turn ruins some of our roads.”
Roberts added that some of the city’s worst roads have already been earmarked for repair in 2008.
According to Hoboken’s Director of Environmental Services Joseph Peluso, approximately $400,000 in funds will be used to repair various streets around town this year, including: Fourth Street from Hudson to Garden streets and from Jackson to Harrison streets; Sixth Street from Hudson to Bloomfield streets; Garden Street from Willow Avenue to Sixth Street; 13th Street from Willow Avenue to Clinton Street; Jefferson Street from Third to Seventh streets, and Garden Street from Newark to Fourth Street.
Approximately $1.2 million was spent last year on road repair around Hoboken, of which $450,000 came from the state, while the remainder was paid for by Hoboken taxpayers. According to Peluso, the city has already spent $1.5 million in the Northwest alone in recent years, milling and paving streets, adding that where there are needs for improvement, it is generally near a development that is still underway and the surrounding streets will be completed by the developer itself.
Michael Mullins can be reached email@example.com.