The dock yard brawl continues here in Hoboken, as Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla has called for a special meeting of the Hoboken City Council this Wednesday, February 28 to consider authorizing the acquisition of the former Union Dry Dock property
Hoboken had weighed the option of exercising eminent domain to purchase the the 3.15-acre parcel of land known as Union Dry Dock & Repair Company—the last functioning maritime business on Hoboken’s once-bustling working waterfront, located on Sinatra Drive, between the Skate Park and Maxwell Park.
That fight escalated in November, when it was announced that NY Waterway had purchased the property. NJ Transit subsequently advised the City that it would be entering into an agreement with NY Waterway for the option to purchase the property and leasing it to NY Waterway as a repair station for its ferry fleet.
NJ Transit then backed off its plans to purchase the property. Nevertheless, just last week NY Waterway reached out to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permission to continue with its plans to use the location.
Hoboken wants the land for the purpose of completing the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway within Hoboken and for public open space and recreation.
“Our community’s decades-long vision for a continuous, public waterfront park is finally within reach,” said Mayor Bhalla. “I thank all of the elected officials and advocates who have put so much time and energy into protecting our waterfront and look forward to completing the transformation of our formerly industrial waterfront into a world-class park system.”
Union Dry Dock opened in 1908 in Weehawken (even serving as a setting for a music video by the band Blondie in 1979). The company bought the Hoboken property in 1976, moving operations there in the 1980s. Previous efforts to sell the land have fallen through. In 2001, the Stevens Institute of Technology planned to construct a soccer field on the site. In 2005, there was a $15 million contract for the property, but the buyer backed out. In 2009, a developer hoped to build residential towers on the land, but local zoning didn’t permit it.
This past June, Fund for a Better Waterfront began an initiative to acquire the property.
According to a press release, the City of Hoboken’s appraiser has valued the property at $11,630,000. The meeting will begin at 6:30pm in City Council chambers.
UPDATE: we previously reported that it was a closed session, based on this information in the press release:
“The meeting will begin with a closed session at 6:30pm in City Council chambers.”
The City has advised us that, “It’s an open public meeting on Wednesday. It begins with a closed session. Like the majority of council meetings.”