The site of a new waterfront hotel that is proposed in Hoboken, as depicted in 2017 — file photo
By Joshua Burd
A developer seeking to build a new waterfront hotel in Hoboken has pledged $4.5 million in community investments, under a deal that city officials say could be a model for future projects.
Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla announced Tuesday that the city had reached the agreement with KMS Development Partners, which would reportedly build a 20-story Hilton hotel at Newark Street and Marine View Place. Located a block from the Hoboken Terminal, the property would rise over the historic Frank Sinatra Post Office and effectively complete the city’s southern waterfront redevelopment.
The plan is some two years in the making but was revamped early last year by the newly sworn-in Bhalla. On Tuesday, the mayor announced additional changes to the framework, focusing on community investments from KMS and a commitment to union labor that he says he will seek from other developers in the city.
“It is my intention that this agreement shall serve as a model for all future deals,” Bhalla said. “I am putting developers on notice: if you want the opportunity to do business in our city, we expect union labor and we expect generous community givebacks.”
According to the city, those givebacks include $1 million in road and infrastructure upgrades, a $1 million endowment for the Hoboken Public Education Foundation to support the public school system, $100,000 to each of Hoboken’s three charter schools, $200,000 for its affordable housing trust fund and $2 million toward revitalizing the Hoboken Community Center. The plan would allow the community center to open a public pool and provide space to expand the district’s pre-K program, which currently has a wait list, while enabling the city to expand the uptown branch of the Hoboken Public Library.
Bhalla also announced that all hotel jobs, from construction to operation, will be union jobs and allow Hoboken residents to receive hiring preference. The hotel is projected to employ about 170 people once operational and create another 280 jobs in the community, he said, while adding $5 million to the local economy per year.
Exciting news we announced today! Hob will see a brand new community center w/ renovation of former YMCA building! New center includes public pool, new rec facilities at no cost to taxpayers. Center will include classrooms for early childhood education, new @hobokenlibrary branch pic.twitter.com/BYtNfCxH8E
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) October 9, 2018
The agreement will now go before the Hoboken city council for approval on Oct. 17.
KMS previously agreed to $3 million in givebacks, but that number grew after talks with Bhalla’s office and other officials, according to The Jersey Journal. The exact number of rooms in the new plan and other details were not immediately clear Tuesday, but city officials said the project would double the number of rooms and triple the amount of meeting and event space in Hoboken.
The mayor touted the deal during a news conference alongside union officials and leaders of the Hoboken Board of Education.
“As mayor, I am committed to economic development that benefits not only the business owners but also provides good, living-wage jobs for all workers,” Bhalla said. “Union labor is the backbone of the nation’s economy, Hoboken’s success was built by union workers, and we will not forget where we come from.”