On March 18, 2016, the City of Hoboken won an important victory in the Superior Court of New Jersey upholding the provisions of the Northwest Industrial Redevelopment Plan. In the case, titled Applied Monroe Lender v. City of Hoboken and the Hoboken Planning Board, the Court agreed with Maraziti Falcon’s client, the City of Hoboken, and the Hoboken Planning Board that only an entity designated by the City and which has entered into a redevelopment agreement may develop property within portions of the City deemed areas in need of redevelopment. This decision is important because it confirms the City’s control over the manner in which redevelopment will proceed and the ability of the City to select appropriate developers and negotiate agreements that provide benefits to the City and its residents.

The property at issue in the litigation was originally the subject of a comprehensive five-phase redevelopment agreement by which the redeveloper would construct affordable housing and additional parking and provide other amenities to the City. That redeveloper went bankrupt without completing the project, and a portion of the property covered by that agreement was purchased by Applied Monroe Lender. The City informed Applied Monroe during the 2011 bankruptcy proceedings that, pursuant to the Redevelopment Plan and New Jersey State law, it would be required to enter into a redevelopment agreement as a condition of developing the property. Applied Monroe disagreed and unsuccessfully sought to have the Bankruptcy Court rule in its favor. Despite that loss, Applied Monroe sought to compel the Planning Board to approve its development application despite refusing to first negotiate a redevelopment agreement with the City as required by the Redevelopment Plan.

On March 18, the Superior Court of New Jersey in Hudson County agreed with the City’s position. As a result, Applied Monroe Lender may not develop the property or even seek approval from the Planning Board until it has entered into a redevelopment agreement with the City of Hoboken. This decision will help insure that the City of Hoboken continues to meet its obligation to provide affordable housing, improve parking and provide other benefits to its residents while at the same time ensuring the revitalization of areas in need of redevelopment.