Amidst the sound and fury of the April 18 council meeting and the contentious diatribe, not dialogue, as to what is and is not affordable housing and who will actually subsidize Mr. Raia in his no-risk plan to garner 10 percent or so on his personal investment in the Northwest Redevelopment area, little attention was paid to the real message of the evening, accompanied by the exultation over the promise of more parking. Our inestimable leaders, less than three weeks before an election, have "authorized" the Parking Authority to purchase, at market price or some other undetermined figure, a site on Washington St. and Observer Highway, now a parking lot, so that a garage can be built. Did the HPA have such a project on its agenda or did the mayor and his campaign staff decide that this is a wonderful carrot to dangle before the hungry voters?
No one even whispered that the City already owns a larger site, four blocks west, with a small municipal garage and bare ground with a handful of police cars (derelict?) scattered around.
This is another puzzlement. Or is it a reprise of the now Hudson Park development, when the HPA and the Mayor and Council left vacant for a decade or more a key parcel needed to complete the block from Observer Highway to Newark Street and from Park Avenue to Garden Street, so that a massive apartment building could be built. In that convoluted series of transactions, the City sold real estate to the HPA for $2 million, which four years later, without doing anything with it, sold it to a developer at $1.8 million.
The municipal garage and surrounding property are appraised at a little under $6,000,000. Not only can that take care of a lot of budget plugging, it could once more increase the number of Luxury Residences dramatically.
This so-called plan is incredibly short-sighted. I haven't made a count of the number of vehicles served by the Washington Street lot, but however many, where will they go when the site is acquired and torn up for construction? Has any of the experts promoting the Stealth Highway made recommendations for the parking of the vehicles to be dispossessed to enable the through traffic? One other thing that has become evident is that those members of the Hoboken privileged who have keys to the charming city-owned lot on the corner of Willow Avenue and 11th Street, with its fence and neatly trimmed hedge, will not have to worry about a place to park their cars.
Candidate for Council