Rummaging through the aisles at the Trader Joe’s in Edgewater, Weehawken resident George McDaniel was stocking up on organic apple blossoms and all-natural potato chips. His weekly six-mile trip will soon be unnecessary. The Hoboken City Council approved an agreement on Tuesday, April 26, the final step for the renowned chain store to open in his backyard.
“I pretty much buy all my stuff here,” McDaniel told a reporter while doing his shopping at the Edgewater location this past Wednesday. “I love the barley products and baked goods. It’s healthy food at reasonable prices.”
He added, “I know parking in Hoboken isn’t always so good so I’ll be curious to see how that plays out, but I’m definitely planning to check it out.”
The store is planned for the ground floor of the 140-unit Advance Realty luxury residential development at Willow Avenue and 14th Street at the foot of the Viaduct. The development is currently uninhabited and is in the latter stages of construction.
The Edgewater location, which Hoboken’s will emulate, has wooden floors and counters. Ninety-nine cent reusable bags hang on poles throughout the sales floor and each register has signage named after a local street – some at the Edgewater location being River Road, Bergenline Avenue, and Boulevard East.
“We really really really want Trader Joe’s here.” – Jeff Aris
The Hoboken Trader Joe’s, which would be Hudson County’s first, would mean the loss of 24 street parking spaces to accommodate the grocer’s truck deliveries.
The Hoboken council unanimously passed the resolution (9-0 with Councilman-at-large Dave Mello on the phone).
24 street spots for more indoor
The luxury development, initially approved in 2009, will also have 366 parking spaces in a four-floor parking garage (82 for retail and 284 transient spots).
The first floor of the garage will be for retail. The transient spots are for the public and visitors at monthly rates.
Sources close to the project said the number of parking spaces in the development’s garage will trump the loss of on-street spots.
The agreement between the city of Hoboken and Advance Realty, which will only pertain to Trader Joe’s, removes all of the public parking spots on the east side of Clinton Street and some on the west side.
Delivery trucks would head down Willow Avenue and turn onto 13th Street before immediately turning onto Clinton Street and entering a parking bay abutting Clinton Street.
Trader Joe’s is the only commercial tenant coming to that building, representatives of Advance Realty said at the meeting.
In total, 24 parking spots will disappear, but most speakers at the meeting said it was worth it.
“I’m so happy Trader Joe’s is finally here,” said resident Chris Adair, who is originally from California where Trader Joe’s is based. “I was really concerned that there was going to be this kerfuffle about losing parking spaces, and I’m glad to here at least so far that there really hasn’t been.”
Later in the meeting, Jeff Piemont, a northeast resident, said he fears large 18-wheeler truck deliveries going down the “already narrow Clinton Street.”
“We really really really want Trader Joe’s here,” said another resident Jeff Aris, attending his first council meeting. “Trader Joe’s is one of the most beloved merchants in America because it brings organic natural food at an affordable price. They’re bringing tax revenue…but most importantly they’re bringing jobs.”
The store comes to the northwest area of town, which was once industrial. But it’s rapidly being developed with luxury low-rise residential buildings, restaurants, and a community theater.
Butting heads on bump-outs
The only moment of contention at the meeting regarded the use of curb bump-outs (extensions of the sidewalk that can be made from various materials) on the streets where the 18-wheeler Trader Joe’s trucks would cross.
One such debate concerned whether a bump-out should protrude at the corner of 13th and Clinton Street.
Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher said the engineer drawings depicted the trucks driving over the bump-outs, which would be a concern if they were gravel bump-outs.
“[If that’s the case], we should just have a regular curb and not ever give anyone the impression that they can go out into that graveled area,” Fisher said at the meeting.
“I think that’s the major concern is especially because the senior building is right there,” said Councilman Michael Russo, in agreement.
Council President Jen Giattino said she felt the bump-outs were beneficial since they deter truckers from making a fast turn.
Ultimately, a covenant was reached between Advance Realty and the municipal board.
A painted bump-out (not physical curb bump-out) was approved under the condition that city engineers have two years from Trader Joe’s first delivery to make safety updates to 13th Street at the intersections of Clinton and Willow avenues on Advance Realty’s dime, as long as the city provides sufficient evidence for them.
“There are always positives and negatives [to] everything,” said Brian Angelson before the meeting referring to the loss of the parking. The Hoboken resident said he tends to do his shopping at ShopRite and Kings, but Trader Joe’s offers an exciting alternative.
“They have great organic product at affordable prices and I can’t wait,” he added.
Steven Rodas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.