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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Build Baby Build, Lets knock down the buildings and flush out all the Rats aka "Artists".....

Posted on: 2010/5/25 16:08
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Quote:

RichTrump wrote:
I heard Toll Brothers will have multi color chalk available on the sidewalks for the Artists.......


Toll Brothers bonds are worthless junk, just like their "developments" and they can suck my big toe.

Posted on: 2010/5/25 4:38
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Of course they'll get an abatement.

That is, if they ever actually build anything.

Meanwhile, there is only one true "pile of bricks" in the PAD, and that's the wreckage from 111.

Posted on: 2010/5/25 2:20
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Hopefully Toll won't be getting any abatements

Posted on: 2010/5/24 20:48
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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I heard Toll Brothers will have multi color chalk available on the sidewalks for the Artists.......

Posted on: 2010/5/24 19:07
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Appellate court approves three towers in Powerhouse Arts District; appeal to Supreme Court contemplated

Monday, May 24, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A developer will be able to move ahead with a 950-unit, three-tower project in Jersey City's Powerhouse Arts District, based on a ruling by the Superior Court Appellate Division.

But the residents who brought the case against Toll Brothers and Jersey City could still appeal to the Supreme Court to hear their case.

City attorney Bill Matsikoudis sees the decision as a big win for the city.

"The Appellate Division's decision completely vindicated the city's planning process and also held that a modification to a redevelopment plan does not require a re-blighting, which would be a significant impediment to urban redevelopment," he said.

But Michael Kates, an attorney for the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association, said his clients are still weighing their options.

"I think that's an interesting case that the Supreme Court might take," he said.

At issue is an amendment to the 2004 Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan to allow Toll Brothers to build three towers in excess of 30 stories - two at the former Manischewitz factory site at Morgan Street and Marin Boulevard and one across the street at Morgan and Warren streets.

The association filed its lawsuit in 2008 challenging the city's ability to allow the development in an area that was originally envisioned as a mid-rise haven for artists.

The original plan incorporated existing warehouses, calling for buildings of no taller than 10 stories filled with "live/work" units for artists.

Superior Court Judge Barbara A. Curran backed the city's plan and the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association appealed. The Appellate Division issued a written decision last Monday affirming Curran's decision saying that changing the plan, "was neither arbitrary nor capricious, but rather adequately reasoned and grounded in the record."

The amendment will allow Toll Brothers to demolish all but two historic facades and build 950 residential units, of which 12 would be live/work artist units and 32 would be affordable housing.

The plan also calls for a 550-seat nonprofit performing arts theater and a $1.1 million donation from the developer to run it; plus a gallery space and a 24,000-square-foot outdoor public plaza.

Posted on: 2010/5/24 18:49
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Re: STRANGE DOINGS AT THE JERSEY CITY PLANNING BOARD
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The JCPB has been doing this for years. They change Redevelopment plans to suit developers and others that don't live in that area.
It happens in Bergen Lafayette all the time and we can't keep up, and don't have deep pockets to fight it.
It's a shame and it's all about a small minority making a profit while the others foot the bill and suffer the consequences. It's shameful!

Posted on: 2009/2/17 17:10
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STRANGE DOINGS AT THE JERSEY CITY PLANNING BOARD
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For Immediate Release
Contact: Stacy Nusbaum
201-780-6840
president@padnajc.org

JERSEY CITY, NJ - Last April, the Jersey City City Council, over the strenuous objections of a room full of residents, adopted amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan. These amendments were crafted to specifically and exclusively benefit Pennsylvannia "McMansion" developer Toll Brothers and result in destroying the vision and potential of the Powerhouse Arts District.

Soon thereafter, the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association (PADNA) filed suit in Hudson County Superior Court to overturn these amendments. The case was argued in December 2008 before Judge Barbara Curran. A broad coalition of neighborhood, preservation and civic associations, appeared as friends of the court in support of PADNA.

To date the Court has not issued a verdict. This is not surprising given the complexity of the zoning matters at issue. But no matter which side prevails, it is likely that the case will be reargued in the state's appellate courts which may prove to be a lengthy process.

DESPITE THIS PENDING LITIGATION, the Jersey City Planning Board has scheduled a February 17, 2009 hearing for Toll Brothers' application for "site plan review" of the blocks that are the subject of the litigation. Astonishingly, the Planning Board is moving ahead on the assumption that the legally-challenged amendments are or will be found valid. Indeed, Toll Brothers is/are seeking yet MORE changes in the Redevelopment Plan to further ease their way.

"Site plan review" is a process under which a local planning board makes sure that a proposed development will be carried out in a manner consistent with local zoning. In this case, the Board is being asked to make such a determination in spite of the fact that the status of the basic law (PAD Redevelopment Plan) itself remains unresolved.

While nothing in the law explicitly prohibits such an exercise, nothing mandates it either. Typically, land use boards wait until complex litigation is resolved rather than indulge in speculative planning which may be undone by the actions of the Court. For some reason, the Jersey City Planning Board is not.

PADNA is asking the public to turn out on February 17 to ask why the Planning Board is acting so prematurely, and to oppose Toll Brothers' latest attempts to revise the carefully-considered Jersey City Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan.

New Jersey's land use laws, which mandate public hearings on proposed development, are designed to incorporate informed public opinion into the entire planning process. By accelerating the development application of a favored developer while the key law is still in question, Jersey City is only fueling even more public disappointment with and cynicism about the entire process.

Posted on: 2009/2/17 17:06
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Re: Groups jump on anti- Toll Bros. bandwagon
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Wow prices for two bedrooms are still $690,000! Makes Downtown JC look like a deal.

Toll Brothers Slashes Brooklyn Condominium Prices by Up to 37%

By Oshrat Carmiel

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, is slashing prices on its Brooklyn condominiums by as much as 37 percent to spur sales after its unsold inventory spent two years on the market.

Prices at the eastern tower of the waterfront Northside Piers project in Williamsburg were reduced starting Feb. 3 for all types of apartments, said Florence Clutch, the sales manager.

“We wanted to get them into a price range that made sense to people,” David Von Spreckelsen, a senior vice president in Toll’s New York City urban division, said in an interview.

The national housing slump is starting to hit the New York metropolitan area. Manhattan apartment sales fell 9.4 percent in the fourth quarter and in Brooklyn prices tumbled 7.5 percent in the period as Wall Street job losses reduced demand, according to data from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc.

Toll is now selling two-bedrooms starting at $690,000, down 21 percent from $869,000 at the beginning of last week. Three- bedrooms now start at $860,000, down 20 percent from $1.075 million. Penthouses now cost $950,000, down $1.5 million.

Units at One Northside Piers have been on sale since January 2007, said Von Spreckelsen. Toll wants to clear the inventory to make way for sales at Two Northside Piers, which opened for sales in October 2008.

Few Sales Earlier

Sixty of the earlier tower’s 180 units had not been sold as of last week when the sale was announced, Von Spreckelsen said. Since then, five units have contracts pending, he said.

Buyers are so cautious right now the only way to lure them is to cut prices, said David Michonski, chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy, a commercial and residential brokerage.

“There is a stirring going on in the market, but only at a lower price point,” Michonski said. “Once prices reach a certain level there is a market -- and a robust market.”

More price reductions are likely, he said, “especially if this works, which I think it will.”

Posted on: 2009/2/10 2:38
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Re: Groups jump on anti- Toll Bros. bandwagon
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Apparently, Toll is giving 37% discounts on one of their Brooklyn projects. The prices sound absurd even at the reduced level IMO.


Toll Brothers Slashes Brooklyn Condominium Prices by Up to 37%
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By Oshrat Carmiel

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, is slashing prices on its Brooklyn condominiums by as much as 37 percent to spur sales after its unsold inventory spent two years on the market.

Prices at the eastern tower of the waterfront Northside Piers project in Williamsburg were reduced starting Feb. 3 for all types of apartments, said Florence Clutch, the sales manager.

“We wanted to get them into a price range that made sense to people,” David Von Spreckelsen, a senior vice president in Toll’s New York City urban division, said in an interview.

http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20 ... 0IYHJtE&refer=realestate#

Posted on: 2009/2/10 2:18
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Re: Groups jump on anti- Toll Bros. bandwagon
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This last part is total BS.

"Toll Brothers attorney Carl Bisgaier said the City Council amended the redevelopment plan in April after a public planning process. He argued that amenities included in the company's proposal more than justify the changes in height and density.

Those amenities include a 550-seat theater with parking, a $1.1 million contribution to operate the theater, thousands of square feet of performance and exhibition space, and an outdoor plaza to serve as a neighborhood gathering place."

The performing art center was in the initial PAD plans. It's no concession or gift on the part of toll bros. It was always supposed to be there!


Posted on: 2008/12/17 16:06
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Re: Groups jump on anti- Toll Bros. bandwagon
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Judge to decide arts district's fate
Will taller buildings be allowed?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A Superior Court judge heard oral arguments Monday in a case by a Jersey City community group challenging the city's right to allow a high-rise development in a Downtown area that was planned to be a mid-rise haven for artists.

The suit was brought by the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association against the city and Toll Brothers, the developer planning to build a 950-unit, three-tower project in the Powerhouse Arts District at Marin Boulevard and Bay Street.
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The Toll Brothers plan calls for towers taller than 30 stories and demolition of all buildings, save for two facades of the historic Manischewitz warehouse.

The original redevelopment plan called for buildings no taller than 10 stories and preserving the warehouses.

After a five-hour hearing, Superior Court Judge Barbara A. Curran said she would consider the testimony and provide a written decision at a later date.

PADNA attorney Michael Kates argued that the Toll Brothers plan "eviscerated" the Powerhouse Arts District and "severely limited" affordable lofts.

"It is the same old story - make a contribution and grant a favor," Kates said. "The problem here is the favor is putting the plan in jeopardy."

Toll Brothers attorney Carl Bisgaier said the City Council amended the redevelopment plan in April after a public planning process. He argued that amenities included in the company's proposal more than justify the changes in height and density.

Those amenities include a 550-seat theater with parking, a $1.1 million contribution to operate the theater, thousands of square feet of performance and exhibition space, and an outdoor plaza to serve as a neighborhood gathering place.

Posted on: 2008/12/17 14:21
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Groups jump on anti- Toll Bros. bandwagon
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Groups jump on anti- Toll Bros. bandwagon

Monday, December 15, 2008
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

An artists community group suing to limit the size of a planned Toll Brothers development in Jersey City's Downtown arts district has gained neighborhood backing for its cause - not a moment too soon since oral arguments are to be heard today.

Three neighborhood associations and two citywide civic groups have recently submitted written testimony to Superior Court Judge Barbara A. Curran, siding with the lawsuit filed in June by the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association.

Another group, the Harsimus Cove Association, joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff in September.

The lawsuit filed in June seeks to overturn a City Council ordinance adopted during April that amends the 2004 Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan in order to allow Toll Brothers to build a mixed used, 950-unit high-rise complex at the site of the former Manischewitz factory at Morgan Street and Marin Boulevard.

The amended plan includes three towers of 30 or more stories, a 550-seat performing arts theater, gallery space and a plaza.

The original redevelopment plan called for projects limited to 10 stories filled with spacious "live/work" units for artists.

Having the neighborhood associations behind the association is a significant boost to its case, said PADNA's attorney, Michael B. Kates. "It shows that there are neighborhood associations and other significant contributors to the scene in Jersey City who believe that the planning process is not so easily ignored," Kates said.

Bill Matsikoudis, the city's top attorney, said the additional voices don't change the law, which is the city has the right to amend a redevelopment plan.

"Unless they are putting forward a new theory of law or new facts I don't know it will have a substantive impact on the case," Matsikoudis said.

PADNA members see the Toll Brothers project as another nail in the coffin of the 2004 Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan that envisioned a low-rise community, with plenty of commercial art space and 10 percent affordable housing.

The Historic Paulus Hook Association, Inc.; Van Vorst Park Association; Newport Neighborhood Assn; and a "representative" of Hamilton Park Association, have all filed written testimony as "friends of the court."

The Newport Neighborhood Association, Inc., whose president is Sonia Maldonado, supports the Toll Brothers project, while a rival group, the similarly named Newport Neighborhood Assn, whose president is Robert Vivien, opposes the development.

The other civic groups - Civic JC and Pro Arts - have sent the court statements supporting the PADNA suit. Officials of Toll Brothers refused to comment.

Posted on: 2008/12/15 13:49
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Re: DOWNTOWN JERSEY CITY UNITES AGAINST TOLL BROTHERS UPZONING
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not to start a back and forth, but PAD has one of the strongest and most well attended neighborhood associations in the city. adversity can bring people together.

it has been while since any group has pushed back as hard as they have including substantial dollars for the lawsuit.

the only similiar effort that comes to mind was when a coalition of heights and Hoboken groups came together and successfuly challenged plannning approvals made under the Schundler administration for Millenium Towers (at the Hoboken border). The acting Planning Board Chair did not live in JC and I believe 6 of the 8 commissioners had expired terms....

sign up for the PADNA emails to see what they are doing for arts in JC.

Posted on: 2008/11/24 22:25
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Re: DOWNTOWN JERSEY CITY UNITES AGAINST TOLL BROTHERS UPZONING
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Given the economy, I would have thought that Toll would have abandoned these plans. But given how greedy the City, I think the PAD is history

Posted on: 2008/11/24 21:23
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Re: DOWNTOWN JERSEY CITY UNITES AGAINST TOLL BROTHERS UPZONING
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This whole thing is a joke! Back prior to 2002 the place was a real arts district, with lots of working artists renting studio space in the warehouses (ie, 111 1rst St). They had to leave so that lovely buildings like The Waldo could come in. (And the Waldo really is lovely. It has changing gallery exhibits in its lobby, therefore it must be artistic).

Posted on: 2008/11/24 21:21
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Re: DOWNTOWN JERSEY CITY UNITES AGAINST TOLL BROTHERS UPZONING
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PAD is dead. It never had a chance. Welcome to Harborside West!

Posted on: 2008/11/24 18:27
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DOWNTOWN JERSEY CITY UNITES AGAINST TOLL BROTHERS UPZONING
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DOWNTOWN JERSEY CITY UNITES AGAINST TOLL BROTHERS UPZONING

PADNA (The Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association) of Jersey City is pleased to announce that Superior Court Judge Barbara A. Curran has ruled favorably on a motion requesting permission to appear in PADNA's suit against the City of Jersey City as amicus curiae ("Friends of the Court").

The motion was filed by Jersey City's downtown neighborhood associations: Historic Paulus Hook Association, Inc., the Van Vorst Park Association, the Newport Neighborhood Association, Inc., a representative of the Hamilton Park neighborhood and two citizen advocacy groups, ProArts and Civic JC. The Harsimus Cove Association, another downtown neighborhood association, has joined PADNA as a co-plaintiff.

These local organizations, which have expressed their concern about the radical set of amendments to the PAD Redevelopment Plan, will have an opportunity to weigh in on PADNA's suit against the City of Jersey City, filed earlier this year.

When the Jersey City Municipal Council voted to up-zone the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment plan to accommodate "McMansion" developer Toll Brothers, it simultaneously laid waste to over a decade of broad community involvement (including input from the Urban Land Institute), made mockery of the planning process and set a terrible precedent that will embolden developers to engage in excessive profiteering. In response, PADNA filed a suit in Hudson County Superior Court on June 2, 2008

The PAD Redevelopment Plan was adopted in October 2004 to facilitate a DUMBO-like arts and historic warehouse cultural hub. The recent amendment gives Toll a huge subsidy at no cost to Toll and with no giveback to the community. If built, the Toll Brothers plan will:

* Destroy the unique character of the arts district
* Demolish historic warehouses
* Eliminate affordable housing for artists
* Obliterate one of five remain cobblestone streets in Jersey City, the only one with an embedded rail
* Double the density previously permitted
* Quadruple the height previously permitted
* Plunge four occupied and actively used historic warehouses into permanent shadow


PADNA and its fellow plaintiffs are being represented by seasoned land use attorney Michael Kates of Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi, LLP. The amicus groups are represented by Cynthia Hadjiyannis, Esq. of Jersey City.

Oral argument is scheduled on Monday, Dec. 15 at the Hudson County Administration Building, 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City.

The PAD is home to over 350 residents with more than $125 million invested in the neighborhood. PADNA has over 150 active members, supports the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan as it stood before April 9, 2008, and strives for a transparent city government that supports its residents.

Posted on: 2008/11/24 15:36
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Yet Another New York Times article: High Rises at Center of Arts District Debate
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High Rises at Center of Arts District Debate

New York Times
By JOSHUA BRUSTEIN
May 18, 2008

JERSEY CITY

A PLAN to replace a former matzo factory, an empty lot and a cobblestone street with apartment buildings and a theater will surely transform the Powerhouse Arts District, roughly a dozen blocks of warehouses here that have long been envisioned as a haven for artists. But whether this change will make the area a more appealing and welcoming artists’ community or put the final nail in its coffin is the subject of a bitter debate that seems destined to end up in court.

On one side are the plan’s developer, Toll Brothers, and local officials who say that high-rise residential development is the best use of such valuable real estate. They claim the theater will turn a blighted corner of the city into a cultural destination. On the other are residents and civic groups who accuse officials of selling out the original idea for an arts community just blocks from the Jersey City waterfront for the chance to make a quick buck.

The story started more than 20 years ago, when the first artists began moving into the rundown warehouses near the Hudson & Manhattan Powerhouse, a striking brick building that once provided electricity to a railroad that was the precursor to the PATH rail system. Beginning in the mid-1990s, officials decided to encourage the artists’ settlement.

In 2004, the city approved the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan, with zoning restrictions aimed at preserving the distinct ambience of the warehouses. The plan barred the type of high-rise developments common in the surrounding blocks. Developers wanting to build in the district would have to cater to artists by creating apartments suitable for living and studio spaces, according to the plan. An accompanying action declared the zone a historic district.

It was an idea that came under attack almost immediately.

The first major challenge came from Lloyd Goldman, the owner of a warehouse that was home to more than 100 artists. In 2004, Mr. Goldman charged in a lawsuit that the city was infringing on his right to build on his property. A judge struck down the historic designation on technical grounds, and the city agreed to allow Mr. Goldman to build a 52-story apartment building. Critics predicted that other developers would demand their own high rises.

In August 2006, Toll Brothers requested an amendment to the zoning, and then asked again in October 2007, when the firm developed the current plan, which includes construction of three residential towers ranging in height from 30 to 39 stories on sites currently zoned for buildings less than half that size. The firm says it will build a theater with performance, rehearsal and classroom space, as well as a public plaza, in exchange for an amendment to the zoning that would allow the three apartment buildings. Its plan also included the closing of a city street.

The Toll Brothers plan won council approval April 9. “This was an area that needed a lift, and we have investors with the wherewithal to do that,” said Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, who backed the plan.

But a number of civic, neighborhood and historical preservation groups led by the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association are opposed, saying they want development in the area to adhere to the zoning regulations laid out by the city in 2004. They argue that the one amenity that Toll Brothers is offering, the theater, was slated for construction in a previous agreement that didn’t include the high rises. The arts district group says it plans to file a lawsuit by the end of the month to stop it.

Steven Fulop, the councilman who represents the area and is opposed to the plan, said the Toll Brothers plan would encourage other developers to ask to build high rises. They would conclude, he said, “If the city isn’t going to respect its own zoning, why should I?”

Marc Simon, a Manhattan architect living in the district, said he reviewed the city’s planning documents before moving across the Hudson. It was the long-term plan to protect the district from “cookie-cutter high rises” that led him to buy a place on Bay Street, said Mr. Simon, a member of the arts group’s board.

“In one fell swoop they’re undermining all of that planning,” he said, “and saying ‘anything goes.’

Posted on: 2008/5/17 17:27
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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I don't see much chance of any of this getting built any time soon. There's no way Toll's going to be able to get financing to do it with the credit crunch getting worse by the day.

Posted on: 2008/5/17 9:34
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New York Times: Adjusting Vision of Waterfront Arts District to Include High Rises
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Adjusting Vision of Waterfront Arts District to Include High Rises

New York Times
By PETER APPLEBOME
May 15, 2008

JERSEY CITY

Across the street from the hulking remains of the Hudson & Manhattan Powerhouse, which once provided electricity for what is now the PATH rail system, is a mountain of bricks and rubble in the middle of a sprawling vacant lot.

Once it was the site of the Lorillard Tobacco and Snuff Manufactory, the largest tobacco factory in the country. Later it was a thoroughly magical warren for hundreds of artists, and the inspiration for an arts district envisioned as a way to revive a decrepit, forgotten warehouse district near the Jersey City waterfront. Current plans call for it to become a 52-story residential tower designed to look like a precarious stack of blocks.

Whether or not you care to see Jersey City as New York’s sixth borough, you could write a pretty interesting urban history centered on the 12 or so blocks now designated as its Powerhouse Arts District. But before you did, you would have to sort through two distinct story lines about how the tale has evolved.

One is a story of betrayal, how almost two decades of hard work and advocacy that produced a visionary plan for a low-rise arts district that preserved the area’s past was shunted aside in favor of plans for megatowers and cookie-cutter urban development. The second is a story about the malleability of urban life, how neighborhoods always evolve and how no planning document can ever be exempt from the vagaries of market forces and social trends.

It’s probably appropriate that either narrative culminates at the same point: a shootout over an abandoned matzo factory. In this case, it was a bitterly contested decision by the City Council last month to approve a proposal by the giant home builder Toll Brothers to construct three residential towers of 30 stories or more. Two would be on the site of an old Manischewitz factory; one would be across the street.

It came after a heated meeting at which nearly all the 45 or so people who spoke opposed changes in the plan. Nearby residents have threatened lawsuits to stop the project.

“We’re insulted by this scheme,” said Jill Edelman, president of the neighborhood association in the area. “It’s not only not in keeping with the vision of the redevelopment plan, but it goes counter to it and it destroys it.”

The current chapter of this saga dates back to the early 1980s, when Jersey City’s real estate boom seemed a contradiction in terms. Led by a painter named Charles Kessler and inspired by a burgeoning downtown art scene, residents and officials began thinking of redeveloping some of the most hopeless real estate in the city as an arts district with galleries and housing for artists.

After various iterations and much high-level study, including an enthusiastic report by the Urban Land Institute, the result in 2004 was designation as the Powerhouse Arts District, with a plan designed to maintain the district’s historic character, low-rise feel and mix of art and housing.

In retrospect, that plan probably died with the pile of rubble at the old tobacco factory when the city — facing lawsuits from the developer who owned the building, which had since been converted into artists’ studios — allowed him to knock down the building and build a high rise instead. “That was the first domino,” said Mr. Kessler. “So now we have Toll Brothers.”

But city officials say that in truth, the plan, however romantic it seemed, was flawed from the start. It didn’t provide enough critical mass for a successful district, it couldn’t generate enough revenue to support retail projects envisioned for the area, it didn’t support renovation of the one truly iconic building — the powerhouse — and it didn’t provide enough density for the rail service now in place.

“The idea of keeping density extremely low on a PATH stop is a luxury the city can’t afford,” said Robert Antonicello, executive director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. “It’s not consistent with smart growth, and it’s not what’s best for the whole city. What’s disappointing to me is that instead of embracing what’s best for the entire city you’ve got a group that instead has taken a more myopic Nimby approach.”

AND so it will go.

The city talks about a broader district, covering 25 blocks instead of 12, an arts district with entertainment space, not just visual arts. Critics point out that the city isn’t hurting for high-rise development, it’s drowning in it. What it almost had, they said, was something distinctive, something based in the city’s old industrial past — not a substitute for high-rise development, but a bit of diversity that’s an alternative to it.

In the Kabuki world of development fights, it’s hard to be too surprised at how this chapter played out, but Mr. Kessler said he was still disappointed. “We have plenty of high rises, we have an entire waterfront that’s suitable for high rises,” he said. “I expect a developer to try to make as much profit as he can. But here we had an incredible resource that speaks to Jersey City’s history like nothing else — railway history, industrial history — and rather than fight to save it, the city just folded.”

E-mail: peappl@nytimes.com

Posted on: 2008/5/15 4:00
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Re: Toll Brother\'s Travesty in the PAD
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btw, it is not a straight forward effort, reports are filed late, many names/businesses are used/family members, it not stored in a data base, the states searchable site come up with nothing. it is anything but transparent.


DanL: For the most part you are right, however, in most all cases, a significant benefit would be conferred just by simply posting the files (by office / candidate and filing period) as pdf files (exactly as filed), as the state site is pretty difficult to access even by the internet literati. I'm never gonna hold my breath for the searchable state site to work.

... and before I forget, does CivicJC have an active project / commitment to analyze the Elec Reports, and what might we expect from it? (I might even consider volunteering.)

All the best.

Geoff

Posted on: 2008/5/5 15:12
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Geoff, I have reached out many times here and elsewhere for people that would be willing/interested to work doing just this. most recently on this post from January - Here are suggestions to help "renovate" Jersey City government

- Civic JC can use help by getting more involved in the group or on specific projects including the two reform ordinance petition initiatives being done with Councilman Fulop’s group. We also could use assistance reviewing state election reports (campaign finance) and when we set up civic educational workshop among other things.

btw, it is not a straight forward effort, reports are filed late, many names/businesses are used/family members, it not stored in a data base, the states searchable site come up with nothing. it is anything but transparent.




Quote:

G_Elkind wrote:

........

DanL, CivicJC would really live up to its founding principles if it undertook to review and analyze all the Elec Reports of each and every current councilperson and the Mayor and post the same on your web site. The same for candidates who declare themselves for these same positions in the run up to next year's municipal elections.

Now this would really be revolutionary and bring a degree of openess and transparency to the voters on development issues affecting everyone in Jersey City.....

Posted on: 2008/5/5 14:01
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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One reason that I have not bought in JC is that I could not countenance putting my money into a State/City that has so little regard for its "subjects'" rights.

I played a small part in defeating the attempt by the JC government to seize the Golden Cicada and the diner near Exchange Place. Taking property from one private owner and granting it to another is a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution. While the current makeup of the Supreme Court has allowed such actions, most states have denounced this practice. NJ and NY are not among them.

I feel for the people (and the developers) in PADNA who thought that they had a done deal. Nevertheless, in a place where the government ignores even the Constitution; it was a mistake to expect that they would regard their previous rulings as immutable.

Posted on: 2008/5/5 1:30
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ou're a tad bit shortsighted Xerxes. Ever been to Tribecca? Do you know what that area used to be? Just the other day I saw a large, one floor condo for sale for nearly 7.5 million. Yes, an old factory was converted. Imagine that?!

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and you may find these structures horrific looking. However, these 100 year old relics, if left to stand, will still be around when that "really" horrific Grove Pointe starts to crumble in a few decades. Just walk around it someday and look at the lack of attention to detail. The brick work is abysmal. The stairs facing Marin Blvd are even worse. This would have never passed inspection in Manhattan. Shoddy work all around. It's as if the stairs are not even finished. Xerxes, please tell me you do not really think Grove Pointe and all the mundane glass Newport high rises are exceptional pieces of well built architecture.

So, while you may not be "fond" of keeping these well built, unique buildings around I can assure you the crap that Toll Bros. and other 'on the fly developers' will slap up in 'record time, using cheap materials' will be far worse. Sure, at 20ft the sparkling stainless appliances and maple cabinetry might be just perfect for ya but when you can hear your neighbors fighting or some wanker playing Guitar Hero because of thin walls and skimpy insulation you will think twice about passing judgment on these warehouses built with steel and cement.

If Rem Koolhaas actually does start the 111 project (I am not holding my breath) then perhaps this will spur some sort of architectural bench mark into motion.

The fact remains, unless we keep fighting this corrupt system and work together DT JC will be lose all of its old architectural history. Our city council thugs are no different than the board of directors of any big clear cutting company in Washington state. Just rip them down and pay up.

Posted on: 2008/5/4 21:00
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Re: Toll Brother\'s Travesty in the PAD
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Xerxes is partially correct.

We'll forgive his opinion on aesthetics, as he's entitled to that, and there's no accounting for taste. His take away conclusion that people should not waste their time is something else.

Taxpaying residents can, do and should stand up for their positions on development. They have been historically successful in influencing development outcomes, albeit not everytime, and not always to the degree wished for -- which is to be expected.

The old guard in the JC political scene have yet to come to grips with the fact that Downtown has changed and that people are willing to put their money where their mouths are. Time will tell and we'll see how the PADNA law suit against the city develops. The folks who have worked hard to preserve the Embankment know that it's not nearly enough to bring people to City Council meetings, and the outcome is still not assured. I personally hope the city council and the mayor's administration keep their word, on this issue.

DanL: The perennial problem with JC is that, for other than the Parking Authority, it remains enforcement challenged. I am absolutely certain that the Mayor meant exactly what he said, like other mayors before him, and other council persons - current and past. They all intend to enforce the law as it is written ... and this is perhaps where Xerxes is 100% correct.

This city has never seen a redevelopment plan that they could ever keep their hands off of. In making these promises, they never promised not to amend or not to change the law, as it is written -- and every mayoral administration at least in the past 30 years+ has more or less taken extreme liberties when it comes to satisfying developers in amending redevelopment plans in whole or in part and often against community interests.

This practice would be considered illegal spot zoning if these properties were part of regular zoning. While it may or may not be legally proper to spot 'amend' redevelopment plans, one thing is for certain -- the impact is exactly the same as spot zoning. Nobody can count on finality or certainty with respect to development, especially as the process appears to be driven by a steady stream of campaign contributions, directly or indirectly funded by developers, by or through even their attorneys.

It's unfortunate, but I don't even see how the upcoming pay-to-pay initiative will stem this problem. As much as I would love to see true reform, this will remain a problem even if the initiative is passed in November.

DanL, CivicJC would really live up to its founding principles if it undertook to review and analyze all the Elec Reports of each and every current councilperson and the Mayor and post the same on your web site. The same for candidates who declare themselves for these same positions in the run up to next year's municipal elections.

Now this would really be revolutionary and bring a degree of openess and transparency to the voters on development issues affecting everyone in Jersey City.

Just my two cents.

All the best.

Geoff

Posted on: 2008/5/4 16:33
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Quote:

Xerxes wrote:
I am not fond of keeping these horrific looking old monstrosities because I have never felt that ANY warehouse ever built was built to any standards except maximum storage volume at minimum space. These brick boxes all qualify eminently as filthy, useless monstrosities.


Take these comments from whence they come - from somebody who lives in a horrific looking monstrosity in Newport.

Look no further than that horrific old slum known as SoHo for examples of how warehouse to residential conversaion can work, and work beautifully.

Posted on: 2008/5/4 15:31
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I am not fond of keeping these horrific looking old monstrosities because I have never felt that ANY warehouse ever built was built to any standards except maximum storage volume at minimum space. These brick boxes all qualify eminently as filthy, useless monstrosities.
I look forward to a conversion of this delapidated area to one with actual SIDEWALKS where one can walk without danger of breaking an ankle or being sideswiped becasue you have to walk in the street.

But my history of Jersey City's relationships with developers goes back a fairly long time and I can state with assurance that the chances of getting a 500 seat theater out of Toll Brothers makes NIL look like a sure thing. The only thing amusing will be the machinations they use to get out of the theater deal. It will make for high comedy.

Jersey City is a crooked machine run town that rolls over and plays dead for any developer while the pols walk away with bags of money. It has been that way for 100 years, That's why you have Jersey City Heights looking like a ramshackle of rag tag tar paper shacks that were put up with each cycle of relative prosperity in New York.

When a developer wants something pulled down and replaced, something IS pulled down and replaced. Accordingly, the Downtown warehouses, cigarette factories and breweries are all being PULLED DOWN AND REPLACED, one by one...the last to go will be the Powerhouse, but pulled down it will most assuredly BE!

The Manichevitz-Toll House brouhaha should convince anyone wanting to "save" the next old wreck that the outcome will be inevitable and all the meetings, petitions, begging, etc. will be a waste of your time.
Perhaps what MIGHT work is playing the game the way it is properly played: slipping each City Council member $10 G's and the mayor DOUBLE that amount...that's the way the developers have always done it.

(Hey, anyone seen Janiszewski lately?)

Posted on: 2008/5/4 15:13
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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Either Tris is clairvoyant or he knows how this crooked JC government works. I tend to think the latter.

The traffic impact on this area alone has me wondering how this even got to the next level ($$$$$.) One only has to try and navigate the Marin/Columbus intersection around rush hour to see how shortsighted these council members are. Aside from Fulop the rest are certifiable.

I just reread this informative letter by CitizenSpeak that was posted on 4/6. It really shows what is at stake and how callus and corrupt our Mayor and JC Council is.

Subject: Preserve Jersey City's History -- Support Rational Development

Dear City Council members and Mayor Healy,

I am against the wholesale destruction of the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan at the hands of Pennsylvania-based developer Toll Brothers.

Let's be clear here: Toll Brothers, a national developer, is in the business of maximizing profits. In a breathtaking act of hubris, Toll is asking you to amend the existing law so that they can build close to an ADDITIONAL 1,000,000 (one million) square feet, double the square footage that they are allowed to build under current law. Double the square footage = double the profits for Toll. Incredibly, you are on the verge of granting Toll this request. In any other city, Toll Brothers would not have made it in the front door of the Planning Department. Under the the Healy administration, the citizen/voters are ignored and this sort of destruction of our city is rewarded.

No studies have been conducted to review the impact of this oversized development on the existing neighborhood, our roads, our sewer system and our public transportation. Toll never made any effort to follow the underlying law before asking for sweeping changes. Toll has proceeded with no regard to the scale, texture, and viability of the existing neighborhood. In exchange for Toll doubling their profits, what do the citizens of Jersey City get?:

- Destruction of three historic warehouses, warehouses that not only represent the proud industrial history of Jersey City, but also represent the type of building stock in heavy demand.

- Elimination of 24 required affordable housing units in exchange for "ancillary theater space".

- Elimination of a public, historic cobblestone street -- to be appropriated by this private development as part of "their" plaza.

- Reduction of required open space by half.

For the citizens of Jersey City, the numbers just don't add up.

You may be thinking of supporting the Toll Bros scheme because the +/-400 additional apartments will translate into additional "ratables". What does this say about you? It says that in pursuit of a quick buck, you don't care about the quality of life of the neighborhood's current residents. It says that you don't care about the existing physical context in which development occurs. It says that the you don't care about Jersey City's diversity or historic legacy. It says the law has no meaning here.

The Powerhouse Arts District, if allowed to develop as set forth in the pre-Toll redevelopment plan, will raise ratables throughout Jersey City. What Toll is offering - a larger theater and a plaza - will not make up for what they are taking away: sunlight, historic warehouses and the type of living units that attracts vibrancy to a city. I implore you not to throw away such a unique and valuable asset in exchange for yet another gated community in the form of "luxury condo high-rises".

As the ULI report states, "The district represents an opportunity for Jersey City to build on its historical roots, its ethnic and cultural diversity, and the competitive advantages it has over its neighbors to the east."

I strongly urge you to resist the temptations of short-term gain and the pressures of a wealthy out-of-town developer. Stand strong and proud for the benefits that the Powerhouse Arts District, as historic warehouse-based, arts-centric, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, can bring to all of Jersey City.

Delivered by CitizenSpeak!

Posted on: 2008/5/2 3:00
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Re: Toll Brother's Travesty in the PAD
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"post mortem"

parts of this 2005 interview with Mayor Healy by Tris Mcall were read into record during the public comment period prior to the vote approving the Toll Bros Ammendments gutting PAD-

Tris Mccall: In May 2005, do you still believe in the plan, or do you share her skepticism?

Mayor Healy: I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. I believe in the plan -- I supported it on the council, and I wouldn't have done that if I thought that it couldn't be realized.

Tris Mccall: Can we count on the municipal government to enforce that ordinance to the letter?

Mayor Healy: I have answered this question several times, and I don't understand why it keeps coming up. Of course we're going to enforce the ordinance.

As a lawyer and a judge, I can tell you that I am very confident that this ordinance and this district will stand up to challenges in court.

Tris Mccall: I think the persistence of the questions comes from a prevailing sense that developers will do what they can to elude the PAD restrictions, and that it's up to the municipal government to keep them honest. If developers violate the terms of the ordinance, will your office come down hard on them?

Mayor Healy: It is my understanding that whoever develops in this District is stepping into those obligations set forth in the ordinance.

Again, we have every intention of enforcing the law as it is written.

since it was read into record I hope Tris is ok with reposting it. below is the full "transcript" on this part of the interview that can be found here - http://www.trismccall.net/jcj_healy.htm#PAD

------------------------

PAD relevent questions and comments:

TM: When I spoke to Melissa Holloway before the election, she was very frank about her views on the PAD. She felt that property values Downtown were such that it was doubtful that it could work the way it was initially intended. You voted for the ordinance, and now you're charged with enforcing it. In May 2005, do you still believe in the plan, or do you share her skepticism?

JH: I don't see it her way at all. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. I believe in the plan -- I supported it on the council, and I wouldn't have done that if I thought that it couldn't be realized.

We've already got a few developers and architects who are interested in working with us, including the some of the same folks who've made a similar district happen in Baltimore. If you look at the Baltimore district, it was bigger, it had more problems, and it didn't have the same sort of community support. In Jersey City, Downtown organizations are united behind the idea of the PAD, we understand its benefit to the community, and we've got the ordinance on the books.

TM: Can we count on the municipal government to enforce that ordinance to the letter?

JH: I have answered this question several times, and I don't understand why it keeps coming up. Of course we're going to enforce the ordinance.

When a provision is passed and signed into law -- whether it's on the federal, state, or municipal level -- there's a presumption of validity. It is up to those who are challenging the ordinance to prove that it is arbitrary and capricious. "Arbitrary and capricious": those are strong words. The burden of proof for challenges is extremely high.

As a lawyer and a judge, I can tell you that I am very confident that this ordinance and this district will stand up to challenges in court.

TM: I think the persistence of the questions comes from a prevailing sense that developers will do what they can to elude the PAD restrictions, and that it's up to the municipal government to keep them honest. If developers violate the terms of the ordinance, will your office come down hard on them?

JH: It is my understanding that whoever develops in this District is stepping into those obligations set forth in the ordinance. They need to understand that - and I expect that they do. I believe that there were similar provisions set in Baltimore, and they appear to have worked well.

Again, we have every intention of enforcing the law as it is written.

Posted on: 2008/5/1 20:43
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