Update on historic preservation efforts for Lackawanna Records Building hoboken

Below is an update from the City of Hoboken on historic preservation efforts for the Lackawanna Records building at Hoboken Terminal:

Since August of 2019, the City of Hoboken has been engaged in a “Section 106” review process with New Jersey Transit (NJT), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office (HPO), the Hoboken Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), and other entities and stakeholders to explore alternatives to NJT’s proposed demolition of the Lackawanna Records Building at Hoboken Terminal. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) issued a Notice of Unsafe Structure to New Jersey Transit (NJT) after a visual inspection on January 3 of the Lackawanna Records Building at Hoboken Terminal. 
 
As of today, which marks the deadline for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to consider the proposed deconstruction of the Records Building, there is no signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the FTA, NJT and HPO. and no agreed-upon alternative, despite the City’s best efforts. However, the City will continue communications with the respective parties to relay the position of Hoboken residents as expressed during the public comment period, negotiate a preferred alternative, and pursue additional requests to delay the DCA deadline.
 
NJT produced a draft Alternatives Analysis (sent to the consulting parties March 2 and May 19) and draft MOA (sent June 8), putting forth Alternative #6 – Demolition With Salvage of Historic Materials, as the preferred alternative. However, this alternative is in conflict with the City’s preference for 1) adaptive reuse in place, or if necessary 2) a hybrid approach of demolition with salvage of historic materials and eventual relocation/reconstruction, which was conveyed in a June 9th letter from Mayor Bhalla’s office to Kevin Corbett, the Executive Director of New Jersey Transit. Mr. Corbett’s response in a June 12th letter noted the “intent to honor” the City’s requests but re-affirmed NJT’s position to pursue careful demolition preceding the development of a plan to reuse historic materials.  
 
About the Records Building
 
The Lackawanna Records Building was designed by noted architect Frank J. Nies, constructed in 1904 by the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad, and once stored the vast archives of the engineering and law departments for the entire railroad company. It is located at the northern border of the NJ TRANSIT Hoboken Rail Yard on Observer Highway between Washington and Hudson streets. NJ TRANSIT has owned the building since 1983. It is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to both the Old Main Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad Historic District and the Hoboken Historic District.
 
City Efforts to Prevent Demolition
 
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with the public comment portion of the Section 106 process and the March 17 public meeting to discuss alternatives to demolition was cancelled. The City of Hoboken successfully urged New Jersey Transit to extend public comment to include an April 16 virtual meeting, where both attendees and a City-produced survey overwhelmingly expressed support for Alternative #4 (adaptive reuse in place) and disapproval of Alternative #7 (demolition without salvage) from NJT’s draft Alternatives Analysis. More recent City actions to delay the building’s demolition and ensure its eventual preservation include:

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