It seems the City of Hoboken may have missed the boat on their plans for purchasing Union Dry Dock, as it has been revealed that company connected to NY Waterway has already bought the property for $11.5 million, with the intention of using it for a ferry dock and repair station.
Since 2000, 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— has been for sale.
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. And in 2012, New Jersey Transit considered obtaining the land for NY Waterway’s ferry maintenance and refueling.
This past June, Fund for a Better Waterfront began an initiative to purchase the property. The City of Hoboken then reached out to discuss a possible purchase of the land. Following the meeting, Union Dry Dock sent a letter stating that it is not legally able to discuss a sale of the property to the City of Hoboken at this time.
The City Council then considered exercising eminent domain to acquire the property.
On October 5, hMAG reached out to counsel representing NY Waterway, asking if the if the ferry operator had in fact purchased Union Dry Dock. “We are unable to answer that at this time,” was the answer we were given.
In a press release today, the City said that it, “was just advised by NY Waterway that a subsidiary of NY Waterway had acquired Union Dry Dock for $11.5 million with the intention of using the property as a repair facility for its ferry fleet.”
The City Council will meet on Monday, November 13 to discuss the authorization of eminent domain.
“Now more than ever, the City needs all the tools available to be in the strongest position to negotiate in the best interest of our residents,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
Meanwhile, the is seeking to acquire Block 10, Lots 1-7 and 30-36 for the expansion of the Southwest Resiliency Park for open space and stormwater management. The Council will discuss the appraisal of that property on Monday as well.