Hoboken Municipal Garage Sale

Developer files lawsuit saying Hoboken improperly claimed it breached contract for sale of municipal garage, and that it was ready to pay price agreed upon

In August, the [Hoboken] City Council voted to kill the sale of the municipal garage on Observer Highway to S. Hekemian Group, stating the developer was in breach of contract for attempting to lower the price.

But now the developer says it was actually prepared to buy the property for the original $25.5 million.

SHG is also accusing the city of having "engaged in a charade," said the developer's attorney Doug Cohen.

"Their allegation that we were in breach was really a pretext to the fact that they were in breach," said Cohen. "They tried to fire the first shot."

Hoboken has 3 choices for a state monitor -- Really???

Former Local Finance Board official Judy Tripodi appears to be the DCA's choice for Hoboken"s monitor.

The state was supposed to give Hoboken three candidates to choose from for the "monitor" who will be overseeing the city's finances as part of the city's punishment of state "supervision" imposed after Hoboken failed to pass a budget.

And the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs did give Hoboken three choices, one who would charge $130,000 a year and two that would charge $500,000 a year. Hmm, I wonder who the DCA is backing?

Tremetiedi sees only massive MONEY, not massive building

I am writing in response to Richard Tremitiedi's letter which appeared here on February 10. He summarized the controversial history of the Municipal Garage. He bemoaned that the City has opened itself to another lawsuit and has "left $4.6 million on the table" in its recent selection of a Garage site developer.

I agree at least with the early assessment in his letter. In 2005, it would be generous to describe the City's deficit-plugging sale and lease back of the garage as merely short-sighted. The resulting $120,000/month interest payment (for the past 18 months) is a testament to the wisdom of that decision. Beyond this, I cannot agree with Mr. Tremitiedi.

Garage sale/lawsuit-a costly lesson

Now, the City of Hoboken is faced with another lawsuit that will result in costly legal expenses. The Observer Highway repair garage has been a financial nightmare for the taxpayer. In 2005, it was sold to the Hudson County Improvement Authority to plug a $7.9 mil budget gap or shortfall. Around July 1, 2006, the council voted to borrow $15 mil to pay off the HCIA. All this time we have to pay interest to keep this site operating and the current cost is approximately $120,000 per month. We have yet to select a replacement location.

Not so fast! Developer and resident file joint lawsuit against city over sale of municipal garage

At the December 13, 2007 Hoboken City Council meeting, Hani Ahmed warned that the Hoboken Municipal Garage deal would be challenged in court.

During a meeting last August, Developer Michael Kasparian, the owner of MDK Development, which previously placed two bids to purchase the city’s Municipal Garage site last year, questioned the city’s planning consultant Gordon Litwin over why earlier bids were disregarded by the city. MDK filed a lawsuit against the city earlier this week in which it alleges the city’s actions in the bidding process to be in violation of the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.

THE GARAGE – Hoboken’s Municipal Garage, at the corner of Willow Avenue and Observer Highway, is costing the city $102,000 every month to lease, and if the current agreement survives the lawsuit, will one day be home to a 12-story, 240-unit residential complex.  
Just over a month after a divided City Council designated a developer to build housing on the Public Works Garage Site on Observer Highway, a competing developer and a Hoboken resident filed a joint lawsuit challenging the city's bidding process and choice of developer.

Developer MDK Development LLC, which bid $5 million more than the winning bidder for the site, is asking the Superior Court of New Jersey to order Hoboken to undertake a new RFP (Request for Proposals) process and force the city to return any bid security it has received from the chosen developer.

Hoboken's Municipal Garage deal worth $34 million

I'm pleased to say the protracted effort to sell the Hoboken Municipal Garage is finally moving forward, with many benefits ahead for the city and its residents.

As the second ward representative on the council you have entrusted me with your hard earned tax dollars. I take this responsibility very seriously and say clearly that the offer accepted by the council last week is by all measure the best deal for the City of Hoboken. My council colleagues and I accepted a bid that balanced the wants of the neighborhood with the needs of the city.

It's Sold - 12- and 8-story buildings will replace Observer Highway Garage

(Click image to hear HANY AHMED's comments to the Hoboken City Council regarding the garage sale)

If all goes as planned, Hoboken residents will soon become accustomed to a new, 8- to 12-story residential complex stretching from Newark Street to Observer Highway as a result of the council’s decision to approve the sale of the Municipal Public Works Garage during Thursday evening’s special session.  

After five years of discussions and setbacks, the City Council finally approved a resolution Thursday night to accept a $25.5 million bid for the city's 1.1-acre Observer Highway Public Works Garage.

In return, a developer will be allowed to build a 240-unit residential structure that will rise to eight stories along Newark Street and 12 stories along Observer Highway.

Observer Hwy bldg can rise 9 stories, not 12. Council votes against bigger maximum on old garage property

The Hoboken City Council voted down an ordinance Wednesday night that would have raised the allowable height for development at the city's municipal garage property on Observer Highway from nine to 12 stories.

But Mayor David Roberts said that raising the maximum would allow the city to sell the land for more money and use that money to buy park space elsewhere.

HOBOKEN BUDGET DEAL FAST, QUIET - Journal story spurs state officials to question city plan

HOBOKEN - Officials at the state Department of Community Affairs pressed city officials about a $5 million revenue source for its 2006 budget after reading a story in Friday's edition of The Jersey Journal.

On Wednesday, the City' Council approved an ordinance nance to allow a paper corporation, NWF Leasing Corp, to take over a sale/leaseback agreement from the Hudson County Improvement Authority by borrowing $15 million from North Fork Bank, allowing the city to plug a $5 million budget shortfall.

The arrangement stands to cost the city an additional $600,000 to $700,000 a year in added interest and administrative costs.

Muni Garage plan is sound, serving the needs of all in the city

As Chairman of the Observer Highway Redevelopment Advisory Committee, I would like to respond to last week's inaccurate letter by Hank Forrest.

Work on a plan for the Municipal Garage was not done in a "short time frame" as Mr. Forrest states. It began in April 2005 when the City Council proposed the creation of the OHRA Committee, later appointed by Mayor Roberts. The Mayor identified PPSA as the planning firm he wanted for the project -- the same firm Mr. Forrest often compliments for their work on the Master Plan.

Council rejects bids for garage. Now $5mil budget hole presents problem again

In the mad dash to plug a $5 million budget gap by June 30, a divided Hoboken City Council was left in a precarious position Wednesday night.

On the table were two bids from development groups that want to buy the city's municipal garage on Observer Highway and build high-end condos.

The council's lawyers deemed both of the bids - for $22.1 million and $18 million respectively - deficient. Yet, there were those on the council that wanted to approve the high bid as a way to instantly shore up the city's budget and reap a cash windfall.

Latest chapter in saga of fiscal irresponsibility comes to a close

Last night the Hoboken City Council closed the latest chapter in its saga of fiscal irresponsibility. The chapter started, as you may recall, last July 1 at the beginning of the fiscal year.

As the city overspent during the prior fiscal year they had to borrow $7.9 million and place a lien on the Observer Highway municipal garage. The garage land would eventually be sold to repay the loan. This started a dual process. On one hand the City Administration promised to create a realistic budget, which seemed possible since there are lots of new ratables (Condos) in town.

Hoboken's finance tricks backfire

If the past decade of real estate sales is any indication, what hotter place is there than Hoboken to acquire property and then develop it for a small fortune?

This must have been on the minds of city officials when they decided to buy the garage back from the Hudson County Improvement Authority and then sell it to a developer at a substantial profit to fill a $5 million budget shortfall in the 2006 municipal budget.

Compromise plan pitched for Municipal Garage. Council, community advisory committee propose 240-units, nine stories

The Hoboken City Council has unveiled its redevelopment plan for the Municipal Garage on Observer Highway. The proposed plan includes zoning for 240 units of housing that could rise nine stories on Observer Highway. The buildings would get lower and lower as they move toward Newark Street.

The property has been the center of controversy since the city announced that it wanted to sell the property in order to fill a budget gap and generate revenue.

City votes for Municipal Garage redevelopment. Budget depends on $5M from sale, debate over what to build begins

The Hoboken City Council unanimously voted Monday night to place the city's Municipal Garage on Observer Highway into a new redevelopment zone.

This will allow the council, which also serves as the city's redevelopment authority, to sell the property to a redeveloper for a sizable profit.

But some worry that the city shouldn't be basing development and zoning decisions largely on the need to fill a budget hole.

Garage may be replaced by 12-story building. City moves to be able to sell Observer Highway facility to developer

The Hoboken Planning Board voted Monday to label the city's Municipal Garage on Observer Highway an "area in need of redevelopment." If the City Council accepts this recommendation at a special meeting Monday at 6 p.m., the council can choose a developer to build on the site and then sell the property to that developer for a needed cash infusion.

The city is already anticipating $5 million in this year's proposed $72 million municipal budget from the sale. A similar situation occurred last year, but a council minority balked at the deal, forcing the budget to be held up longer and city government to temporarily shut down. The minority did not want to be rushed into the deal. For the current fiscal year, a proposed city budget was introduced in December but has still not been finalized, even though the year began last July 1 and ends in three months.

City introduces $67M budget

MONEY MATTERS – On Oct. 19, the Hoboken City Council is scheduled to hold a

hearing on the 2005-2006 fiscal year budget.  

The Hoboken City Council has introduced a $67 million budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal
year that, while $5 million less than the year before, does include a possible 2 percent tax increase.

The budget can be amended with council suggestions (see sidebar) and will have a public hearing before the final vote, probably in October.

Budget meeting suddenly postponed. Council will now meet Monday, debate options for filling $7.9M hole

Despite a judge's recommendation for the Hoboken City Council to immediately start working together to approve a final budget, Mayor David Roberts canceled a special City Council meeting scheduled for this past Wednesday night.

The meeting was supposed to provide an opportunity for warring factions of the nine-member council to sit down and discuss the 10-month-late $72 million city budget.

But hours before the meeting was to be held, Roberts canceled it. He has instead scheduled a council meeting for Monday at 8 p.m. at City Hall.

City budget approved 5-4. Taxes stable, final vote on garage pending

he Hoboken City Council has a budget. In many communities, that would be the end of the story, but not in Hoboken's turbulent political waters.

Budget talk will likely continue at least until the May 10 mayoral and City Council election.

On Monday, the council approved its $72 million 2004-2005 fiscal year budget by a vote of 5-4.

Mayor David Roberts praised the budget Tuesday and said he looks forward to moving forward with the business of the city.

How did it get this far? The full Story of why the city Shut down last week

To be fully funded, Roberts' budget relied on a plan to sell the city's municipal garage to the Hudson County Improvement Authority, a quasi-autonomous public agency, for at least $7.9 million. The HCIA would then lease it back to the city. Thus, the HCIA would be lending the city at least $7.9 million.

The garage property is really worth $10 to $20 million, so if the HCIA sold it later, it would give the profits to Hoboken.

Back open for business. After shutting city services, City Council passes temporary budget

ity services were re-opened at the end of last week after a stalemate over the city's $72 million budget had forced non-essential services to shut down for two days.

Since the City Council has not yet approved Mayor David Roberts' permanent city budget, which was proposed back in September, they have been passing temporary budgets each month to keep the city running. On Monday, four council members who have been opposing the mayor's spending policies (including two who are running against him for mayor May 10) voted against the latest temporary budget.

Garage sale fails. City must find $7.9 million or look to taxes, layoffs.

At a raucous City Council meeting Wednesday, the council was unable to pass Mayor David Roberts' proposal to sell the municipal garage to the Hudson County Improvement Authority, a quasigovernmental agency. The intent was to use $7.9 million from the sale to plug a budget deficit.

Wednesday's vote required six of the nine council members, but only five of them voted in the affirmative. Thus, the council must find $7.9 million in new revenues for the 2004-2005 budget. Options include making drastic cuts to the municipal workforce or raising the municipal portion of the tax levy by over one-third, all of which could be burdensome considering there are only about four months left in the fiscal year.