Hoboken’s waterfront now has the opportunity to fulfill its potential with a continuous, unobstructed walkway. The Union Dry Dock, currently located between 9th and 10th streets on Sinatra Drive, is apparently for sale. And we think the city should purchase this property to finally connect the waterfront and build a large park.

Right now, this anachronistic area of the waterfront bifurcates Hoboken in the worst way – it separates our uptown and downtown waterfront walkway. And our city should make the move to buy this property as having a continuous waterfront will improve Hoboken as we know it. All property values will increase, as our waterfront (Hoboken’s crown jewel) will be an uninterrupted walkway and park for generations to come.

The Fund for a Better Waterfront is having an event tomorrow, March 8th, between 7:30 – 9:30 pm at McLoone’s on 13th and Sinatra, to progress the issue. We can’t think of anything more logical than improving Hoboken’s greatest asset. And how many times does an opportunity like this come along?

More info from Fund for a Better Waterfront:

“UNION DRY DOCK & REPAIR CO.
901 SINATRA DRIVE, HOBOKEN
BLOCK 259, LOT 1
8.36 ACRES: 3.15 ACRES LAND/5.21 ACRES WATER

Time is of the essence
The owner is said to be currently negotiating a sale to another operator. If another maritime facility purchases the site, the opportunity to acquire for public parkland would likely be lost for a generation to come. Acquiring the land for a park would connect Castle Point Park to Maxwell Place Park and would be the largest parcel of open space added to Hoboken’s waterfront since the Fund for a Better Waterfront, in cooperation with the initial developers of Maxwell Place, established Maxwell Place Park in 2001.

Value
On August 27, 1976, Union Dry Dock purchased the site for $210,000 from the trustees of Penn Central Transportation Company. Current real value assessment: $5,414,397 or $645,000/acre (Bayonne Dry Dock has real value assessment of $12.4 million or $640,000/acre) The property has been on the market for the past 16 years. In 2000, Stevens Institute negotiated to purchase property but could not come to agreement on price. In 2005, 259 Holdings Co. was under contract to purchase the property for $15.25 million. This deal fell through. A proposal in 2009 by developer Lawrence Bijou to build high rise residential towers was quickly withdrawn after opposition from the community. In July of 2012, Union Dry Dock sent out letters soliciting bids to purchase. No sale took place. Owner is currently asking $25 million!

Zoning
Union Dry Dock is in the Waterfront Zoning Subdistrict W(N) (Sec. 196-20) which limits building heights to two stories or 35 feet. Lot coverage is limited to 30% for principal buildings. Residential is not a permitted or conditional use. Permitted uses are limited to educational, public recreational, and marina facilities. Most of the site falls within FEMA’s Coastal High Hazard Zone where the state’s Coastal Zone Management regulations prohibit multi-family residential, motels and hotels. Thus, the development potential for this site is severely limited.”