Plan to expand Post 107 for six homeless vets approved
With final approval from the City Council on Wednesday evening, March 16, Hoboken’s American Legion Post 107 can now expand its Second Street headquarters to house six homeless veterans.
The plan will transform the meeting hall (at 308 Second St.) from its current garage-esque layout into a five-story 900 square-foot structure.
“Unfortunately we’re only taking six veterans off the streets. If only we could do more, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Commander of Post 107 John Carey told The Hoboken Reporter.
In all, Carey said construction will take between a year and 18 months to finish.
Carey celebrated his birthday on the very same day the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved variances for the project earlier this week on March 15, which he called “a great birthday present.”
Amenities that would be part of the project include a kitchen, meeting rooms on the first and second floors and a laundry facility on floors three, four, and five.
American Legion Post 107 was chartered in 1920. The Hoboken chapter has been at their current meeting hall on Second Street since 1995. Prior to that they were headquartered at an old church at 13th Street and Willow Avenue, Carey said. The meeting hall will continue to hold meetings after construction.
With the passing of the resolution this week, the city has agreed to take 18 feet worth of land next to the hall, which provides spaces for municipal parking, and use part of it to expand the building. Three of the fifteen parking spots would disappear.
“The administration has been great working with us,” said Carey.
Plans to upgrade Post 107, which was nearly destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, was made possible by Monarch Housing, the Hoboken Homeless Shelter, and the City of Hoboken, which provided six housing vouchers for homeless veterans in 2013.
Carey, who noted that the six vouchers limited how many units they could add, said Post 107 may expand the building more in the future.
Councilmembers and Zoning Board of Adjustment commissioners have all been in support of the project.
Phil Cohen, a commissioner on the Zoning Board, said in his six years on the board he hasn’t seen an application like this.
“I think it’s unique in that it addresses a major need in our society,” he told the Reporter.“That need is to find housing for homeless veterans, who served our country and made extraordinary sacrifices. It’s shameful that there are thousands of veterans in New Jersey that are homeless.”
Carey could not say exactly how many homeless veterans are in Hoboken, but confirmed that there are over 30 in Hudson County (a reduction from recent years).
Mayor will run for third term
Touting contributions to Hoboken during her tenure, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer told the Hoboken Reporter on Wednesday, March 16 that she will seek a third term in office, after mentioning it in a local podcast.
“It’s something I’m definitely planning on doing, although I haven’t officially launched a campaign,” said Zimmer, who was elected as the first female mayor of Hoboken in 2009. “I’ll be running on my record.”
That record, she elaborated, includes helping to boost the city’s bond rating in order to reach financial feasibility to seek improvements to the city.
The mayoral election will be held in 2017. Three Hoboken council-at-large seats will also be up for grabs.
Zimmer says she wants to see major projects through — such as opening three flood resiliency parks and completing the Rebuild by Design anti-flooding efforts.
“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and definitely want to keep city moving in the right direction,” Zimmer added.
Zimmer served as a councilwoman after becoming involved in civic life as an advocate for park space.
Other rumored mayoral contenders are 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos and Freeholder Anthony Romano.
Zoning Board to consider Stevens garage expansion
The final approval for phasing to construct Stevens Institute of Technology’s new 436-space garage – an expansion of the existing Babbio Garage near Sinatra Drive facing the waterfront – will be up for final vote on the March 22 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting.
The garage, which will take two phases to complete, would offer the additional 296 spaces to students, staff, faculty, and campus visitors, thus alleviating spots taken up by those groups and by visitors in the surrounding area.
“We’ve had meetings with the community throughout this extensive process, and parking is a really critical issue, so [Stevens has] been and remains eager to get increased parking inventory completed and online,” said the Director of Community and State Relations Beth McGrath in an interview on Thursday.
Shovels hit the ground for the Babbio Center in the winter of 2002-2003 after Stevens received zoning board approval. Although the Babbio Center was complete in fall 2005, the garage portion was stalled shortly afterward due to legal problems. The school did finish 144 of the parking spots. After receiving preliminary approval for the newer version of the project in 2009, Stevens filed an application with the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustment last September to build the first phase of the expanded garage.
If approved next week, the first phase of the garage will be complete by the first half of 2017 – the same year the school plans to have the Academic Gateway Complex on Hudson Street completed, officials said. Stevens received approval for the two-building complex on Hudson Street late last year (a skybridge as part of the project still needs to come before the City Council for an easement approval).
The school doesn’t plan to make the parking spots available to Hoboken residents, although the Zoning Board can make some contingent upon approval.
The first phase of the project will cost approximately $12 million and the school will finance the cost by issuing bonds, said Robert Maffia, vice president for facilities and campus operations. The second phase of the project, which has not been drawn out yet, will consist of a “wraparound” building on the garage made to blend with the abutting waterfront, thus eliminating the temporary façade.
Currently, there is projected to be an approximate five-year gap between the project’s two phases. School officials said the reason they decided to pursue the garage now is in order for it to be complete alongside the new Academic Complex.
Local real estate agents to make TV debut
Hoboken’s own Chris Katz and Paul Fried of local real estate company White Stone Properties will make their television debut on “First Time Flippers” next week.
The show, which you can find on the DIY Network, challenges a team of two to turn a “disaster house” into a “dream home.”
Fried said he and Katz chose a four-bedroom house in Ocean, N.J. and transformed it “like you won’t believe.” The episode will premiere on Saturday, March 26 at 9 p.m.
‘Pay-by-plate’ meter system starts Monday
Under a new meter system launching this upcoming Monday, you won’t have to saunter back to your car anymore after you’ve already spent a great deal of time looking for a parking spot. Instead, you can input your license plate number into the machines starting with certain meters on March 21.
Since late last year the meters have been testing the electronic pay-by-plate system.
“In the months ahead, the new payment system will also allow customers the ability to ‘pay-by-phone’ using a mobile application,” the city said in an announcement. “Through ‘pay-by-phone,’ customers will be able to pay for parking without going to a meter and add time to the meter directly from a mobile phone application or by calling without returning to the meter.”
Parking Enforcement Officers will be stationed at meters to educate drivers on the use of the meters. Although the system will only launch on Monday with meters located at Hudson Place, it will expand to the rest of the city in the coming weeks.
Real estate leaders to meet in Jersey City for real estate summit
On April 14 and 15, top real estate industry leaders will come together at The Westin Jersey City in Newport as panelists, moderators and keynote speakers, to discuss and educate on current and contemporary issues in the real estate market.
The 1st Annual New Jersey Real Estate Summit, presented jointly by Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty and the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), commences two days of networking, breakout sessions, and opportunities relating to the trends in the US housing markets and, particularly, the influx of Asian capital.
Speakers at the NJRE Summit are scheduled to include Philip White, CEO & president of Sotheby’s International Realty, Mitchell E. Rudin, CEO of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of NAR, Sherry Chris, CEO and president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC, and Steve Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City amongst many others.
“The 2016 New Jersey Real Estate Summit in Jersey City is bringing together some of the sharpest and most influential minds in our industry,” said Charles Oppler, COO and owner of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty.
The NJRE Summit will offer a portfolio of topics to be discussed, including the “Role of China in US Real Estate,” “Secrets of Top Producers,” “ Foreign Buyer Financing and Tax Solutions” and “What Asian Investors are Looking For,” among many others.
For further information and event registration visit: www.njresummit.com or www.areaa.org
Chabad announces two upcoming events
Chabad of Hoboken’s annual grand international Purim Party will be held Thursday, March 24 at The Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand St., Hoboken. Doors open at 5 p.m.
This year’s theme, “Celebrating Purim in Winter’s Wonderland,” will feature a buffet dinner and winter decor. Great entertainment is planned for all ages, including cheek art, balloon shaping, a photo booth, magic, a bar for adults, and more. All are welcome to join regardless of affiliation or background.
Chabad Young Professionals will also host an exclusive party for young Jewish Professionals on Wednesday night, March 24 at the W Hotel. For more information and to RSVP for either of these programs, check out the website: www.JewishHoboken.com or call (201) 386-5222.
Frank Sinatra Jr. dies at age 72
Francis Wayne Sinatra, known professionally as Frank Sinatra Jr. (son of Hoboken’s Ol’ Blue Eyes) died on Wednesday, March 16 of cardiac arrest, the family website announced.
“The Sinatra family mourn the untimely passing of their son, brother, father, uncle, Frank Sinatra Jr. of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona, Florida,” a statement from the family posted online reads.
Details have not been disclosed by the family, media outlets report.
Sinatra Jr. was born in January 1944 to Sinatra and Nancy Barbato Sinatra (Sinatra Sr.’s first wife) in Jersey City. He followed his father’s footsteps into show business but never quite achieved his father’s level of fame.
Learned on the piano and violin from as young as five, Sinatra Jr. made his own way in the world without leaning on his father’s connections. For a time in the 1960s he hit the road with some of the surviving members of the Tommy Dorsey Band. He released his first record album of standards called Young Love for Sale in 1965, backed by The Sam Donahue Orchestra. He released several singles in 1967 that were admired critically, but largely overlooked by the general public. He toured ceaselessly, and by 1968 had performed in nearly every state and more than 40 countries.
Spurring headlines in 1963, at age 19 Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe and held for ransom. Days later his family paid a $240,000 ransom and he was released near his mother’s Bel Air home.
Sinatra Sr. died of a heart attack in 1998 at age 82. Sinatra Jr. is survived by his son, Michael.
Scams you should keep an eye out for
Hoboken Sergeant Edgardo Cruz says residents should keep their eyes peeled for a number of recently reported scams.
In a press release, the department says one such incident is strangers making their way into opened apartments.
“This is why it is very important to secure your homes as best as possible,” said Cruz in a statement sent via email. “Do not announce vacation plans on social media or leave packages out for an extended period of times. This let’s outsiders know that there may not be anyone home.”
Cruz added that the department has also seen an uptick in incidents wherein callers say they are holding a relative hostage and threaten to kill them unless the victim wires money over. “Usually the caller would ask that the victim send the money to another country, in this case Puerto Rico,” an excerpt from the press release says. “If anyone receives a phone call such as this one, do not engage the caller. They will continuously keep you on the phone talking, hoping that fear sets in until the victim sends the money. Instead, hang up and immediately call your relative and confirm their whereabouts.”
A third incident locals need be aware of, according to the police department, concerns a site that offers care services for children, seniors and pets. According to Cruz, several reports have been made recently where victims receive a check connected in some way to the site, a check larger than agreed upon for the services.
“The sender of the check will ask the victim to deposit the check, keep the agreed amount and send the rest to a specific address,” Cruz says in the release. “Within a day or two, the check will not clear, leaving the victim without funds in the bank.”
Anyone in this situation should not deposit the check and instead send it back to the sender and terminate contact with them, the police department says. For help call 201-420-2100.