Artists rejoice as council approves Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan

HOBOKEN – After almost a decade of civic bouts to preserve the Neumann Leathers Building in the south end of town, the Hoboken City Council voted on Wednesday, Dec. 16 on a plan to keep the property’s unique set of artists and industrial workers, while working to rehabilitate the old factory.
The plan passed on an 8-0-1 vote with Councilman David Mello, who was phoning in, abstaining.
A group of fretful tenants formed a coalition a decade ago in response to the then owner of the Neumann Leathers Building’s intent to demolish the old factory to construct two mixed-use buildings. Tenants of the complex, mostly artists and industrial workers, including those of that group, the Neumann Leathers Tenant’s Association (NLTA), later fought efforts by Trammel Crow Residential in 2008, to replace the structure with a five-story residential building.
“This project is a modest proposal. It keeps virtually all of the buildings there…. we will keep the arts and industry in Hoboken, that’s a major benefit,” said NLTA co-chair Tom Newman at the meeting.
Peter Martinez of Jersey City, who opened The Drum Den in the Neumann Leathers Building in 2010, said he supports the plan.
“I’m here today in support of the project here,” he said at the meeting. “We’re all very happy to see this move forward.”
The City Council already voted in 2014 to re-qualify the area as “in need of rehabilitation” after it realized that the initial 2011 designation misstated the appropriate state statute. Per the Planning Board’s recent input last month, the plan now includes a new complete street and design standards, add the city’s new way finding signage guidelines to the plan, provisions of indoor bike parking, and bike and car share spaces for the respective programs.
Some expressed concerns over the potential height of one of the proposed buildings at the site, which may be over 10 stories. The plan allows for as many as 210 units, 10 percent affordable housing and 20 units of workforce level housing.
Still, during the meeting 3rd ward Councilman Michael Russo and outgoing 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti said that many of the measures put into the plan are there to for economic feasibility purposes. The plan is designed to make the structure attractive to prospective developers who otherwise may not be interested, which would ostensibly reintroduce the possibility to the building’s demolition.
Redevelopment special counsel Joseph Maraziti said during the meeting that although the plan has been approved, the city must still “undertake negotiations with prospective redevelopers.” A resolution to grant a redeveloper permission to work on the sight, with an accompanying final plan, would be decided at a later council meeting.
Read a full story on the future of Neumann Leathers this weekend at

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