Hoboken’s $11M deal: City gets acre of land; Academy Bus gets to add 25 residential units

Purchase of ‘Block 10’ will double size of Southwest Resiliency Park, settle lawsuit

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced Wednesday an agreement with Academy Bus to acquire an additional acre of land for $11 million — a purchase that will help the city double the size of the current Southwest Resiliency Park.

In addition to authorizing the land acquisition, the agreement also allows Academy the ability to add 25 residential units, which includes five units of affordable housing, to the existing permitted density on the property Academy owns adjacent to the Southwest Resiliency Park.

The permitted height and bulk of the residential property would not be increased as a part of the agreement. The city and Academy had previously been in litigation regarding the acquisition of the property, which would end with the amicable purchase price.

City officials said the city will acquire “Block 10” by utilizing various grants and the Hoboken Open Space Trust Fund. The purchase will have no impact on the 2021 municipal budget, they said.

“After many months of negotiating with Academy, I’m pleased we have come to an agreement that will finally double the size of our Southwest Resiliency Park,” Bhalla said. “This agreement not only paves the way to create more open space in our neighborhood, but also does so without trading massive residential density rights.

“I look forward to working with the community on the design of this park, while providing immediate benefits to the neighborhood with a pop-up park this summer.”

The temporary pop-up park, utilizing equipment from the previous Northwest pop-up park, would allow for activation of the space while the city conducts a community process to design the permanent Resiliency Park, Hoboken officials said.

The acquisition price of $11 million will be funded by $900,000 of grant funding from Hudson County’s Open Space Trust Fund, $1 million of grant funding from Green Acres and the balance from the Municipal Open Space Trust fund, which is money dedicated to the acquisition and development of open space in Hoboken.

The Hoboken City Council will vote on first reading of the bond ordinance totaling $8.1 million to acquire Block 10 at the city council meeting April 7. The city also will utilize a previously authorized $4.9 million bond ordinance for the acquisition cost, the design cost of the permanent Southwest Resiliency Park and associated soft costs.

Bhalla, Council President Ruben Ramos and the Office of Community Development will host a community meeting to solicit feedback from the community and discuss the acquisition of the property and potential uses of a pop-up park in the coming weeks.

Ramos said he’s pleased to be at the finish line.

“I’m extremely excited to add Block 10 for the expansion of the Southwest Resiliency Park,” he said. “It has been a long road, but the park will serve as the centerpiece for the continuing revitalization of Southwest Hoboken.

“We will be working to have the space available for use as a pop-up park for the summer and also working with the public as to what will be included in the final design.”