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Thread: Jersey City Rising

  1. #61
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    Interesting comparison, Kram. *It's certainly true that rivalries exist between cities and their suburbs—or, in the case of Washington and Baltimore, twin cities.

  2. #62
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    I've heard from some news sources that downtown JC is somewhat desolate if you factor out all the new office development—not many residential or worker amenities, few shops or restaurants, etc. *A columnist in the Post a while back said that downtown JC was only marginally better than downtown Dallas. *Is that necessarily true?

  3. #63
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    Thats not true I go down there all the time. We have a large mall called Newport, new residences have gone up, and there are a large amount of shops and restaurants in the area that have gone up since that coloumn was published, especially in the newport area. Quite a few have gone up around Exchange Place as well.

  4. #64

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    July 4, 2003

    New Condos Move Inland From Water in Jersey City


    Housing development is marching inland from the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City, its focus changing to condominiums rather than the rental apartments that dominate the water's edge.

    Evidence of the shift are two sizable condo projects — one under way, the other planned — on Montgomery Street, west of the shoreline.

    The larger of the projects is a 113-apartment complex named Montgomery Greene for its location at the corner of Montgomery and Greene Streets, two blocks from the riverfront. Construction is to start in December on its 19-story tower with 108 apartments and a connecting six-story building with five full-floor lofts.

    The new structures will replace the parking lot and two vacant brownstones now on the site. KOR Companies of Wall, N.J., in a joint venture with Time Equities of Manhattan, is developing the $41 million project, which will also have a 124-car garage and ground-floor stores.

    The other building, with 46 condos now on the market for sale, is at Montgomery and Grove Streets, eight blocks from the shoreline. A seven-story building is rising on the site, formerly occupied by part of the Majestic Theater, which was built in 1907. The old theater's rear lobby, which is to be refurbished, will be the entrance to the new building.

    The theater's front lobby is in a three-story building on Grove Street that, as part of a larger project, is being renovated along with three adjacent buildings dating from 1897 to 1930. The ground-floor space is being rented to retailers, the theater is being marketed to small non-chain users and the upper levels are initially being shown to service users like doctors, according to Exeter Property Company, the developer of the $20 million project.

    By the end of the year, several other condo projects are expected to be under way on and around Montgomery Street, totaling 200 apartments, said Robert P. Antonicello, a principal of the ACI Group, a real estate services company in Jersey City. In addition, a 34-story, 523-apartment tower is planned along with a hotel on a site across Newark Avenue from the Grove Street PATH station. Its developer, Schenkman/Kushner Affiliates of Bridgewater N.J., has not yet decided whether the housing will be rental or condo. Construction is to start next spring.

    Mr. Antonicello said that for many years developers viewed the city's growth corridor "as the narrow band at the river's edge." Today, he added, little developable land remains on the shoreline, pushing the growth inland. A weakened rental market, he said, was also encouraging developers to put up condos.

    He estimated the riverfront rental vacancy rate at 7 percent, up from 3 or 4 percent last year, and said that average rents had fallen by 10 percent, to $24 a square foot annually, or about $2,000 a month. And low mortgage rates, he said, have encouraged people to invest in real estate rather than in the stock market.

    Harry Kantor, president of KOR, which is primarily known as a suburban housing developer, said that earlier this year his company bought the Montgomery Greene site, which is near the Exchange Place PATH station and the historic Paulus Hook neighborhood, as a way to diversify. The complex was originally conceived as a rental. But Mr. Kantor said his company redesigned it as a condo to take advantage of the strong for-sale market.

    The studio to two-bedroom apartments will have 500 to 1,400 square feet. Initial prices are from $162,500 to $735,000, or $325 to $525 a square foot. Prices for the lofts are not yet set. Sales are to start this fall.

    The steel skeleton for the Majestic Theater Condominiums is rising and, along with four renovated buildings, transforming a site across Grove Street from City Hall. Exeter Property was chosen in 2000 as the site's developer by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, which foreclosed on the property in 1997.

    Eric Silverman, Exeter's president, said that while the project was blocks from the water, it was near the PATH station on Grove Street, which was filling up with restaurants and boutiques, and was in the Van Vorst Park Historic District.

    Mr. Silverman said he started the building as a rental but changed to a condo because people, helped by historically low interest rates, "want to invest in the city."

    The building will have studio to three-bedroom apartments, with 700 to 1,500 square feet. The building's lobby, once part of the old theater, includes a 35-foot-high domed ceiling and such decorative touches as 13 plaster angels.

    Since sales began seven weeks ago, 30 apartments have been sold. Prices have been raised 5 to 15 percent, to $175,000 to $500,000, or $310 to $330 a square foot on average. Completion is expected in January.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  5. #65

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    Is it just me or does the images posted by NYatKNIGHT on 12:29 pm on June 25, 2003 look like the Two International Finance Centre in hong kong

  6. #66

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    We discussed their similarities before, in another thread.
    Those pictures are excellent, btw.

  7. #67

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    As a former Manhattanite who was first driven to Brooklyn and then Jersey City, I understand why NYer's as so upset by NJ's "leeching" off of NYC. *Everytime I saw a new tower going up in Jersey City, *I'd wonder with irritation, "Why!? Why not Brooklyn?" *But slowly, I came to realize why. *There's no real competition between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and Manhattan controls the cards. *It took NJ to finally make NYC realize its neglect of Brooklyn. * But it's a little too late. *

    Developers and bankers have very little vision. *They need to see somebody else making money before they invest in a place. *Jersey City has, in no way, reached its full potential, but I dare anyone to come visit it and not see it HAS potential. *I had been looking to buy an apartment for a while. *I couldn't rationalized Manhattan's prices and the few neighborhoods in Brooklyn worth living in are overpriced as well. *So I gave NJ a look and found, behind that JC skyline, three historic brownstone neighborhoods built around parks. *(Bet you NYC faithfuls didn't know JC had history.) *I decided to put aside my NJ prejudice (afterall, it is this prejudice that makes Jersey City real estate affordable) and look at merely the facts: *its multiculturalism, beautiful buildings, easy commute, price and growth potential. *Why complain about JC's growth when I can take advantage of it?

    Once I made the decision, I also understood the NJ prejudice better. *Because it is so close, it is so EASY to make the jump from NY to NJ. *The barrier is not physical--why is the East River not a barrier?-- *it's psychological! *

    As for the *NJ/NY competition, both states are shooting themselves in the foot over the silly brawl. *For decades, big businesses have used this rivalry for their own gain. *They threaten to move to NJ, NYC capitulates and gives them HUGE tax breaks. *Giuliani had given away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks. *Thank goodness Bloomberg, who had been a finance CEO himself and know their game, called their bluff. * *I haven't heard a peep out of those rich companies since. *

    Let's face it, NYC has the prestige and the companies that value prestige will stay in NYC no matter what. *No free handouts needed. *But there are some companies that prefer value. *Let them come to NJ. *No need to give away the land. * *Why can't the two states cooperate and not let these companies take advantage of them? *

    If NYC would stop hoarding, NJ would not need to steal. *Because NJ, and especially JC, lives in NYC's great shadow it can never be a great city. *I see tons of people, myself included, *taking the path train to spend their money in NYC every weekend. * So, give us a break, why begrudge our attempt to make ourselves self-sufficient?

  8. #68
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    "I've heard from some news sources that downtown JC is somewhat desolate if you factor out all the new office development—not many residential or worker amenities, few shops or restaurants, etc"

    Yeah but if you consider Hoboken as part of the Jersey City Gold Coast that statement is false, Hoboken has excellent restaraunts and night life.

    I enjoy going to Hoboken on Friday and Saturday nights, when My girlfriend and I marry (hopefully soon) we hope to get an apartment in Hoboken.

    Her father works in Hoboken and owns a couple homes there, however renting an apartment from a inlaw might be wierd.

  9. #69
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    Yea but think once the residential buildings on the drawing board goes up and PATH between WTC and Exchange Place is restored, I think it will be the way it use to be b4 9/11 when after 6:00 people still stayed around and hung out around da bars and restaurants. Lower Manhattan is also having the same problems as downtown JC no ones around too much after 6:00

  10. #70
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    Luxury Condos Get Site Approvals
    By Eric Peterson
    Last updated: Jul 29, 2003 *10:12AM

    JERSEY CITY, NJ-Local officials have given KOR Cos. the necessary site plan approvals to proceed with a 113-unit high-rise residential condo project called Montgomery Greene in this city's midtown area. Company officials say they expect to break ground next spring, and are targeting a summer of 2005 occupancy.
    The 20-story luxury building, which is being designed by the local architectural firm of Lindemon Winckelmann Dupree Martin and Associates, will also include some 4,000 sf of ground-floor retail space, as well as 125 spaces of covered parking. The units themselves will include a mix of loft, studio, one- and two-bedroom residences.

    KOR Cos., based in Wall Twp., NJ, is a developer of industrial, office and residential properties. Company officials have not released any cost figures on Montgomery Greene.

  11. #71
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    Wall Street West
    JC keeps attracting financial companies despite wooing from Big Apple
    By John A. Martins
    Reporter staff writer August 03, 2003

    GOLD COAST GLORY - Waterfront employees making their way home from work on a typical evening use the trains, buses and light rail cars that make up the area's multi-faceted public transportation system.

    Business advocates in Lower Manhattan are trying to lure Jersey City companies back to New York, but firms in the financial services sector are continuing to set up shop along New Jersey's Gold Coast.

    Recently, the staff at both the New York Economic Development Corporation and the Alliance for Downtown New York unveiled an aggressive mailing campaign to increase awareness about the various benefits of doing business in Lower Manhattan. Targeting small and medium-sized businesses across the region, the mailing campaign included 326 mailings that went out specifically to companies in New Jersey, the majority of which are located along the Hudson River.

    But financial firms are continuing to resist the lure.

    Boston-based Fidelity Investments, the largest mutual fund company in the nation, celebrated the establishment of its ninth regional site at Jersey City's Harborside Financial Center Monday in a ceremony overlooking the Jersey City waterfront from the 10th floor of Harborside's Plaza 5 building. Government officials like Gov. James McGreevey, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham were in attendance.

    Citing the many fiscal incentives and other attractions that make New Jersey - and Jersey City - so attractive to business leaders, Fidelity executives said that putting roots in Jersey City just made sense.

    "Jersey City is successful because you have adapted to a new way of doing business," said David Weinstein, an executive vice president at Fidelity. "We were attracted to [Jersey City's] labor pool, its telecommunications infrastructure and its proximity to New York City's capital markets."

    Such compliments are music to the ears of local officials and planners, who say that they have for years worked hard to make Jersey City a viable option for companies looking to expand or relocate operations across the Hudson River.

    But officials and planners in New York City aren't particularly thrilled about Jersey City's accolades.


    Brian Evans, a spokesperson at the Alliance for Downtown New York, declined to comment last week on the progress of the Big Apple's nascent marketing campaign, stating that it's too soon to tell how much interest the mailings generated.

    But insiders on both sides of the river have said that a rivalry between the two states has raged for more than 10 years, a situation most describe as a contest to see who can attract the most profit-generating businesses.

    Since 1996, the state has offered tax incentives to companies who either relocate or expand to New Jersey through the Business Employment Incentive Program [BEIP], said New Jersey Economic Development Authority spokesman Glenn Phillips. The program allows qualified businesses to earn up to 80 percent of the personal income tax withholdings from the new jobs created when they moved to the state.

    And although the program has served the state well in the seven years it has been in use, Phillips said that interstate competition for businesses is an inevitable fact of regional life.

    "There's competition among a lot of states with businesses," Phillips said. "We certainly recognize that New York and Pennsylvania will be trying to attract businesses. But New Jersey has a lot to offer. We have a great workforce and we're strong in the financial services sector and in high technology."

    Officials say it is precisely that strength in the financial services sector that state and local governments have seized in their business retention and acquisition plans.

    "We want New Jersey to be business-friendly and aggressively seek the financial services sector," McGreevey said last Monday. The best way in which to do that, he added, was to continue with New Jersey's tradition of facilitating both regulatory reforms and business support strategies.

    Jersey City has taken the lead throughout the state in its efforts at reigning in regional financial businesses, through both state-sponsored programs and local tax abatement issuances. Since 1996, more than 30 New York-based businesses were awarded approximately $362 million in BEIP grants for either relocating or expanding to Jersey City.

    As of last week, 11,192 new jobs had been created.

    "[Fidelity's presence in Jersey City] is a significant sign of the potential being realized within our city as a true business destination," Mayor Glenn Cunningham said in a release. "Jersey City, called Wall Street West by many, is more than just a viable option; it is a smart alternative to other locales for establishing corporate infrastructure."

    In addition, the increase of business activity isn't solely attributed to the strongly active economy in the years preceding the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, McGreevey said. Approximately 39,000 jobs were created in New Jersey since February 2003 through 449 projects that receive more than $750 million in financial assistance.


    Although Monday's ceremony marked Fidelity's intention to operate a regional site in Jersey City, the company has been present in town for more than two years. The company had kept a contingency site open at Harborside as normal procedure during its tenure at New York's World Financial Center.

    "Operations at Harborside made sense before 9/11," Weinstein said Monday. "After 9/11, when we were forced to work in a temporary space for 14 months, it reinforced our thinking."

    "Jersey City made sense for a few reasons," Weinstein added. "One is that it's both diversified from our Lower Manhattan operations but close to it. You have different power grids and traffic patterns. We were also very attracted to the business incentives in Jersey City, and being in the Enterprise Zone is very important. Those incentives are valuable."

    Two hundred and eighty employees currently work at Fidelity's Jersey City location. And 90 more employees are expected to relocate to the waterfront by the fall through Fidelity's recent acquisition of Correspondent Services Corporation [CSC], a subsidiary of UBS Financial Services, Inc. The CSC employees will be relocating from their previous facility in Weehawken.

    "We like to be in areas where there's a good labor pool that's specialized in our type of business," Weinstein said. "All you have to do is look around in Jersey City. Yeah, there are lots of competitors. But the employees in this region have been well-trained."

    Fidelity also operates five investor centers in the state, with locations in Morristown, Millburn, Paramus, Princeton and Red Bank.

    And although Weinstein said the company wasn't in a position to choose between New York City and Jersey City in selecting the location of its newest regional site, he acknowledged the fact that governmental bodies - from the state to the municipal level - do in fact compete with each other in harnessing businesses.

    "It's nice to have different states and communities fighting over us," Weinstein added. "They know we have really good, well-paying jobs that attract people. We just don't want to move [our New York headquarters] anymore. We ended up doing both things; we're in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. That diversifies our interests."

    "We're very pleased to be here," Weinstein added.

  12. #72
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    State Square
    $31M MXD Set to Rise in Journal Square
    By Eric Peterson -
    Last updated: Aug 25, 2003 *03:21PM

    JERSEY CITY, NJ-Ground has been broken for State Square, a 12-story building that will combine 130 apartments and 15,000 sf of ground-floor retailing when it's completed in about 18 months. The complex, which will rise on the site of the old State Theater in this city's Journal Square district, will include 30 low-income units within its apartment component and will have an eight-story, 395-car parking garage.
    The developer of State Square is a consortium whose principals include the Alpert Group, Applied Development Co., Panepinto Properties and former Congressman Frank Guarini. The project is also getting assistance from the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency.

    "We are extremely pleased to launch this project," according to principal Joseph Alpert, who notes that State Square marks the first new construction project in Journal Square in some 20 years.

    "Journal Square has already received substantial capital improvements over the past three years," Alpert says. "We believe we have come up with an important missing piece in the overall effort to revive Journal Square--providing a place for people to live in the downtown area."

    State Square will also be situated near one of the largest transportation hubs in the metro area, including the Port Authority of NY/NJ's Journal Square station for the PATH light rail system.

  13. #73

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    Great point yanni. When in downtown looking at JC, it makes you feel like you're really in an urban jungle---that the city just doesn't "end" at the river. We need places like JC to keep the whole region growing and compete with economic machines like Hong Kong. While I agree trying to take the Stock Exchange and Statue of Liberty away from NYC is bad-natured and it's things like that that make us hate each other. Also, most tourists see JC and think it part of New York.

  14. #74
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    Golf course part of plan for area's renewal

    Wednesday, August 20, 2003

    By Matt Porio
    Journal staff writer

    Hudson County golfers, still waiting for a planned Bayonne course, are a big step closer to playing in Jersey City.

    The Hoboken-based Applied Company put up $8.5 million for the 50 acres of vacant land at the Army Reserve Center, where a private 18-hole golf course and residences are planned near the Port Liberte waterfront in Jersey City, according to Barbara Netchert, assistant executive director at the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

    The Army Reserve Center will retain 20 acres of property that contain buildings and other facilities.

    Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham called the land transfer a "win-win for everyone" yesterday afternoon, following a ceremony for transfer of the property that included Army representatives and U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez, D-Hoboken.

    Jersey City residents, he said, will benefit from taxes paid on the property, while Army reservists who live in the Reserve Center will benefit from improvements to the facilities that can be paid for with the $8.5 million purchase price.

    According to Menendez, the land transfer "has been a long time in the making," referring to legislation passed in 1987 that authorized transfer of a large portion of the property to Jersey City and the state of New Jersey.

    "Today was a great sense of accomplishment," Menendez told The Jersey Journal yesterday afternoon.

    As part of the deal, Applied agreed to leave a swath of the land undeveloped as a possible realignment route for a section of Highway 185, which now has a sharp "hairpin curve" that could be straightened out if the highway is extended through the property, Netchert said.

    According to Netchert, the developer, who could not be reached for comment, is already engaged in environmental evaluation of the area, which will probably take another year to 18 months.

    She said it will probably be at least three to four years until development at the site is completed.

    The 20 acres of the site retained by the Army houses units of the 77th Regional Readiness Command and overlooks New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

    According to the Army, it served as a vital facility during the Cold War, and several members of the reserve units that occupy the site have been deployed for action in Iraq.

    "The base has always been a good neighbor," Cunningham said. "We all come out of this feeling good."

  15. #75
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    Paulus Hook serves a gateway, a turning point in city's history

    By John A. Martins
    Reporter staff writer August 24, 2003

    Note: This article is the first in a new series by the Jersey City Reporter called "Ethnic Neighborhoods."

    Since their beginnings, the communities in Jersey City have been in constant flux.

    Groups of people have come and been displaced by powerful or subtle forces. Even in the city's pre-Revolution days, when Dutch settlers regularly fought with the indigenous Native American tribes, Jersey City life was characterized by movement.

    Like many other communities across the country, Jersey City was shaped by various external factors. In pre-industrial times, when New York first began to grow as a megalopolis, Jersey City has existed in its shadow. Legal battles that decided ownership of waterfront property and port rights were won and lost, and both towns tried vigorously to grasp their share of the global commerce that the Hudson River and New York Harbor provided.

    Historically, people under the stress of famine and war were lured to Jersey City's shores by the hope of a better life. Ethnic groups settled in neighborhoods like Harsimus Cove and West Bergen, and each tried, over time, to assert its place as a power-player in the city. From humble beginnings as low-wage factory workers, some of the city's oldest families can boast sons and daughters who have risen to very enviable statures as commercial leaders and government officials. Jersey City's past is a story driven by the American dream.

    That trend, having grown stronger and stronger as the years went by, continues.

    Now that Jersey City is experiencing a decidedly new and important era of its history, a period often referred to as a "renaissance" that began in the 1980s and continues to the present, it is important to take a look at the city's past to glean insight into what lies ahead. Like the tidal waters that surround it, Jersey City ebbs and flows.


    The first region to be called Jersey City, Paulus Hook was named for a mid-17th century Dutch West India Company agent named Michael Paulusen. Originally a small island separated from the mainland by a marsh on the north and a creek on the west, it was connected to the mainland when a Dutch farmer by the name of Cornelius Van Vorst filled in the marsh and built a causeway over the creek. Paulus Hook is now bound by the Hudson River on the east, Marin Boulevard to the west, Christopher Columbus Drive to the north and the Morris Canal on the south.

    The area was used for years as a departure point for ferries to and from New York, and only in the early 1800s did businessmen begin to see Paulus Hook's potential. Alexander Hamilton, who served as treasury secretary under George Washington, formed the Associates of Jersey Company in 1804 to lease the land and develop it as a suburb of Manhattan.

    Adjacent to the thriving rail, industrial and commercial businesses on the waterfront, it grew in the 19th century into a dense mixed-use neighborhood that featured ornate private rowhouses for the city's wealthy, and tenement buildings for the city's not-so-fortunate residents. There were also businesses catering to every imaginable need.

    The area is rife with historical milestones: DeWitt Clinton invented the steam engine at a building on Grand and Greene streets. Legendary New Jersey Gov. A. Harry Moore was raised in Paulus Hook. The southwest corner of Washington and Grand - on which now stands the Cornelia F. Bradford School - was the original site of the Mayor's Mansion and the first Jersey City Post Office.

    As its industrial role grew with the success of companies like American Sugar and Colgate-Palmolive, the neighborhood was transformed into a primarily working-class enclave of Eastern European immigrants from countries like Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Germany.

    Residents worked nearby at either the railroads or Colgate-Palmolive or further away at Kearny's Western Electric and New York's meatpacking plants.


    "Paulus Hook was always a great melting pot," says Barbara Bromirski, a fourth-generation member of a Polish family that runs a funeral home on Warren Street. "It was primarily Eastern European, and before that it was German and Irish."

    Because the area was so compact, a tightly-knit community emerged. Churches dotted the landscape of brick row-houses. There was a tavern on almost every corner. Felix "Phil" Orzechowski owned a tavern at 64 Morris St. he liked to call "The House of All Nations."

    "Everybody knew everybody who lived in the Paulus Hook area because all the children went to school together," Bromirski said. "We went to all different churches, but you socialized together. In the evenings, when the men came home from work, after you ate supper, everyone would sit out on their stoops. Brooklyn and Jersey City are the only two places in the country that use that word. The mothers would sit out there, the kids would play together, and everyone would keep an eye on everyone's children."

    Added Bromirski, "Years ago, we had in the Paulus Hook area three butcher stores, four candy stores, two ice cream parlors, a dry cleaners and two bakeries (one was cake and bread and the other was strictly bread rolls and bagels). Every night, half the neighborhood would parade down to the bakery and buy hot, fresh rolls. We had a number of small, family-operated restaurants. Like the [still-existing] Flamingo, where you walk in and everyone knows you. It's sort of our own version of 'Cheers,' where everyone knows your name. We had a drug store. Mr. Cohen had a hardware store. The Strausses had a delicatessen. Mrs. Pinkus had a dry goods store."

    Grounded by a set of four corner parks at the intersection of Grand and Washington streets, the neighborhood contained characteristics of both a big city and a small town. People were known mostly by nicknames.

    "Everyone downtown had a nickname," Bromirski said. "We, as funeral directors, only found out these people's real names when they died."

    "You could've lived in Paulus Hook your whole life and never have set foot outside," she added.

    The close-knit character of the area persisted until the 1960s, when the same American dream that brought the Eastern Europeans to Paulus Hook also enticed them away from the bustling city, often toward the suburbs.


    "All the families moved away," Bromirski said. "People moved away because this was definitely a working-class neighborhood. They started to get wealthier and they moved out of town. They were all blue-collar workers and as they had children, and their children started growing up, they moved out into the suburbs to give their children something better than they had. They thought moving to the suburbs was going to be better. Even to this day, they come back and visit and say they wish they still lived in Jersey City. The first thing they'll say is 'We had it so good here. Nobody was rich, nobody really had much of anything, but we didn't know it. But we enjoyed it! Everyone got along.' "

    As years of neglect caused buildings to empty and wither away, the dense neighborhood became sparse, almost desolate. The King Gussie Flats, 80 units of housing over three buildings at Washington and Sussex streets, were taken down in the late 1960s. Multi-family buildings became parking lots. Companies started to move operations elsewhere. Even Colgate-Palmolive began to slowly phase out its operations. The neighborhood became an eyesore, and it seemed as if no one cared for it much.


    What turned the neighborhood around in the 1970s, however, was the vigilance of three city residents, said Bill Bromirski, Barbara Bromirski's brother and a former longtime Planning Board commissioner.

    "Joe Duffy, Ted Conrad and Owen Grundy raised the consciousness of historic districts in Jersey City," Bill Bromirski said. "It was their ball-busting that made us see the significance of our brick row-houses. Their efforts kept the neighborhood stable until all the development began to happen."

    That activism soon began to pay off extremely well. Savvy businesspeople in New York began to see a potential goldmine in Paulus Hook's old-world buildings and narrow streets. Professionals who worked in Lower Manhattan coveted the shorter commute and began to buy homes in the area. Entrepreneurs looking to get rich on rental income soon followed suit.

    The first condo conversion in Jersey City happened on Montgomery Street near Washington Street. In the early 1970s, developer Arthur Goldberg turned the old New Jersey Guarantee and Trust Company into a luxury apartment building. Even former County Executive Robert Janiszewski (who recently resigned from office during a corruption scandal) lived there for a time.

    Developers began to buy up property to build huge towers - both residential and commercial - on the waterfront. Although ferry service to New York from Paulus Hook had been discontinued in the 1960s, New York Waterway saw the nascent community as a potential market and opened up shop. The early- to mid-1980s saw people moving back into the neighborhood, instantly giving it a much-needed boost.

    "The major residential buildings brought a lot of life to an otherwise dead area," said Ron Smith, owner of the Light Horse Tavern on Washington and Morris streets. "People again started to value the neighborhood. It was a closer commute to Lower Manhattan than the upper west or east sides of Manhattan. People were looking for value. And the prices were much better here than they were in New York."

    The people on Paulus Hook's streets went from old-world factory workers with blue collars to fast-walking, fast-talking professionals.

    Development further north along the waterfront accelerated Paulus Hook's regeneration, but banking crises in the late 1980s caused the construction to come to a screeching halt.


    When he moved to Paulus Hook in 1989, Smith said that the "bubble had just burst." Real estate prices in the neighborhood kept declining until about 1992, the year Smith calls the trough of that particular economic cycle. As the economy was both stabilized and fueled by the national craze in the technology industry, the flow of investment money returned to Paulus Hook.

    Things went undeniably well for the rest of the 1990s until the recession that started before 9/11 was put into full motion by the terrorist attacks. Smith, however, thinks the current economic depression is just another cycle in the economic history of Jersey City.

    "In the next 12 to 18 months, you'll see things picking up," Smith said.

    Smith says Jersey City's position as "Wall Street West" - the designation given to the Exchange Place area of Paulus Hook because of all the financial services companies with operations there - is what will ultimately change the face of the city. Its infrastructure, proximity to roadways and airports and desirable work force will make Jersey City one of the most dynamic communities in the state. And when that happens, Smith said, Paulus Hook will be the biggest winner of all.

    "The significance of the development along the waterfront and what's happening west of Warren Street is only going to make Paulus Hook more desirable as a historical district, [especially because] of its trees, bricks and stone walkways," Smith said. "You have so much history here. In five or 10 years, this is going to be one of the most desirable areas in the state. It's going to be like Society Hill in Philadelphia or Charlestown in Boston."

    And that means more people with more money. If rents and property values continue to shoot upward, Paulus Hook will become the city's silk-stocking district. The wealthy professionals who work on Wall Street in New York - or at Wall Street West - moving into the neighborhood will shape it into an exclusive, high-income enclave.

    ©The Jersey City Reporter 2003 *

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