Casella’s personal urban renewal project

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During the ’70s and ’80s, the corner of First and Jackson in Hoboken was the Hudson County headquarters of the the Mafia.

Back in the ’70s, Hoboken Organized Crime Boss Martin “Motts” Casella renovated his building at First and Jackson, completely transforming a neighborhood tavern into an upscale restaurant. This was at a time when Hoboken property was deteriorating – or burning. Motts didn’t possess any prescience concerning the real estate market. Casella started a personal urban renewal project because a contractor ran up a $50,000 gambling tab. As the guy had no way to pay, Motts made him an offer that he could not refuse: work off the debt by fixing up the bar. Materials fell off the truck on the way to legit jobs.

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