HOBOKEN, NJ - It appears the predictions were right, as Hoboken’s NJ Transit Records Building—recently named to the list of Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey—will in fact be coming down in the immediate future.
A steady uptick in activity around the crumbling English Victorian Gothic Revival structure had local preservationists concerned, given the concerted efforts to keep the building as part of the Hoboken Rail Yard Redevelopment plan. Locally, the Responsible Development Task Force has been spearheading efforts for an adaptive reuse of the building, initiating a series of community meetings with the City and NJT.
“We are gravely worried that this is moving to more of a pure ‘dumpster job’ than anything resembling the hoped-for,” said Terry Pranses, of the Task Force. Back in April, Pranses told TAPinto Hoboken that the Adaptive Reuse (#4 Alternative) approach, “has been reviewed by New Jersey’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and identified as a positive outcome for this historic building. It could be an important link to the past with increased visibility as the Hoboken Yards will be bringing new people to our downtown area.”
With the physical evidence of a planned demolition on the site, it appears NJ Transit have opted to go in a different direction.
“We too were very concerned when workmen showed up at the Records Building the other day,” said Stephen Zane, of the Hoboken Preservation Commission. “We have been involved in active negotiations with NJT since last July when they presented us with a simple demolition notice. Since then, we have gone from that to a plan to disassemble and move the Records Building to a new location.”
Rather than simply razing the building, which was built in 1904, Zane says NJ Transit will be handling it with a more delicate approach.
“The plan was to carefully disassemble the building, saving all important elements, palletize the materials and store them for a yet to be determined project,” said Zane, who had gotten assurances late last week from NJ Transit.
“This is a long term project and our goal is to create an agreement that will assure that within the next 5-6 years the Records Building will be recreated as part of a larger NJT project,” said Zane.
“With that said,” he added, “we are not taking anything for granted and doing our best to make sure this project becomes a reality.”
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