Gov. Phil Murphy headlined a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the long-awaited Hoboken Connect project, where plans call for improving the city’s historic transit terminal, infrastructure upgrades and new development in the surrounding blocks. — Courtesy: OIT/NJ Governor’s Office.
By Joshua Burd
Construction is set to begin on the long-awaited Hoboken Connect project, where plans call for improving the city’s historic transit terminal, infrastructure upgrades and new development that would include nearly 400 apartments and 635,000 square feet of high-end office space.
Gov. Phil Murphy made it official on Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, where he joined leaders of NJ Transit and LCOR, the agency’s master developer for the property, plus a host of other public officials. They gathered to mark the start of project that is 15 years in the making and has moved forward recently after a series of key approvals, paving the way for multiple phases with private and public components that will be implemented in the coming five-plus years.
Murphy and state lawmakers have committed $176 million to the project under the Fiscal Year 2023 budget agreement, via the Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund.
“Made possible by a combination of vision, tenacity and public-private synergy, the Hoboken Connect project will serve as a microcosm of all that my administration is determined to accomplish,” Murphy said. “In addition to incorporating environmentally sustainable design features, this long-awaited development will also produce millions of dollars in revenue for both Hoboken and NJ Transit. Just as crucially, this game-changing project will connect New Jerseyans to economic opportunity through affordable housing, public and active transportation options, and thousands of good-paying jobs.”
Plans for the site include a CetraRuddy-designed, 389-unit residential building on Observer Highway, across from the Bloomfield Street and Washington Street intersections, with 20 percent of the homes designated for lower-income renters. The project also calls for a 20-story, 635,000-square-foot office tower at the corner of Hudson Street and Hudson Place, with ground-floor retail space, that will allow employees to be steps from the terminal and PATH station entrances.
Equally notable will be a sweeping overhaul of the historic Hoboken Terminal, which includes raising the easternmost plaza to protect against flooding from the Hudson River, as well as a plan to restore and activate the long-dormant ferry terminal building at the site with public-facing uses such as a food hall and event space. Other plans include pedestrian, vehicular and bicycle improvements, including construction of a new bus terminal on Hudson Place and the redevelopment of Warrington Plaza.
“The vision for Hoboken Connect was created through a collaborative process, aligning the interests of NJ Transit and the city of Hoboken with the broader goals of the redevelopment, which include transforming and reactivating this historically significant gateway to Hoboken, driving new economic development opportunities, investing in NJ Transit infrastructure and creating new and inviting public spaces for the local community,” said Brian Barry, a senior vice president with LCOR. “We’re thrilled to be breaking ground alongside key stakeholders who have played an invaluable role in advancing the vision for Hoboken Connect, including the state of New Jersey, NJ Transit, the city of Hoboken and all labor entities, and look forward to bringing this transformative waterfront project to fruition for both Hoboken residents and those commuting through the area.”
Murphy’s office said that, when complete, Hoboken Connect will directly and indirectly support 15,290 permanent jobs and $234 million in tax revenue annually. The city of Hoboken will see a projected 4,433 jobs on site with $9.6 million in annual retail spending and $4.5 million in annual revenue, while NJ Transit will benefit from ground lease payments, increased ridership and customer experience improvements.
More than 9,800 construction jobs will be created.
“This project has been 15 years in the making and I could not be more thrilled for it to come to fruition,” Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla said. “The city will reap the benefits of not only a rehabilitated transit hub, but much needed infrastructure upgrades, affordable housing, and retail space that will bring thousands of permanent jobs to the area. Thank you to Governor Phil Murphy and Senator Brian Stack, as well as Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji for their commitment to this project and dedicating over $170 million of public investments to ensure its success.”