Did we get all fired up for nothing?
On Wednesday, hMAG ran a story citing Councilman Mike DeFusco‘s social media statement on a potential Shake Shack here in Hoboken. hMAG sought transcripts for the Zoning Board proceedings, but were informed by the board’s secretary that they would not be available until next week.
Zoning board member Phil Cohen took to Facebook to say:
“Well I thought that bringing a Shake Shack to Washington Street in a beautiful, modern building that would replace the unsightly surface parking lot next to Walgreen’s was an exciting opportunity for Hoboken and its business district, but unfortunately the majority of my colleagues on the zoning board didn’t see it that way and denied the application.”
hMAG reached out to Cohen to determine whether or not Shake Shack was directly involved, and he said, “That’s what was represented to us at the hearing. We were told there is little commercial space of the size that this project offered that would make sense for a business like this. Getting to build out a new space is also very attractive according to the professionals we heard.”
However, Shake Shack released this statement via twitter earlier today…
@hMAG @CityofHoboken @mike_defusco @JerseyDigs @HobokenGirlBlog @TotallyHoboken @HobokenInc @hobokenmenus @dontsithome @HudsonCoView @Gothamist Hey Hoboken, no plans for this site or any other just yet, but we’re thankful for the support and hope to see ya soon!
— SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) April 21, 2017
On the surface, this contradicts Councilman DeFusco’s statements:
However, hMAG‘s telephone conversation this morning with architect John Nastasi indicates that the building plan is being altered with the hopes of moving forward. Nastasi has also posted the following on social media:
“As much as I can say, (and I can’t say too much due to the sensitive nature of contract negotiations – which are way above my pay grade), the owners have been in a preliminary contractual agreement with Shake Shack (as much as you can prior to City Approvals). It was my decision (with the Owner’s approval) to go public with their signage on my renderings as part of the zoning board application. Now that we are going back to the drawing board to reconfigure the project and produce design revisions, we will obviously have to rethink the economics of the project accordingly – based on the revised project metrics – before we can re-engage Shake Shack.”
Meanwhile DeFusco issued the following statement… ironically via his Twitter feed:
@ChangeHoboken @dawnzimmernj @hMAG @HobokenGirlBlog @dontsithome @HobokenLifeCo @HobokenPatch @Hoboken411 @HoboHappyHours @hudson_reporter @njdotcom @hobokenurbanist Applicant testified under oath to the ZBA. We should work off the facts that are legally presented, not off twitter feeds.
— Michael DeFusco (@mike_defusco) April 21, 2017
So is Shake Shack coming, or isn’t it??? Looks like we’ll have to wait and see.
What is for certain is that there is ongoing debate over a mixed-use building at 107-111 Washington Street.
But if that building should happen to house a Shake Shack, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has indicated that she’d be open to it:
I think Shake Shack would be a great addition to Hoboken! Not sure of ZBA’s concerns but hope amended application could resolve the issues.
— Dawn Zimmer (@dawnzimmernj) April 20, 2017