CITY OF HOBOKEN TO RESUME USE OF OBSERVER HIGHWAY MUNICIPAL GARAGE
As of September 26, 2010, when the initial 60 day contract with Willow Avenue, LLC expires, the City of Hoboken will be vacating its municipal vehicles from 1714-16 Willow Avenue and relocating operations back to the Public Works Municipal Garage on Observer Highway.
The vehicles needed to be cleared out of the Observer Highway garage as a requirement to complete the planned sale of the property to S. Hekemian Group, but because the developer is in breach of contract and the sale has fallen through, the City has repurchased the garage fromNW Financial using the low-interest bond that was previously approved by the City Council. Rather than continue to pay for the use of two locations simultaneously, the City will vacate all of its municipal vehicles from the current 1714-16 Willow Avenue location by September 26, 2010 and resume use of theObserver Highway garage. Under an agreement with the County, some municipal vehicles will temporarily remain under the viaduct.
Discussions are ongoing to pursue alternative shared services at the Observer Highway site.
Willow Avenue, LLC, Hoboken Unleashed — which had an existing lease on the property — and the City of Hoboken tried to reach an amicable, reasonable resolution to the legal dispute over the property, but were not able to do so. Today, Interim Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin wrote to Hoboken Unleashed and Willow Avenue, LLC to inform them that the City will be vacating the property by September 26. Willow Avenue, LLC has agreed to waive the 30 day notice provision on the contract. In addition, Tabakin sent a letter to Judge Thomas Olivieri informing him that there is no longer a need for future court proceedings as the City is vacating the premises as Hoboken Unleashed had requested.
Through a series of “sale leaseback” transactions starting in 2005, a prior Administration borrowed approximately $16 million against the City’s interest in the municipal garage to cover operating expenses. In 2008, the City entered into a contract of sale with the developer, but made no plans for relocating to a new location.
Hoboken is reclaiming use of the Municipal Garage after an agreement with Hoboken Unleashed at upper Willow St. was not reached. Executing the new bond will result in substantial savings while the site is in use.
Talking Ed Note: MSV usually doesn’t comment on city releases ahead of the readers but notes the new bond executed for ownership of the garage should now costs Hoboken $20,000 a month. The monthly lease agreement previous was in the $100,000 a month ballpark. MSV will verify the exact savings with the City.