Hoboken developer might not have to build public tennis courts after all

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June 27, 2013

HOBOKEN – A developer might not have to build tennis courts after all.

Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Arre on June 21 dismissed a lawsuit the City of Hoboken filed in March 2012 against the Shipyard Associates to try to enforce a 1997 Development Agreement between the two sides that would have created three tennis courts and a pavilion for the public on the North Pier at 15th Street.

"We are very pleased with the judge's ruling," said Kevin Coakley, an attorney representing Shipyard Associates. "The judge applied very well understood law, and the city's efforts to put the project through litigation were misguided. The city has spent a tremendous amount of money on this case with nothing to show for it."

City officials say they will appeal the Arre's decision.

Shipyard Associates entered into a Developers Agreement with the City of Hoboken in 1997 to build 1,160 residential units, commercial and retail space, 1,460 parking spaces, and provide tennis facilities and a waterfront walkway for public use.

Shipyard built the residential, commercial and parking spaces, but then did not want construct the public amenities on the pier. Instead the developer wanted to build two 10-story residential buildings known as the Monarch at Shipyard project.

On Friday, Arre concluded that the Development Agreement was not enforceable.

A recording of the judge's oral decision was not immediately available.

Coakley argued in court that the Planning Board had violated land use law because board members voted in July 2012 to deny the application to amend the Planning Board resolution that enshrines the development agreement to incorporate the twin towers, without giving the developer opportunity for a hearing.

"They decided to refuse to have a hearing in violation of land use law and their statutory obligations," Coakley said. "They did it knowingly because we pointed it out to them."

Saying the city is attempting to hold the developer accountable for renegeing on a deal to provide Hobokenites with public ameniities, Mayor Dawn Zimmer issued a press statement today saying the City of Hoboken will appeal the Arre's decision.

"Defending the city's interests can require an investment in strong legal representation, but that investment is paying off," said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "We will continue to defend our interests, and in the case of the Monarch development, continue to fight to hold developers to their promises and protect our waterfront from inappropriate development."

Coakley countered that an appeal would be a fruitless exercise.

"There is no basis for an appeal," Coakley said. "It is a  waste of money."


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