For transformative Hoboken Connect project, groundbreaking that was 15 years in making

Project at Hoboken’s historic train station will produce office and retail space, affordable housing and improvements to public infrastructure and surrounding streetscape

Worth the wait … of 15 years?

Those involved in what is now being called Hoboken Connect — a transformative project at Hoboken’s historic train station that will produce office and retail space, affordable housing, and improvements to public infrastructure and the surrounding streetscape — certainly feel that way.

The project, which had been in development since 2007 but was jump-started by Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration through cooperation among various partners, including New Jersey Transit, LCOR and the city of Hoboken, had a long-awaited groundbreaking Wednesday.

Murphy said it was a moment that will have great impact.

“Made possible by a combination of vision, tenacity and public-private synergy, the Hoboken Connect project will serve as a microcosm of all that my administration is determined to accomplish,” he said. “In addition to incorporating environmentally sustainable design features, this long-awaited development will also produce millions of dollars in revenue for both Hoboken and NJ Transit.

“Just as crucially, this game-changing project will connect New Jerseyans to economic opportunity through affordable housing, public and active transportation options, and thousands of good-paying jobs.”

Hoboken Connect is a multiphased initiative that consists of private and public components to be implemented in coordination over the coming five-plus years. When complete, the project will directly and indirectly support 15,290 permanent jobs and $234 million in tax revenue annually.

The city of Hoboken will see 4,433 jobs on site, with $9.6 million in annual retail spending and $4.5 million in annual revenue, while NJ Transit will benefit from ground lease payments, increased ridership and customer experience improvements. More than 9,800 construction jobs will be created.

Not bad for something that was first proposed when Gov. Jon Corzine was in office.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla sure feels that way.

“This project has been 15 years in the making, and I could not be more thrilled for it to come to fruition,” he said. “The city will reap the benefits of not only a rehabilitated transit hub, but much-needed infrastructure upgrades, affordable housing and retail space that will bring thousands of permanent jobs to the area.”

Here’s more on how it will go up.

The private phase includes a mixed-use residential building consisting of 389 apartment homes with 20% dedicated as affordable housing; a 20-story Class A office building with a rooftop terrace; 5,000 square feet of retail space; and related public open space investments, including additional pedestrian, vehicular and bicycle improvements.

Public investments will include construction of a new bus terminal on Hudson Place; significant rehabilitation of the first and second floors of the Ferry Terminal for publicly accessible commercial and exhibition space; the redevelopment of Warrington Plaza; and improvements to Hudson Place to support bicycle and pedestrian access to the transportation facilities.

Murphy and the Legislature committed $176 million during the Fiscal Year 2023 budget agreement to this project through the Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund. And all improvements will be made utilizing historic preservation guidelines where applicable.

New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said it’s an example of what stations can look like in the future — and how public and private partnerships can work now.

“Modernizing our transit infrastructure is a cornerstone of building sustainable communities that will pay dividends for generations to come,” she said. “This project is an example of how the public and private sectors can come together to make our cities more walkable and transit oriented as we continue to limit our impact on climate change.”

Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hoboken) was one of the many local officials who worked to get the project to the finish line.

“The groundbreaking today marks a historic day for Hudson County and the exciting future to come,” she said. “This project has something for everyone. Whether someone is visiting for the day, looking to travel or looking for an affordable place to live, they will be able to find what they need right here in Hoboken.

“I am grateful the groundbreaking is finally here, and I am excited to see how impactful the Hoboken Connect project will be for years to come.”

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City) agreed.

“This transformational redevelopment project is exactly the type of transit-oriented mixed-use development Hudson County needs in order to meet the climate change and housing affordability challenges we face, while creating thousands of union construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs,” he said.

“The improvements to our public transit infrastructure will also help Hoboken Terminal realize its potential as a world-class transit hub, and I am proud to have worked on the FY2023 budget and championed this appropriation to bring such an impressive project to fruition.”