State Decision On Flood Wall Threatens Massive Hoboken Development

Politico: A massive economic development project that would sit on some of the last untapped real estate in downtown Hoboken appears to be on life support as New Jersey officials consider building a storm-surge wall right in the middle of the 50-acre site.

The Hoboken Yard redevelopment — a proposal that’s been in the works for more than a decade — would easily be one of the largest construction projects in New Jersey, spanning nearly 10 blocks and encompassing 2.3 million square feet of commercial and residential space. The outlines of the endeavor already have the blessing of the city, which declared the area in need of redevelopment and released a plan for the site four years ago.

But all of that, along with $80 million in improvements to nearby NJ Transit facilities, could evaporate when Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration decides where, exactly, to build an 11-foot wall that’s supposed to reduce flooding in the city, much of which sits below sea level. The storm barrier, as well as other components of the federally-funded Rebuild by Design project, need to be completed by the end of 2022 or the state will have to forfeit what remains of the $230 million grant.

State officials, preparing to making a final ruling on the wall, are making clear their main focus is on getting it built soon, as well as avoiding potential problems for NJ Transit, which owns the development site and the rail yard to its south. The decision is in the hands of the Department of Environmental Protection, which is overseeing the post-Superstorm Sandy resiliency work. 

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