With Superstorm Sandy more than a year in the past, many businesses have started to thrive again. The Super Bowl in February is expected to bring significant business to the area. In addition, even in a slowly recovering economy, thousands of new units of development are being created throughout the county, adding new residents who want to eat and shop locally.
The existing local businesses are set to capitalize on these opportunities. Meanwhile, new businesses continue to open their doors, including sizeable hotels and restaurants.
Here is a review of local business in 2013.
In a mile-square city with more than 50,000 residents, Hoboken is a haven for shops, restaurants, and taverns. When the city is holding a festival or concert, it gets even more shoppers and diners. The business community has tried to think of ways to market itself and celebrate those who drive small business in town.
At the second annual Chamber of Commerce Business Awards in November, Haven Savings Bank was named Financial Institution of the Year, and Liberty Realty won Real Estate Office of the Year. Both were recognized for their efforts to help Hoboken recover from Sandy, including Haven’s donation of $250,000 to Hoboken’s relief fund following the storm.
“After Sandy, everyone really thought we were done for, but we’ve seen a 12 to 15 percent increase in sales this year and that’s great for our town,” said Liberty’s Michael Klein in accepting the award. “People still want to come here.”
Bijou Properties, a developer, won an award for Green Business of the Year, while Hoboken University Medical Center was named Hoboken Business of the Year after overcoming a difficult financial period.
Earlier in the year the Chamber announced a membership drive/contest in an effort to increase its member companies, offering new members greater advocacy and sense of community among local businesses and allowing for greater marketing leverage and profits.
There were several new businesses opening this year, and the historic Schnackenberg’s restaurant on Washington Street reopened after a renovation.
Maxwell’s, a famous restaurant and concert venue, closed briefly, then reopened just to serve food.
Jersey City is aggressively marketing itself as a prime location for business and tourism. And it has worked. VF Sportswear, a global lifestyle apparel and footwear conglomerate and parent company to the Nautica, Timberland, and Wrangler brands, among others, announced in December that it will be relocating from New York City to Jersey City. The company was awarded $13.1 million under the Grow NJ Assistance (Grow NJ) program by the Economic Development Authority (EDA) over ten years to facilitate the relocation, bringing 175 jobs to Jersey City.
The EDA’s Transit Hub Tax Credit Program also provided a $19.2 million tax credit to PHMII Associates, LLC – a partnership of Hartz Mountain Industries, Panepinto Properties, Inc. and Garden State Development, Inc. – to construct a 13-story, 240-unit residential rental community at 3 Journal Square in Jersey City.
A building called Indiegrove, launched in early 2013, is billed as “a space to work and grow.” Located across the street from the Grove Street PATH station, the community-oriented environment offers space at affordable prices for entrepreneurs and freelancers to share offices, meeting rooms, amenities and business resources. Networking events, seminars, and workshops are designed to encourage collaboration and increased productivity.
As for small businesses, a new bookstore opened called Word on Newark Avenue. The city’s downtown area on the waterfront is home to the financial district and to residential buildings full of new residents who need services. Several new businesses and restaurants opened to meet the city’s needs.
The city also has a plan to revitalize Journal Square in the next 10 years.
Palisades Medical Center broke ground in December on a new 57,000-square-foot Ambulatory Care Center, expanding their services to include a dialysis center, Hackensack University Medical Center’s John Theurer Cancer Center, Ambulatory Center for Endoscopy, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, and Orthopedics, and multi-specialty physician practices from Hackensack University Medical Center.
Harmon Meadow continues to transition from a commercial complex to more of a shopping, dining, and entertainment hub. National Basketball Association personnel were moved from their offices at 450 Harmon Meadow Boulevard to a different location in the area and the former building was demolished to make way for a Red Robin restaurant and Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar in anticipation of the Super Bowl.
Forthcoming in the complex are a 150-room Marriott Residence and another 170-room hotel, both scheduled to be built within the next two years.
In Secaucus’ downtown area, the second annual Restaurant Night brought out more than 3,000 people in September to sample the fare of the town’s many varied dining establishments. Restaurants of all types were featured, from small independents to larger chains, offering the full gamut of international cuisine.
Weehawken/Union City/West New York
After being shuttered for four years, the location of the former Arthur’s Landing on the Weehawken waterfront reopened in December as Molos, a Greek and Mediterranean restaurant with spectacular city views and easy access to the nearby ferry and Manhattan. Diners are able to select their own fresh fish from a selection flown in daily from around the world.
Not far away, two new hotels are slated to begin construction imminently. A 226-room Marriott Renaissance and a 154-room Residence Inn (for extended stays) will be built over the existing five-story garage adjacent to the NY Waterways Ferry Terminal. The hotels, with separate entrances and lobbies but connected on the sixth floor, are scheduled to open in two years.
Ideally located for transportation by ferry, bus, or light rail, the hotel project will provide Weehawken with more than $2.5 million in property and hotel taxes, and at least 115 full-time jobs.
Originally scheduled for June 2014, the Grand Prix of America race at Port Imperial has been postponed until 2015. The race will take place on the streets of Weehawken and West New York and is expected to attract a large amount of business and tourism to the area.
Art Schwartz may be reached at email@example.com.