Businesses are closing everywhere in Hoboken. Rents are high. Staff is scarce and expensive. It pretty much takes forever to start a business in Hoboken. All of these problems precede the pandemic: but the pandemic has shown the vulnerability and difficulty of going outside.
We must do better – lest we become a suitcase town left with chain stores only. We’ve lost our movie theater, possibly forever. Numerous local restaurants are gone. Pre-pandemic there were way too many empty storefronts – and now Hoboken is becoming desolate.
We must have a comprehensive plan for moving forward with the greatest possible support for local business and if elected: That will be my #1 focus. Here are some initial thoughts (some are during the pandemic, some are forever).
1. For the remainder of the pandemic landlords abating 25% of a commercial tenant’s rent will receive half of that amount back so long as the landlord agrees to extend the tenant’s lease for a minimum of 36 months after the pandemic.
2. Hoboken will hire local electricians to update local businesses lighting to LED bulbs with an allowance of up to $500.00 per business. For amounts above $500, the city will cover the cost up front and allow the business to finance the cost over 36 months at no interest so long as they have 36 months left on their lease (the electric savings will likely exceed the payments). This should also be extended to PIR devices and other energy efficiencies.
3. Come up with a better system for getting business buildouts approved and inspected. Residential tenants move into apartments with a CO already in place – but commercial tenants often need to start paying rent before they are even permitted to open.
4. No car should be booted unless that car has multiple outstanding and unpaid Hoboken parking tickets. Booting guests that come into our town has given parking in our town the worst possible reputation to the point that many people refuse to come into town to the detriment of local business.