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  • Terry Pranses

October 20th Meeting -- Crucial "CVS plus" Downtown Site to be developed

There is a very large, undeveloped or arguably “under” developed site of real estate downtown. This is being called “the CVS site”, but with 3 CVS stores here, it’s best to note this is the downtown, Washington Street site. And CVS is just a part of it.

The site extends south from the CVS (at Washington and Newark Streets), includes the former Barnes & Noble and/or Office Depot building, and a very large parking lot, extending south to Observer Highway and east to Hudson Street.


Many we know did not see the original invite within a City of Hoboken Nixle. It was not the top item in a multi-item note to subscribers.


The above large, downtown site is about to be redeveloped. The meeting (initial, or the only one?) is Thursday, October 20, from 4 to 6 PM. It’s apparently outside, which is safer given ongoing Covid concerns, but may require some bundling up!


There is both an in-person (but safer) outdoor discussion/preview type of session planned for just outside the 59 Washington St. CVS location.


Here's that part of the notice:


Provide input on a Redevelopment Plan for the Washington Street CVS Property The City of Hoboken will host a public outreach session for the creation of a Redevelopment Plan for the Washington Street CVS property and surface parking areas (Washington-Observer Gateway Redevelopment Plan) on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Newark Street Plaza located in front of the CVS Pharmacy Building (70 Hudson St.) near the intersection of Washington Street and Newark Street. The community is invited to stop by anytime between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to learn more about the potential development concepts and provide feedback on their preferred design features and redevelopment scenarios for the Rehabilitation Area. On May 20, 2020, the Hoboken City Council designated the area (which includes Block 210, Lots 1-16 and Block 210.01, Lots 26-29, the entire alley way between blocks 210 and 210.01, and adjacent rights-of-way of Washington Street, Newark Street, Hudson Street and Observer Highway) as an “Area in Need of Rehabilitation.” The L-shaped Rehabilitation Area is comprised of the building currently operating as a CVS Pharmacy and the adjacent parking lots, and does not include the buildings on the block fronting Hudson Street (Starbucks, Green Rock Tap & Grill, etc.) For more information, go to hobokennj.gov/WOGRedevelopmentPlan.


Planning aspects the community might want to consider and ask about:


• Scale -- How does it compare to heights nearby, NOT in the Rail Yards, e.g., those across Washington St, along Newark, along lower Hudson, City Hall itself? Some of us previewed, during the Zimmer Administration, a plan that tried in part to mirror the heights allowed within the special Hoboken Yards district.


An obvious sub-question: will the developer(s) and/or City keep pointing to the "Hoboken Connect", formerly "Yards" approved large office structure of Site One and now residential Site Two (going to 280') to justify overly-large buildings in this separate zone, too? Will the suggested ideas be subject to a shadow study, or simply approved "as is"?


• Architectural/historic compatibility -- how does it fit with the context of the downtown portion of the Hoboken Historic District which includes many of the adjacent buildings? The area includes those of particular merit suggested by the State's Office of Historic Preservation as worthy of designation, the office structure originally known as The Terminal Building of 68-70 Hudson St. and the one-time Hudson Trust Building of 80-84 Hudson, known to many for its Starbucks location on the Newark St. corner.


• Green space -- is there a donut and/or some mini-parks? What % of the lot will be open space? Is the coverage permeable?


• Traffic -- particularly automotive, but acknowledging heavy pedestrian, bike and other modes close to Hoboken Terminal. Although Covid put a big dent in commuting, numbers have gone up significantly this fall.


There's a great deal of all transportation modes nearby. If more cars are attracted, what happens to them? Meanwhile a large number of parking spaces will disappear with the southern-most, roughly 1/2 of the block presumably going from a surface lot to being built up.


• Flooding and Infrastructure -- how well has the plan taken these crucial factors into consideration? It is outside of the Rebuild-By-Design barrier, so when a superstorm returns, how well will this design perform? Will it hurt or help the neighborhood in terms of flood mitigation?


There is a promised community survey on this front. The Department of Community Development has indicated it will be released after the initial public session, so that feedback can be based on the specifics shared Thursday.


Please share with your interested Hoboken friends and concerned neighbors.



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