The hot spots for construction will continue to be near mass transit stations and along the waterfront. For commercial development, including hotels and stores, see sidebar.
Hoboken's west side One trend that should continue in 2006 is the success of relatively new developments within walking distance of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and Hudson County transit hubs.
Back in 1998, Hoboken's west side was blighted, with only a smattering of time-worn warehouses and trucking companies. Under the administration of former Mayor Anthony Russo, the City Council created the "Northwest Redevelopment Area" and adopted a plan to stimulate growth in the region. Now many blocks have new condominium projects springing up.
One example is a $50 million development that includes a 90-unit affordable housing building at 1118 Adams St. Adjacent to it is 1100 Adams St., a luxury condominium building. These projects are a joint venture of the publicly owned Tarragon Reality Investors, Inc., along with Hoboken-based Ursa Development and local developer Frank Raia. Sales for the project are now underway, and construction of the first building is nearly complete.
Also, construction is well underway for Village West. The Planning Board has approved 435 new residential units uptown on Monroe Street, of which 19 will be affordable artist work/live loft spaces and 25 more will be affordable housing.
Looking to 2006, Ursa Development has also been approved to build a 12-story, 125-unit building for the property at 900 Monroe St., near the Ninth Street Light Rail Station. The 900 Monroe Street project will likely be only the first in a series of buildings by Ursa around the Ninth Street station. The Hoboken City Council is investigating creating a redevelopment plan around the station that will likely include a number of mid-rise, mostly residential buildings.
Across the street from the property is 800 Jackson St. where developer Dean Geibel's company, Metro Stop, has been approved to construct a 113-unit building.
Another area project that has been approved is at the site of the former Pino's Towing Yard on Jackson Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. The property is well known to most residents due to trips out to the junkyard to retrieve towed cars.
But now, the locally based Remi Companies hopes to transform this unsightly site into the Velocity, a high-end, four-story 128-unit condominium development that caters to an upwardly mobile, younger buyer.
Along the light rail in Jersey City Plans were presented last July for the large-scale development of two old Jersey City buildings near the Jersey City/Hoboken border, and will be in the spotlight soon.
The Koven Stove Works building on Paterson Plank and Mountain roads was the subject of a resolution passed by Jersey City's City Council at a July meeting, and the Van Leer Chocolate Factory site on 110-114 Hoboken Ave. near the Holland Tunnel was the subject of redevelopment talks.
Both of these projects have been made feasible, said the developers, because of their proximity to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail, which continues to create a real estate buzz on Hoboken's west side and Jersey City Heights.
The Koven Stove Works will be turned into 128 market-rate housing units with 88 parking spaces, and the developers will reconstruct the "100 steps" leading down the Palisades from Jersey City to Hoboken. The City Council has voted on a developer's agreement to ensure that construction does not damage the Palisade cliffs.
The Van Leer Chocolate Factory site will see more than 900 condominium units with parking, 8,000 square feet of retail space, a one-acre park, a walkway leading down Hoboken Avenue from the Heights, and a shorter walkway leading to the Second Street Light Rail Station in Hoboken. The plan will go to the Planning Board in August.
Also in Jersey City in 2006, a new project from Toll Brothers at 700 Grove St. is expected to be finished. The project, which is near the border of Hoboken, will be a 230-unit 12-story condominium high-rise.
Further west in Jersey City is the "The Station at West Side," a 39-unit condominium project on Culver Avenue. In November, developer Ramesh Khosla broke ground on the project, which is being advertised as a transit-oriented" development of two- and three-bedroom apartments in close proximity to the West Side Avenue station of the Hudson-Hudson light rail system. This project will be completed by next September, and Khosla hopes to break ground on another 36 units across the street in the spring.
'Transit village' plan for Secaucus In Secaucus, the opening of the Secaucus Transfer Station will likely spur residential development.
Currently on the drawing boards is a 231-acre redevelopment project that would transform a blighted industrial area into a transit-oriented, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly mixed-use zone.
The proposal centers on the Secaucus Junction rail station, which provides access to Manhattan in nine minutes. In total, the redevelopment could result in a 500-room hotel and conference center; up to 750,000 square feet of restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, and professional offices, and 1,850 residential units, including 800 active adult units.
The success of the transit village will be analyzed after each set of 425 residential units is built before the next set is constructed.
Growth in Weehawken For many years, there were hundreds of embroidery factories in the middle of residential neighborhoods throughout northern Hudson County. Back in the 1940s and '50s, many residents in north Hudson had a family member who made a living in embroidery.
But then the market dried up and some of the factories turned into neighborhood eyesores. However, developers discovered that these spacious structures could be re-developed into impressive residential areas.
Such is the idea behind Weehawken's latest condominium complex, a 16-unit luxury facility located on Patterson Plank Road. The appropriately named Embroidery Lofts had a ribbon-cutting ceremony with township officials on hand in August.
Developers Rob and Jim Caulfield, brothers who own Fields Development Group in Hoboken, have developed and subsequently sold development condominiums since 1998, with the total value of their projects exceeding $125 million.
Another notable Weehawken project is at the so-called "Banana Building." Decades ago, a massive waterfront structure sitting on Weehawken's Port Imperial Boulevard was a headquarters for the United Fruit Company, with a pier where regional distributors purchased bananas from the Caribbean to be shipped throughout the country - hence, the unofficial moniker for the site.
Now, after a decade of debates and plans of what to do with the Banana Building, the Weehawken Planning Board has officially given approval to Roseland Properties, Inc. to build 163 new luxury townhouses and condominiums at the site.
The light rail train also swings by the Weehawken waterfront, an area that has been bustling with development. The residential pier development that juts out from Weehawken's Lincoln Harbor, near the Houlihan's and the Radisson Hotel, is going to finally be completed. The plans for the Riva Pointe luxury condominium complex were unveiled in 1993 but Riva Pointe ran into its share of obstacles over the years. Financial difficulties strangled the initial developer, forcing that company to shuffle the complex off to several successive owners. Twice, the project was headed toward the brink of bankruptcy.
The patience displayed by the ownership group over the past nine years is finally paying off. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2006, some 13 years after construction originally began.
Also in Weehawken, the massive Port Imperial South residential/retail project continues. In 2004, the first 42 brownstones were developed by Roseland Properties near the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal. In ten years, the $500 million complex is slated to consist of over 1,600 residential units, a hotel, a shopping center and an assisted living center.
Libeskind coming to Union City One of the more exciting prospects for Union City was the October announcement that architect Daniel Libeskind, the planner for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, is currently working on an 18-story, 40-unit Union City condominium building with 3,000 square-foot units. The site will be built on Manhattan Avenue.
New in North Bergen Several residential projects are currently underway in North Bergen, including two on River Road. A 12-story luxury tower called the Watermark will contain 300 units. The Mirabelle on the Hudson will contain one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
A third residential project, called Insignia Gardens on 90th and Second Avenue, should be ready for partial occupancy by the summer of 2006. The development projects are expected to increase the township's ratable base by at least $5 million.
There's more For a more in-depth discussion about development along the waterfront, go to www.hudsonreporter.com to view last week's stories on residential and commercial development in the area. That story contains information about Donald Trump's new project in Jersey City, continued growth in Newport and around Port Liberté, and expansive development that is transforming the Hoboken waterfront.
TRANSIT CENTRIC - The Velocity, a high-end, four-story 128-unit condominium development from the Remi Companies, is just one example of a new development near the new light rail station in Hoboken.
SIDEBAR 'Attractive alternative' to NY: Commercial development in 2006 By Ricardo Kaulessar Reporter staff writer In 2006, commercial development in Hudson County is expected to thrive, with hotels, offices, retail stores and a huge science center renovation.
Mitchell Hersh, CEO of the Cranford, N.J.-based Mack-Cali Corporation, said that there will be a greater demand in the coming year for office space in Hudson County.
"The commercial market is tightening in Midtown Manhattan, and people will continue to look at the attractive alternative of the Jersey City waterfront," said Hersh.
Mack-Cali owns and manages over 5 million square feet of office properties in Jersey City, including 101 Hudson St. and the Harborside Financial Center near the waterfront.
Jersey City: Colleges, science, offices Liberty Science Center on Jersey City Boulevard in Jersey City closed last Labor Day for two years to undergo a $104 million expansion that will increase the 170,000 square-foot facility to 295,000 square feet. During the expansion, the ground floor, known as the Invention Floor, will be transformed into the new Center for Science Learning and Teaching (CSLT), where the public will come for science instruction in small auditorium spaces and state-of-the-art classrooms.
Meanwhile, the center will continue its operations in 2006 at the "Liberty Science Center: Riverside" interim location in the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal, on the northern end of Liberty State Park, until the renovated center opens July 4, 2007.
Mack-Cali is also currently undertaking a $20 million renovation of one of the buildings in its office complex, Harborside Financial Center. The renovations will be to the entry way, lobby and common areas, and are expected to be finished in spring 2006.
Hudson County Community College will also be a player in commercial development with the completion in September 2006 of its $25 million Culinary Arts Institute and Conference Center on Sip Avenue. Construction on the center began in March 2004. The five-story, 73,000 square-foot building will support the college's culinary arts and hospitality programs. It includes eight kitchens, a conference center, a banquet facility, classrooms, offices and work spaces.
In November of last year, the Planning Board approved a site plan for expansion of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Washington Boulevard between Newport Parkway and Pavonia Avenue. The expansion will entail an additional 128 rooms, for a total of 317 rooms. There will also be 70 additional parking spaces for a total of 165 spaces; 1,755 more square feet of retail space; a drop-off lane, and new signage. The expansion is expected to be completed in late 2006.
Last year, the Planning Board approved a site plan to construct an Applebee's Restaurant at Hudson Mall on Route 440. The proposed restaurant would be 5,991 square feet, with construction to begin later this summer.
Hoboken Construction will be ongoing throughout 2006 for the luxury "W" Hotel, located between Second and Third streets on River Street near the Hoboken waterfront. When completed, the hotel will be the largest building in the city. Hoboken-based Applied Development Company will develop and own the 25-story facility, which will be operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. It is expected to open for business in the summer of 2007.
Teaneck-based developer Lawrence Bijou is currently renovating the 100-year-old brick Hostess building at 14th Street and Park Avenue, once the home of Continental Baking Company that produced Twinkies. When it is finished in June, the two and a half-story building will be converted into a space for three retail businesses.
Bijou said a furniture store and a bank will be based in different portions of the 18,000 square-foot ground floor area, and New York Sports Club has already signed a lease to occupy the 24,000 square-foot mezzanine and second floor area by July.
The conversion of the old Hudson Street Cinema and adjoining offices at 5 Marine View Plaza on Hudson Street was completed last month, with more than 15,000 square feet of ground floor space turned into four retail units. The largest of the spaces was taken by HSBC Bank, which signed a lease for 6,100 square feet for a new branch location where the cinema was once located. The bank is expected to open in January. Citibank will take up a total of 4,500 square feet for a branch location.
The rest of the converted space is currently occupied by two restaurants, with Subway committing to 2,200 square feet and Saladworks taking 2,500 square feet.
Secaucus In Secaucus, the 47,000 square-foot Linens 'n' Things store is slated to open February 2006 in Harmon Meadow, as well as Chili's Neighborhood Bar and Grill at the same time in that area.
In bigger news, the nearby $1.3 billion Xanadu recreation and retail development in East Rutherford will increase employment and business, as well as traffic, in Secaucus as construction continues.
In March 2006, the first phase of the project started as construction workers began pouring the foundations for two buildings in the entertainment district. The first phrase should be completed by the end of 2007. One parking deck already has been built.
The complete 4.96-acre project, known as Meadowlands Xanadu, will be constructed over the next 10 years. The development is being marketed as the "ultimate sports, leisure, family entertainment, shopping, hotel and office complex in the United States," and will include theme parks, theaters, restaurants, a 500,000 square-foot hotel and conference center, and 1.76 million square feet of office space.
There will be five areas designated for sports, entertainment, fashion, education, food and home-related venues. Xanadu will be constructed by Virginia-based The Mills Corporation, an international developer of retail destinations, and the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation.
North Bergen A commercial project to watch is the projected re-development of the former K-Mart shopping center on Tonnelle Avenue, between the existing Target department store and the Lowe's Home Improvement Center. It will see the arrival of a Home Depot sometime in 2006.
One other important project will be the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station on Tonnelle Avenue, set to open by February, with nearby road construction going on at the same time. The simultaneous projects could lead to traffic headaches in 2006.