Despite the dense population of residents who already call Hudson County home – 660,282 in a 62-square-mile span according to the 2013 United States Census count – local officials have been snipping ribbons throughout the region for lavish new residential developments.
The newer condo and apartment buildings boast environment friendly features and amenities like dog-runs and rooftop lounges. And they still offer the advantages that have drawn people to Hudson County for decades: Views of the Hudson River, public transportation to Manhattan or elsewhere, scores of restaurants, and an easy walk to schools, work, and services.
Plans are on the table for what will be the tallest buildings in both Jersey City and Bayonne, both residential.
Jersey City leads the state in new construction, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill. The city has 7,000 residential units under construction and another 19,000 approved. The city expects to have 17 of the 20 tallest buildings in the state by 2017, and is on the way to surpass Newark as New Jersey’s most populous city.
But don’t discount other parts of Hudson County. North Bergen, with dense residential development and warehouses away from the river, is working to add a park of over 1 acre, and replace a former trailer park with luxury condos. Hoboken, the densely populated mile-square city, recently made progress in its industrial northwest with an assortment of new luxury condos and park plans. Bayonne is seeing new stores and apartments on main street and a revitalization of its waterfront.
Dense towns like Union City and West New York are seeing rehabilitations, Secaucus is continuing work on their Xchange development which will ultimately include over 1,200 units and even small Guttenberg, only 10 blocks long, has surprises coming down the line.
After many years without new development, a project in Journal Square – the PATH transportation hub – was approved in 2012. “Journal Squared” promises to forever change the skyline of Ward C in Jersey City. The first phase of the project, which aspires to foster a vibrant neighborhood and transportation hub, was topped off last December at 563 feet. The KRE Group and National Real Estate Advisors hope to hold the ribbon cutting by the end of the year.
The 54-story building will offer 538 luxury rental units. It is part of the developers’ comprehensive three-phase project that will also include the construction of a 60-story tower and a 70-story building. The project will bring 1,838 rental residences, 36,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a pedestrian-friendly public plaza.
To accommodate one of said buildings in Journal Square, Jonathan Kushner, president of The KRE Group, purchased an old bank building that currently houses Art House Productions, and plans to knock it down for a new building. It will become the second of three towers by him bordered by Pavonia, Summit and Magnolia avenues.
And in what is the latest sign of the neighborhood’s transformation into an active and vibrant residential and arts destination, 25 Senate Place has opened across the street from MANA Contemporary in Jersey City’s burgeoning Journal Square Arts District. The five-story luxury development, made up of 265 rental units, opened in December.
“While we grow, we are conscious to implement policies that support small businesses and the texture and diversity of our city, and improve our neighborhoods and communities,” said Mayor Steven Fulop.
Other JC neighborhoods
As always, development remains strong along the waterfront. But it is also rising in the Heights, Bergen Lafayette, McGinley Square, and the West Side.
On the waterfront across from New York’s financial center, activity continues in Jersey City’s Exchange Place neighborhood. In late January, city and development officials broke ground for a $500 million project at 99 Hudson St. that will consist of 781 condo units.
Once complete, the building will amass 900 feet and 79 stories, catching the eye of even New Yorkers across the Hudson. The development is anticipated to be the tallest building in New Jersey and the sixth largest residential building in the United States.
Also right off the waterfront, the first phase of Urban Ready Life Harborside was topped off last September at 713 feet – making it the tallest residential building in New Jersey. The $330 million 69-story tower located in downtown Jersey City broke ground in January 2014 and features a unique blocky design from Dutch firm Concrete. Harborside 1, of the three that will make up the development, is expected to be open for leasing by the end of 2016. It will also consist of ancillary retail space and parking.
The developers, Ironstate Development Company and Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, say in all the project will consist of 2,358 residences.
Away from the waterfront, a third of “70, 80 & 90 Columbus,” located in Downtown Jersey City near the Grove Street PATH station, is complete. The three-building development totals 1,084 rental units and a 150-key Marriott Residence Inn hotel.
One of two developers involved in that project, Ironstate Development Company (the other being Panepinto Properties) is partnering with KRE Group for a 680-unit residential development at 235 Grand St. in downtown as well.
The new digs, which will begin construction in “the first half of 2016,” will be an adjoining 45-story tower (549 units) and 10-story building (131 units). The new development will be situated on the site of the former Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, which moved to a facility housed within Ironstate and KRE’s 18 Park mixed-use building.
In February, the Shuster Group began leasing at the “Hamilton House,” which totals 75 rental units. Hamilton House is located at 225 Brunswick St.
Meanwhile, the Beacon, a mixed-use development located in the footprint of the former Jersey City Medical Center, continues to lease. After leasing the 126-unit Mercury, 158-unit Orpheum, 232-unit Paramount and 128-unit Tower buildings, the developers recently launched leasing for the 271 units in the Criterion.
Also under construction in Jersey City is the second of two Trump towers in the Power House Arts District. The 532-foot Trump Plaza Residences – among the tallest buildings in New Jersey -- are located at 88 Morgan St. The 50-story Trump Bay Street nearby features 447 luxury apartments, 144 parking spaces and 11,000 square feet of retail.
In the same area, owners of “The One,” BLDG, Ares Management, L.P. and Urban Development Partners, have nearly filled their rentals to capacity. The 36-story luxury rental building, situated near Jersey City’s waterfront, offers a mix of 439 studio one- and two-bedroom apartments.
In the area, local developer Silverman has constructed an 11-story residential building with retail business on Grove and Montgomery streets called Charles & Company. And a new 50-story building has opened on Columbus Avenue near the PATH station at Grove Street.
Further down the waterfront, closer to Bayonne, developers recently held a groundbreaking for an 83-unit apartment building on Suydam Avenue near the Liberty State Park Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station. Also in that area, last April, a 448-unit rental residence at 33 Park Avenue broke ground courtesy of Fisher Development Associates. Located within the Liberty Harbor North neighborhood, the soaring 44-story building is the first of two. They will make up 900 luxury rental residences, a retail space, and a health club. A Marriot Hotel with 267 rooms is also in the works for that property.
There are also projects underway near the city’s border with Hoboken. Developers alike have dubbed the area near the Jersey City/Hoboken border “SoHo West,” partly because of its similarity to the redeveloped area in lower Manhattan, but also because this area is south of Hoboken and west of Manhattan.
Having constructed residential buildings in the Hoboken/Jersey City area since 1978, Lou Mont and his development firm, Manhattan Building Company, recently opened the second property in the Cast Iron Lofts collection, a few blocks from the Hoboken border.
The new residential offering, located at 300 Coles St. between 17th and 18th streets, is part of a series that is leading the creation of new neighborhoods with easy access to transportation in the area.
Cast Iron Lofts II, which is 27 stories high, features 232 loft-style residences with one-, two- and three-bedroom residences with 20,000 square-feet of street-level retail space.
The coming year will be about commercial development in Hoboken, City Spokesman Juan Melli said. But that doesn’t mean recent months haven’t seen movement in residential development.
The opening of The Vine at 900 Monroe St. earlier this year made it clear that the western edge of town is changing. The new 11-story, 135-unit rental residence is nestled in a bustling commuter neighborhood adjacent to the city’s Ninth Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station.
In the 1990s new residents tried to avoid the “presidential streets” on the westernmost side of the mile-square city, but now they are being transformed into new neighborhoods.
Last July, Hoboken-based developer Bijou Properties opened the doors to Park + Garden at 1450 Garden St. connected by a 373-car parking garage. The 12-story residential mixed-use development’s garage, consolidates a 10-story conventional parking garage into four stories.
Residents may also have noticed a large development at the corner of Willow Avenue alongside the 14th Street Viaduct, built close to the corner. That’s the Advance Realty luxury residential development known as Willow14. The seven-story complex, slated for completion this year, will include 140 apartments.
Developers Marchetto-Higgins-Stieve are converting a church at 901 Bloomfield to six luxury condos.
A larger prospect, “Hoboken Cove Building D” at 1500 Hudson St., is under consideration by the Planning Board. Toll Brothers is seeking amendments to advance the project, already approved for 99 residential units, 16 parking spaces, and retail space. They have put a request in for 14 additional parking spots, modifications to the lobby, floor elevation, roof amenities and green landscaping. The developer is also working to complete 1400 Hudson, a 12-story, 236-unit condo as part of their Hoboken Cove Unit Development.
The Wonder Lofts, a project the mayor made mention of in her State of the City Address, was recently approved. It will include 68 units on Clinton Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. The developer was obligated to provide six units of affordable housing and chose to construct a six-unit building across the street on the east side of Clinton Street in a separate building.
Roughly 500 residential units will come into fruition in North Bergen this year, as well as the groundwork for a one-and-a-half acre park. North Bergen town spokesperson J.P Escobar said developments include the replacement of North Hudson’s sole trailer park, Manhattan Mobile Home Park, at 4828 Tonnele Ave. The construction of a 214-unit luxury development on the five acres of land is expected to begin this summer.
According to Escobar, the development – which is steps from the Hudson Bergen Light Rail station – will take approximately 18 months to finish.
Closer to the border of Jersey City at the intersection of Paterson Plank Road and Grand Avenue, work on the 11-acre Hudson Mews continues. Named after the mews style home of British origin that describes “rows of stables,” the seven-building gated community will consist of 288 studio, one-, and two-bedroom rental units.
In that same property will be an amenity that part of North Bergen has largely been without: a large-scale 1.5-acre park (see sidebar).
Across the street from the P.C. Richards & Son at 53rd Street, 122 rentals are under construction. And across from the Palisades Medical Center at 7601 River Road, a high-end 300-unit complex with wide views of the New York City skyline is on the way. Both of those projects broke ground in 2015 and are set to be complete in early 2017.
Guttenberg, a quaint town with typically little in the way of development, approved two major projects late last year. The first project is a five- to seven-story building on 69th Street between Park and Bellevue avenues with a built-in double-decker parking deck. The development will house 35 to 39 units.
As Guttenberg is only 10 blocks long and four blocks wide, Mayor Gerald R. Drasheff told the Reporter that parking is always a major concern when developers pitch new projects.
“Parking is the main concern. If there’s resistance from existing residents it’ll be on parking. The future of the town will rest on going up into the air,” said Drasheff. “The only place we have to go is up.”
The biggest project involving commercial development is the long-discussed closing of the nursing home at Kennedy Boulevard East and 69th Street. A proposal for a multi-story residential building on the site has been approved by the Planning Board and the county, and the town is waiting for plans to be submitted to the building department for preliminary review.
“That’s a first real major development in town in a long time and we want to see it happen,” said Drasheff. “It will probably take a year or two to come online. Meanwhile the nursing home is still functioning as a nursing home.”
Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli said that he sees a trend in regard to residential development in his city.
“We have people that are buying older homes that have been here for years and either knocking them down or expanding older homes, which is a very positive thing,” he said.
One such development is a $10 million 62-unit residential structure at 10th Street and Meadowlands Parkway. The developers, Hartz Mountain Industries, which completed a 116-unit complex in 2012, expect to complete the project by the end of 2016.
Meanwhile Xchange at Secaucus Junction, a residential and commercial site that opened as a counterpart to the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station, expanded in 2015 and continues today.
The site’s developers, Atlantic Realty Development Corporation, are currently working to build a 314-unit building as part of the project. In all the $127 million development will total 1,384 units when complete. According to the Secaucus Building Department, a date for project closeout has not been established.
Union City is dense and landlocked, but is still seeing new projects.
Among the larger approvals recently was a 72-unit residential building and commercial space at 116-120 Peter St. and 121 34th St. The development, which was approved last November, will have 111 parking spaces. But there was no word from the realty group on what the commercial space will contain.
Chartier Development Group, based in Hoboken, recently completed a two-building “green” project Union Hill at Sixth Street and Palisades Avenue in Union City, with seven eco-friendly units. Tom Chartier describes Union Hill, a project that cost upwards of $2 million, as “environmentally sensitive and sustainable.” The two phases of the complex, which were approved by the zoning board in 2002 and 2003, are located on two adjacent properties. In all, the project consists of three townhomes and four three-bedroom apartments.
West New York
Hovnanian Enterprises is continuing their part of the 200-acre, two-mile Port Imperial development along the Hudson River in Guttenberg, West New York, and Weehawken. It spans the same length as 33rd to 85th streets in Manhattan.
Timetabled for a 2018 project closeout, representatives of Hovnanian – the state’s largest homebuilder – began work in November on a new 278-unit residential condo building on the waterfront.
Delayed by the 2008 recession, Hovnanian’s new 13-story building is situated on a 2.8-acre lot in the area of the Port Imperial ferry terminal. When complete, residents will be able to take a short walk to the ferry or Hudson Bergen Light Rail.
The project is part of a redevelopment plan passed by the West New York Board of Commissioners in May 2014 that looks to create a mixed residential community consisting of approximately 4,060 apartment and condominium units, 100,000 square feet of neighborhood retail space, and associated uses, including roadways, parking facilities, walkways, parks, and other recreational amenities.
Roseland Properties' vision to create a Port Imperial neighborhood rife with shops, restaurants, and parks, overlooking the Hudson River continues to thrive.
Following the success of 1000 Avenue, developer Lennar Urban is underway with 1200 Avenue’s first closings. 1200 Avenue at Port Imperial opened in September with a total of 103 units. The seven-story, 103-unit luxury condominium building on Weehawken’s Hudson River waterfront is just a fraction of the $2 billion master-planned Port Imperial community.
Nearby, also from Roseland, the 10-story RiverParc complex at Port Imperial opened in May, boasting 280 luxury rentals, an outdoor terrace, and in-house cinema. Both developments have drawn substantial interest from tenants since their opening, with the community hoping to form a new “downtown” on the riverfront.
Township workers continue construction on a linear park along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway just south of the Port Imperial ferry terminal. The new open space will feature playgrounds, an overlook garden, and refurbished steps leading to Boulevard East.
Bayonne is seeing several massive residential projects.
New development at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, the former Military Ocean Terminal (MOT), is preparing to start in 2016. The last three lawsuits filed against the city were settled, jumpstarting the economic driver Bayonne has sought since the early 2000s.
Plans were approved for residential units at Harbor Station North, and shovels are expected to hit the ground in the summer. The Peninsula’s existing residential development, Alexan CityView, was sold in September and is now Harbor Pointe.
In all, preliminary plans include as many as 2,500 residential units, a hotel, corporate offices, an outdoor retail center, a park, an extension of the Hudson River walkway, a pedestrian bridge going over Route 440 to provide access to the 34th Street Light Rail station, another pedestrian bridge linking the MOT to South Cove Commons, and a ferry service to New York City.
Elsewhere, a plan for what would be the tallest building in Bayonne was approved last August. The 22-story “North Street Project” will be a 244-foot mixed-use tower near the Eight Street Light Rail station.
The tower will consist of 170 residential units. The plans include an option to build a second tower of the same height.
Promenade at Bayonne, spearheaded by Kaplan Companies at the southwest corner of the city, is slated to start construction soon. The 44-acre site along the Kill Van Kull Waterfront and Newark Bay will contain four parks and a river walk.
In the early fall of last year, the first phase of the project was approved, which will consist of two $60 to $70 million five-story towers with ground-level parking, according to James Kaplan.
That money will partly go to constructing the towers, with some put on reserve for additional work at the site.
Ultimately, that parcel of land will house over 2,000 units and over 100,000 square feet of non-residential space. The variety of housing types will include townhouses and stacked flats of one-, two-, and three bedrooms between 750 to 1,900 square feet.
According to developer Lance Lucarelli of the L Group, a multi-story residential complex at the former Bayonne Community Bank at 5th Street and Broadway is expected to start construction in September and be completed by 2018.
The site was designated an area in need of redevelopment last June. The BCB Bank Redevelopment Plan is for property at 9, 11, 15 and 17 West 5th St. and 155, 157, 159, and 161 Broadway in city Block 330, Lots 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 11, and 12, according to City Planner Sue Mack.
The overall project site sits at the west side of Fifth Street, the southern starting point of Bayonne’s main commercial corridor of Broadway, and includes properties going up Fifth Street toward Avenue C. The site is in the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone, and is part of the city’s 8th Street Rehabilitation Plan. The area features diverse retail establishments, including restaurants, bars, and banks.
The L Group plans to build a $35 million, 80,000-square-foot rental complex with between 70 and 80 units. The residences will be a mix of studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments. There will also be first-floor retail with one or two businesses.
The other development focal points are 23rd to 24th streets on Broadway, where a medical arts building will be built, and on 46th Street and Broadway, where the L Group will construct another multi-story residential complex.
In September, on 14th Street and Broadway, developer Mitchell Burakovsky began work on a 38-unit residential development, in part to help revitalize the area. But there was opposition from those who feel the development’s residents will take away on-street parking in a neighborhood already dealing with parking problems.
That project, which currently does not have a name, is located at 304 Broadway and set for an April 2017 close-out, Burakovsky told the Reporter.
Another project by the same developer, dubbed “Sky Development,” is still in planning stages. That project consists of two buildings each six stories and 190 units at 14th Street and Broadway.
Baker Residential of White Plains, N.Y., has revived a residential project slated for the former site of the Hi-Hat Caterers at190 West 54th St., according to President Christopher Baker. Construction on it started in the fall of 2007, but the project was shelved the next year. A new site plan was then developed by Baker and resubmitted to the city. What had been plans for 158 large two- and three-bedroom condominium homes was changed to 248 apartments -- studios, one-, and two-bedroom -- more in line with what residents are seeking today.
Since approval of that plan in the summer last year, the $60 million project is moving ahead, with Baker currently arranging funding. Project amenities include a fitness center, club room, pool, planted area, and roof terrace.
The Park Bayonne project on 44th Street and Kennedy Boulevard is complete. Lance Lucarelli’s firm, The L Group, is the developer of 60-unit, seven-story Park Bayonne at 1040 Kennedy Blvd., across from Stephen R. Gregg Park.
Meanwhile, City Lights at Bayonne, at Dodge Street and Broadway, was completed at the end of 2015. The roughly $8 million, five-story, 53,000-square-foot complex will feature 28 rental units starting at $1,725 and $2,050 a month.
Near Newark, a 329-unit residential development called “Harrison Station” began leasing just prior to 2016 getting underway. The residences, by Ironstate Development Company and The Pegasus Group, are located a stone’s throw from the Harrison PATH Station at 330 Angelo Cifelli Drive.
The completion of the building is the third phase of a multi-phase developers are executing adjacent to the Harrison PATH station, spearheading the revitalization of the once industrial town.
The project’s first two phases, which are completed and occupied, include 275 apartments and more than 20,000 square feet of street-level retail space. Upon project closeout, the development will feature 2,250 residences and 80,000 square feet of retail space, in addition to a 138-key Element hotel.
Parks and recreation
With new developments in Hudson County come new families, and that means a need for new playgrounds.
A new special needs playground officially opened at DiDomenico 16th Street Park in Bayonne last October. The area is located near the park’s tennis courts and includes amenities geared to facilitate the disabled.
Renovations are also on the way for Dennis P. Collins Park, Edward Clark Park and Francis G. Fitzpatrick Park, according to Business Administrator Joseph DeMarco.
Spokesperson Jennifer Morrill says Jersey City has invested over $6 million in renovating park space citywide. The city currently has nearly 60 parks in all.
The newly reconstructed playground in Janet Moore Park on Ogden Avenue cut a ribbon in December for over $200,000 in renovations. Leonard Gordon Park on Manhattan Avenue – commonly called “Mosquito Park” – will also see significant work.
The flagship of park development, part of an “aggressive implementation” of the city’s Park Master Plan developed in 2008 made by the Fulop Administration, is Berry Lane Park. Later this spring, the 17.5-acre municipal park in the heart of Bergen Lafayette is expected to break ground.
In Hoboken parks have become synonymous with flood-retention.
The city is currently working on three “resiliency parks” with built in water retention system to lessen flooding throughout the city: the Southwest Park, Seventh and Jackson Streets Park & Plaza and what would be the northwest’ largest park, a 6-acre colossus at the BASF site.
Weehawken and Union City cooperated in September to save a 14.4-acre former reservoir on the border of both cities by opening Palisade Avenue Reservoir Park. The reservoir will be conserved as a park indefinitely. It closes at dusk.
West New York is seeing renovations to Donnelly Park near Blvd East in West New York.
In North Bergen, closer to the border of Jersey City, work on the 11-acre Hudson Mews residential development continues. The property will also see a 1.5-acre park. The park, which will likely be dubbed “Paterson Plank Road Park,” will be “biggest park in downtown North Bergen,” town spokesperson J.P Escobar said. Designs are still in their infancy for the park, which is slated to be complete by 2017.
What’s trending in transportation
In terms of transportation, Hudson County commuters will see a wealth of new perks made available in the coming year.
In 2016, NJ Transit will roll out “extended cars” on the popular Hudson Bergen Light Rail system, with seating capacity boosted from the current 68 passengers to a 102-seat layout.
But putting the “Bergen” in Hudson Bergen Light Rail is still a work in progress after many years. A route from North Bergen – where the light rail currently concludes – to Englewood Hospital has already been drawn up.
“We are currently reviewing comments made to us from the Federal Transit Administration on a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was received in mid-January,” said NJ Transit Senior Public Information Officer, Lisa Torbic. “We expect to submit our reply comments to the FTA soon and we have no estimated timeline of when they will respond to these comments.’’
The Port Authority-run PATH train system is also in an expansion stalemate. In 2014, the Port Authority hired a firm to determine the feasibility of extending the PATH to Newark Liberty International Airport. But the future of the plan is uncertain.
Hudson County residents also take ferries, buses, and NJ Transit trains into New York City and elsewhere.
The Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program (BBNCP) to raise the Bayonne Bridge’s roadway began in 2008. The large scope of the project will ultimately raise the bridge nearly 65 feet so that taller ships can pass underneath.
When the new road is completed in early 2018, the bridge will allow supersized vessels to pass underneath, and create more than $1.5 billion in regional economic activity.
On the brink of 2016, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey agreed to move forward with plans to construct a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River. The Gateway Trans-Hudson Tunnel Project proposed by Amtrak will cost an estimated $20 billion. It would build two new Hudson River tunnel tubes and several bridges. It will expand Penn Station and add two new tracks between Newark and New York, thus doubling trans-Hudson rail capacity.
Steven Rodas can be reached at email@example.com.