Even in a struggling economy, new residential complexes are rising in Jersey City. Last week, developers hosted ceremonies for the Monaco, a $210 million development featuring two 50-story rental towers on Washington Boulevard, and 225 Grand, a 15-story, 348-unit luxury rental building on Grand Street.
On Tuesday, local politicians and the developers of 225 Grand gathered for its grand opening, which included a tour of some apartments and the unveiling of a custom cake modeled after the building, created by Buddy Valastro. Valastro is better known as “The Cake Boss” of Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken.
On Thursday, state and local officials joined developers and construction workers for a “topping off” of The Monaco, which marks the completion of the buildings’ highest floors.
“We are really proud to be opening this building in a challenging market.” – David Barry
Although it is not a finished product, the fact that the Monaco has been built up to the 50th floor was cause enough for a topping off celebration Thursday morning.
The Monaco will include 524 residences, a 558-space parking garage, and 11,900 square feet of retail space. It is within walking distance of the Powerhouse Arts District, the Newport community, and the Hudson River waterfront. A representative for the project said prices for the apartments have not yet been set.
Along with developers and officials, 400 construction workers were on hand to acknowledge the moment.
While most of the hardhats were enjoying a catered lunch, Carl Goldberg of the Roseland Property Company – part of the developer triumvirate responsible for the Monaco – said the continued construction of the Monaco is “about jobs.”
“It’s about jobs in one of the most difficult, macroeconomic conditions the construction industry has ever seen,” Goldberg said.
The other development companies involved are Hartz Mountain and Garden State Development.
Besides praising the workers, Goldberg gave kudos to the banks that were willing to finance the project – when most lenders shied away from large-scale projects. The project’s lenders included the Bank of America, TD Bank, and PNC Bank.
Among those who were happy about the Monaco was Jean Marie Sullivan, a Jersey City resident who does plumbing work on the building as member of Plumbers Local 24. She became a union plumber as the result of training in the Jersey City Pre-Apprentice program in 2005.
Sullivan has worked on the Monaco project for about a month, doing fireproofing and caulking, her first major job after working on smaller construction projects in the city.
“It’s awesome because everybody works together,” Sullivan said. “And I get this great view of the Hudson River.”
The downpour of rain on Tuesday evening didn’t stop about 100 people from showing up for the grand opening of 225 Grand.
The rental building on Grand Street has 700 square feet of retail space and an enclosed parking garage with 350 spaces. The location is less than five blocks from the Grove Street PATH Station and is within walking distance of the Jersey Avenue light rail station.
The building is the joint effort of Ironstate Development Company, which is a subsidiary of Hoboken-based Applied Development Company, and Kushner Real Estate Group.
Those attending included Mayor Jerramiah Healy and an entourage of city officials who were given a guided tour of different parts of the building. Apartments start at $1,900 for one-bedroom. Prices for two-bedrooms were not offered.
Visitors first saw a monitor in a lounge area near the lobby that showed a computerized map of not just the neighborhood surrounding 225 Grand, but other areas of Jersey City. That prompted Healy to jokingly ask whether he could find Boulevard Drinks, the famous hot dog stand located in Journal Square, on the map
Next it was onward and upward to the fifth floor, where a spacious two-bedroom overlooked the Marin Boulevard side of the building. Viewers were able to watch the St. Peter’s Prep lacrosse team in a match.
Then it was a walk over to a one-bedroom apartment followed by a visit to the fitness center, one of 225 Grand’s major amenities. The building also has a rooftop pool, which was not open due to the rain.
The guests then milled around the lobby to enjoy cocktail hour while David Barry, one of the principals in Ironstate Development, spoke in an interview about the project being completed during an economic downturn.
“It is really satisfying because we have been working on this project for a long time,” said Barry. “And we are really proud to be opening this building in a challenging market.”
Healy was also appreciative and praised the developers for their effort, calling 225 Grand a “great project.”
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.