Two 47-Story Residential Towers Approved Near the GW Bridge
By Antoinette Martin
FORT LEE, NJ-After six sometimes contentious public hearings, final approval was granted for the first phase of a $1 billion downtown redevelopment project that will send two 47-story towers soaring upward to become the tallest structures in Bergen County.
The vote to approve The Modern, as the project is now being called, was unanimous. It will be built by Fort Lee Redevelopment Associates, a partnership of SJP Residential Properties, Bergen County attorney James Demetrakis and real estate investment firm Palisades Financial.
FRLA had originally proposed three towers, but negotiated with the Borough Council on design and mass of the first phase of the project, which will include: the two towers with 902 rental units, a restaurant, snack kiosk, three-screen movie theater, museum, and a public park.
The western half of the community’s 16-acre redevelopment area south of the George Washington Bridge is owned by Illinois-based Tucker Development Corp., which plans to develop it later.
Borough officials have been pushing for a major project to revitalize Fort Lee’s faded and cramped downtown area for several decades. They are anxious for work to get underway and to enhance the town’s tax base, planning officials said. The Planning Board must still follow legal steps to air the formal contract with FLRA and take additional comments, however.
The Modern’s glass-walled towers will each contain 450 luxury rental apartments, with a mix of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences that offer views of the Hudson River, Manhattan skyline, George Washington Bridge and surrounding landscape. Construction is expected to begin this summer, says Allen Goldman, president of SJP Residential and the managing member of FLRA.
“We are creating an icon that will forge a strong identity for Fort Lee as a destination for luxury living,” says Goldman. He also tells GlobeSt.com that the community will have energy-efficient systems throughout.
FLRA will invest $500 million in the towers to be located at 100 and 800 Park Avenue (formerly known as Martha Washington Way), which will each have adjoining parking garages.
The Modern will feature 70,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor resort-style amenities, including a spa, in each tower. An Internet lounge with WiFi and printers is planned for each tower.
The Modern will have covered dog walking areas and pet spas, and indoor and outdoor children’s play areas, 24/7 concierge and doorman service as well as package and dry cleaning reception areas and refrigerated storage. The residences will be available for occupancy as of summer 2014.
The two towers will rise between a 1.75-acre acre public park that with water features and walking paths. A 7,000-square-foot restaurant with indoor and open-air dining is to be situated within the park.
At past hearings, some residents offered serious concerns about traffic snarls that could be generated with dense development so close to a bridge entrance.
However, Planning Board chairman Herbert Greenberg said after the approval vote that while some may still object to the project, it will generate tax revenue the borough badly needs to move into the future.