NeumannLeathers

Our city continues to make progress day in and day out. The Neumann Leathers building, at the south end of Hoboken, is planned to be rehabilitated. Per a press release copied below, the plan “seeks to preserve and rehabilitate the existing Neumann Leathers industrial complex and protect and enhance the existing artist community. In addition, the plan would create new retail spaces and affordable housing, add public open spaces, reduce localized flooding, and extend the street grid at Grand Street.”

We love this plan. The City is planning on rehabbing the outside of the building, making the area better suited for retail, walkways and public transportation. At the same time, the plans call for retaining the character of the original building. Everything that’s old is new again, and the plan calls for keeping the vintage signs of the building,  drawing comparisons with the North Carolina Public Radio building.

The Neumann leathers building is often the first thing people see when traveling to Hoboken, and making it beautiful and rehabbing it will only progress our city forward. We like keeping the artist community in place, and very much like the idea of increased retail opportunities. Several small businesses occupy the building with offices, and the addition of retail will allow some of the artists and business to have their very first physical store in Hoboken – a natural extension.

The entire plan can be read here, and will be discussed at the upcoming city council meeting on November 4.

Press Release:

The City of Hoboken has completed the draft Neumann Leathers Redevelopment Plan, which seeks to preserve and rehabilitate the existing Neumann Leathers industrial complex and protect and enhance the existing artist community. In addition, the plan would create new retail spaces and affordable housing, add public open spaces, reduce localized flooding, and extend the street grid at Grand Street.

“Just a few years ago, this historic property faced the threat of demolition and the artist community within it lived in fear of an uncertain future,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This plan would restore an important part of our industrial past, protect the artists and industrial uses that enrich our community, and create a vibrant mixed-use block with street level retail and plazas activated by artists and musicians.”

The plan, which is being released to the public and City Council and is being shared informally with the Planning Board, can be downloaded at: www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Neumann-Leathers-Redevelopment-Plan-Draft-10-15-15.pdf. The plan will be introduced for first reading at the City Council meeting on November 4th.

The plan would require the preservation and adaptive reuse of the historic buildings, using site characteristics such as the smoke stack, cobbled drives, exposed steel, oversized doorways and loading portals as design elements to help integrate the architecture of the past and present. The industrial arts, fine arts, artisan and industrial uses will be protected and encouraged to thrive. Existing industrial rent levels would be maintained to retain the current tenants. The cost for the renovations and maintained rent levels will be offset and balanced by new construction of a mix of uses, including residential, commercial, retail, and parking. The preservation and expansion of small scale industrial uses is consistent with recommendations in a recently-completed report on Small Scale Manufacturing in Hoboken which can be downloaded at: www.hobokennj.org/docs/communitydev/Hoboken-Small-Manufacturing-Memo.pdf.

Public pathways would be extended through the interior of the block to allow for pedestrian flow, and limited demolition of accessory structures within the interior of the property would be permitted to create interior plazas and/or courtyards to be used for public open space and pedestrian circulation. The spaces are envisioned as a series of outdoor “rooms” designed as plazas, gardens, and gathering spaces activated by appropriate and compatible ground level retail and other commercial use as well as display and performance space for artists and musicians.

The plan would extend Grand Street southbound through the property, with pedestrian and bicycle amenities, to create an additional connection between Newark Street and Observer Highway and continue traffic flow while providing off-street loading access to the infill building. The Neumann Leathers property does not have any significant buildings in the area where the street extension would cross.

Through green infrastructure such as rooftop gardens, green roofs and walls, decks, and open spaces, the plan will retain rather than increase stormwater runoff, lessening site and localized flood conditions.

Neumann Leathers is a mid-19th Century industrial complex near Hoboken’s southern border. Since the 1980’s, the complex has become a hub for small businesses and artists. The site represents one of the few remaining intact historic industrial complexes that have effectively fused the City’s industrial past and historic preservation with a viable tenant mix of fine arts, artisans, industrial arts, and new industry.