Dear Resident,

I hope you’re enjoying the start of spring, despite yesterday’s snow! We’ve been busy here in City Hall working on important projects to improve the quality of life for residents, and I wanted to give you a quick update.

Union Dry Dock

As you may have heard, on Saturday, New Jersey Transit notified me in writing that it intended, once again to acquire the Union Dry Dock property to lease to New York Waterways for the purposes of a ferry refueling, repair and maintenance facility (without adding ferry service to Hoboken). NJ Transit scheduled an “emergency” meeting this Wednesday to vote to acquire this property and immediately lease it back to NY Waterways, which would prevent the City from acquiring the land for the purposes of an open, public park and walkway. This was a disappointing development, as I joined our community in successfully opposing this very same land grab over two months ago by NJ Transit.

Thankfully, after engaging in days of discussion with Governor Phil Murphy’s office and NJ Transit, our offices have reached an agreement to cancel tomorrow’s emergency meeting to vote on NJ Transit’s acquisition of Union Dry Dock. I am glad the meeting is being canceled, so our community will have an opportunity to find a use for the land through an open and public process. As has been the case from the very beginning, it is still my goal to provide our residents with a public waterfront park and I look forward to working with Governor Murphy, NJ Transit, and NY Waterways to make this a reality, while simultaneously finding a reasonable alternative for ferry refueling and maintenance. Already, a location in Bayonne is being considered and will be further explored.

To this end, I have agreed, at Governor Murphy’s request, to formally end eminent domain proceedings to buy the land, the latest in a series of good-faith efforts to find a compromise that works for all parties. Thank you to Governor Murphy for working with me to ensure an open and transparent process for all parties, including our residents.

Washington Street

I’m pleased to let you know that the milling and paving of Washington Street up to 5th Street is scheduled to begin next week, with more paving our our main commercial corridor to come in the coming months. The milling and paving was originally scheduled for this week, but the snow and rain pushed this timeline back to next week. Additionally, the new, modernized traffic lights with new pedestrian crossing signs, which will assist residents when crossing the street, will also be operational soon. The Council recently approved a timeline for the Washington Street project to be completed by the end of the summer. My administration, which receives updates from the contractors on a daily basis, will do everything possible to hold them accountable to this timeline. To sign up for updates on the Washington Street project, click here to visit the project website. 

New Hotel

Last year during the campaign, a major topic of concern was the height of the proposed hotel to be built at the site of the current downtown post office on River Street.  After taking office, my administration engaged in extensive discussions with the developer as an out of scale hotel over 10 stories taller than any of the surrounding buildings, as proposed last year, was not going to have my support. Thankfully, we were able to reduce the height of the hotel to a moderate 17 stories and approximately 60 feet shorter than initially proposed. The hotel will not be substantially taller than the surrounding buildings, but instead about the same height of the adjacent Wiley building and far shorter than the nearby W Hotel. On Tuesday, I introduced this new hotel plan to the public. It will include many benefits, including a banquet and convention space, $1.7 million in annual tax revenue, and good, quality jobs – all while keeping with the charm and character of our great City.

As always, I look forward to staying in touch in the weeks and months ahead.

Ravi S. Bhalla
Hoboken Mayor