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Thread: Jersey City Rising

  1. #76

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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?"

    -TLOZ Link5

    That's the main difference between Jersey City and most other cities with a comperable Skyline (Albuqueque NM, Newark NJ, etc.). Most other cities have a large designated area for concerts and whatnot. Jersey City needs one of those. A concert area like that is planned for the base (or near the base) of the Goldman Sachs building, but I don't know if that's changed since they scaled it down. During July 4th there are occasional concerts on constructed-on-the-spot stages, but not much other than that.

    That's a qualm many downtown residents have, Just North of the already existing developments in the Newport area (accross from I think, where Columbus St. is in Manhattan ), there's a new large area being fit for construction, the people who live there already want more green space (parks public places, etc.), but the developers want to add residential High Rises, and I think office buildings may be in the mix there.

    However, things are changing, Many of the old warehouses(eyesores) of the early 20th Century and earlier, are being demolished or turned into affordable housing, (or in the case of one, it has a sign that says "Class A Office Space") which is making more areas more friendly and inhabitable.

    What Jersey city does have is impressive though, almost every office building has at least 6 restaurants or shops on the base floors. The Flamingo on Greene and Montgomery, 20 + shops and stores in the roughly 4- 6 square block Newport area (outside the Mall), and planty on the Southern end of Downtown in the small townhouses area.

    So while in some areas that lack amenities are changing, there are other places that are richly full of them.

  2. #77

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    Liberty Park is a good potential venue. It's well-situated, it has light-rail access, and there's a vast amount of space. I've seen them set up a temporary grandstand there (its was one July 4th, like you said); maybe they could make a permanent structure. It would have the skyline and the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop! Fantastic!

  3. #78

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    IN THE REGION | NEW JERSEY

    Rental Units Rising at Journal Square in Jersey City

    By ANTOINETTE MARTIN


    The 12-story State Square building is the first new construction in Journal Square in Jersey City in 15 years, occupying the site of the old State Theater movie house. The building will contain 130 apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail space at ground level, and a parking garage.

    JOURNAL SQUARE, with its bustling PATH train station, its ethnic restaurants, its dozens of little shops, an Art Deco Loew's movie theater and a statue of Jackie Robinson, is the acknowledged heart of Jersey City's downtown area. A building now going up will add some homes to that heart.

    In the first new construction at Journal Square since an office building opened in 1988, a 12-story, 130-unit rental apartment building is being built on the site of the old State Theater movie house, which was set aside for redevelopment some years ago.

    The apartments will be a mix of one-bedroom and studio layouts, with 30 units reserved for low-income occupants, said David Barry, president of the Applied Development Company of Hoboken, part of a consortium doing the construction with financing from federal, state and local redevelopment funds. The 100 other units will be leased at market rates.

    The new building, called State Square, will have an eight-level parking garage at its core and 100,000 square feet of retail space at its base — with shops on John F. Kennedy Boulevard in the front of the building and on Sip Avenue at the rear.

    The 395-car garage, which city planners say will provide much-needed relief to congested Journal Square, will have an entry ramp on Kennedy Boulevard and an entry ramp and an exit way on Sip Avenue.

    Inside the building, one hallway — a "single-loaded corridor," Mr. Barry said — will serve both shoppers leaving their cars in the garage and those who live in the building.

    "The city wanted to see parking there for the merchants in Journal Square," Mr. Barry said. "But they didn't want to have parking visible from Kennedy. So, the design we came up with is all apartments on the Kennedy side and on the four floors above the garage."

    The design for the Sip Avenue side will "blend in" with the neighborhood, said Joseph Alpert, president of the Alpert Group of Fort Lee, another principal in the $31 million project.

    "Journal Square has already received substantial capital improvements over the past three years," Mr. Alpert said, "new and renovated office space, commercial stores and restaurants, the newly renovated Loew's theater and several buildings belonging to Hudson Community College.

    "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."

    BESIDES Applied, which has completed a number of high-profile urban projects in the last few years, and Alpert Group, the consortium includes Panepinto Properties, Harwood Properties and a former district congressman, Frank Guarini.

    The Journal Square redevelopment effort was started almost a decade ago, with the busy PATH commuter station as the catalyst, Mr. Alpert said.

    Local architecture fans have also been raising funds and working with City Hall all that time to restore the Art Deco Loew's building as a nonprofit arts and entertainment center. Four years ago, the square was refurbished with a pedestrian area featuring fountains, old-fashioned lampposts and the statue of Jackie Robinson — who broke baseball's color line, playing his first major league game at Jersey City's old Roosevelt Stadium in 1946.

    Ground was broken last month for the apartment building, at 2 Journal Square, a block south of the Kennedy overpass. The foundation is laid, and the pilings are in place. The entire job will take about 18 months, Mr. Alpert said.

    The State Square project will be the first housing with a Journal Square address, he noted, although there are single-family and multifamily homes and two renovated older apartment buildings in the surrounding neighborhood.

    Construction financing for the project was arranged with $20 million from a combination of taxable and tax-exempt bonds issued by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, a $600,000 federal loan funneled to the project by Jersey City and $600,000 through another state housing construction loan program.

    Mr. Barry said the redevelopment site was "ideally located" near one of the Port Authority's largest metropolitan transit hubs. "From Journal Square," he said, "commuting by public transportation is possible to Manhattan and Newark on the PATH trains, the buses, the ferries and every town in Hudson County on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail." New York Waterway ferry service is provided from Port Liberté in Jersey City, where Applied built the Port Liberté apartment development.

    But in Journal Square, Mr. Barry said, "we are kind of pioneering a new area, bringing the first residential redevelopment downtown."

    "Our company," Mr. Barry said, "is many times the first one into the pool, so to speak. With this project, we create a market in that square. When our building is done and leased, and we're getting the rents up, banks and lenders will be more open to other projects on other lots where the property may be underutilized."

    NOT that the project developers want to significantly change the character of Journal Square. "It's important to keep that retail element," Mr. Barry said. "It's a nice place to walk and shop, and that's one of the great things about Journal Square.

    Applied, which redeveloped the historic Essex and Sussex Hotel in Spring Lake as condominiums last year, is at work on several new phases of its Port Liberté development. Mr. Barry said 1,650 condos would be built at Port Liberté, starting with 57 high-end town homes right on the Hudson riverfront.

    In the oceanfront community of Long Branch, Applied is redeveloping a 16-acre property, where it is building 100,000 square feet of retail space and 320 rental units. And it is a co-developer, with Matzel & Mumford, of Beachfront North, a 15-acre parcel where town houses and condos are under construction.

    Applied, which built and manages the Shipyard residential complex on the Hoboken waterfront, is also working on another apartment tower there, to be called the Sovereign. In addition, Applied built the Palisades waterfront apartment tower in Fort Lee, which opened last year.


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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    Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    Slowly, the 34-story Harborside Financial Center Plaza 5 waterfront office tower is starting to fill up.

    Mack-Cali Realty Corp. announced yesterday that 20,664 square feet has been leased for 15 years to the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Thrift Supervision. This brings the 1 million-square-foot tower to 58.3 percent occupancy.

    The Office of Thrift Supervision is the main regulator of all federally chartered and many state-chartered thrift institutions, which include savings banks and savings and loan associations. It was established within the U.S. Treasury in 1989, and has four regional offices located in Jersey City, Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco.

    "This lease demonstrates both the appeal of Harborside to a diversity of businesses as well as our continuing ability to secure long-term leases with credit-quality tenants," said Mitchell E. Hersch, chief executive officer of Mack-Cali.

    Among the tenants in the $150 million, 480-foot-tall Plaza V, on Greene Street between Morgan and Pearl, are SunAmerica Asset Management Corp., Forest Laboratories, Inc., Fidelity National Financial and others.

    - Agustin C. Torres

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    the competion is fine between these two city, the problem is that while Jersy City builds, NYC debates about the Far West Side development, if they think 40 million square feet of office space can be built then i say build it. NJ is moving ahead while NYC trys to convince companies to relocate to Brooklyn and LIC. Dont they get it, its still in the city and those areas costs and taxes are still higher then Jersey City, so why bother relocating there

  6. #81

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    October 26, 2003

    POSTINGS

    In Jersey City, Medical Center Is to Become Apartments

    By RACHELLE GARBARINE


    Jersey City Medical Center buildings are to house 1,200 rental and condo units.

    When the Jersey City Medical Center finishes vacating its cluster of tall buildings in March, a second chapter is to begin for the battered Art Deco landmark, which rises on a promontory of the Palisade Cliffs in the center of the old port city.

    The plan is to convert eight brick and terra cotta buildings, 8 to 22 stories high, into 1,200 market-rate rental and condominium apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space. There will also be a preschool, an art and music center, a library and a museum on the medical center's history. Three low-rise medical center structures are to be razed for a garage for at least 800 cars.

    The 14-acre complex's distinct Art Deco profile, with stepped setbacks on the upper floors, is to be preserved. So will its two-acre front lawn, said George Filopoulos, president of Metrovest Equities of Manhattan, which the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency named last month to redevelop the 11 city-owned buildings in the complex.

    The medical center, which is on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, was built from 1928 to 1941. The now mostly vacant complex is considered too old and too big, and the hospital is relocating to a new home downtown, at Grand Street and Jersey Avenue.

    Suzanne Mack, executive director of the redevelopment agency, said Metrovest's plan "is sensitive to the complex's historic elements and in the community's best interest."

    Mr. Filopoulos said that prices in the complex, which offers views of Manhattan, are to be determined. The $200 million redevelopment, for which Mark Lipton and RKT&B are the architects, is to be completed in stages, from 2005 to 2007. The work is to include installing new mechanical systems and restoring the buildings' crumbling facades. Features such as terra-cotta panels with designs of fragmented circles, chevrons and zigzags will be preserved or recreated, as will decorative grillwork that edges the setbacks at the top of the buildings like a lacy border.


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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    This is a good sign. Those buildings have been creepy up til this point. I have freinds that go clear out of their way to avoid that hospital based on its looks alone. The new hospital is built close to the light rail between the Goldman Sachs building and Liberty Science Center, and looks state of the art. New investment into these buildings could really turn that area around (which is only a few blocks from Journal Square)!

  8. #83
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    Default Re: Jersey City Rising

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Wieland
    July 4, 2003

    New Condos Move Inland From Water in Jersey City

    By RACHELLE GARBARINE

    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
    Hudson Point and North Pier were the two I worked on.

    There are developments going in all the time, but the place is still pretty dead when it comes to things to do. If you are 16 it is fine to hang out at the mall, but there are still very few attractions.

    Coming from Hoboken, I van say that Hoboken has more Yuppie diversions, JC is turning into more of the "downtown" feel. I hope it continues, but I just wish they didnt build SO BIG so close to the water. When I first moved in, I could actually SEE the Statue of Liberty from what is now "Sinatra Drive", but the great seawall of JC is now blocking all vistas south.

  9. #84

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    November 2, 2003

    IN THE REGION | NEW JERSEY

    Thinking Small in Subleasing in Jersey City

    By ANTOINETTE MARTIN


    The view of Manhattan from Harborside Financial Center in Jersey City is a feature promoted by its brokers.

    CHARLES SCHWAB & COMPANY made the decision before the gleaming glass 19-story, 577,000-square-foot office tower built to its specifications on Jersey City's waterfront was even complete: go to Plan B.

    It was not that the building itself, Plaza 10 at Harborside Financial Center, had somehow fallen short. It was that the San Francisco-based brokerage house's need for it shrank in the economic downturns of late 2000 and 2001, as the structure was going up. Schwab had signed a 15-year lease for the entire structure, built and owned — until recently — by the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation. It put the entire building up for sublease in late 2001.

    After the Sept. 11 attack on the financial district in New York, two large financial service companies moved in: Mizuho Bank, a Japanese bank taking 107,000 square feet, and Instinet, an electronic brokerage service arm of Reuters, taking 144,000 square feet. The rest of Plaza 10 — 326,000 square feet — remained vacant, though, as the economic slump went on, new buildings continued to rise on the Hudson riverfront, and more and more sublease space was thrown onto the commercial office market.

    Last spring, Schwab and its brokers — Cushman & Wakefield and Handler Real Estate Services — decided it was time for Plan C: break up the floors of the building, if necessary, and recruit smaller tenants aggressively — offering them all the amenities Schwab had built into Plaza 10, as well as architects and builders to customize a tenant's space and a big break on the rent. Schwab's long-term lease is for $34 per square foot annually, but sublease deals of about $25-a-square-foot are being offered, for terms as short as five years or less.

    Schwab's real estate director, Paul J. McDevitt, said Cushman's broker-analysts came up with the approach. "Cushman recommended that this low-hanging fruit was being ignored by others," Mr. McDevitt said. "We thought we would take the opportunity to go after it."

    Jersey City has traditionally been sought after as a site for large administrative and back-office operations for Manhattan financial services firms and other corporations. But the market for such big-fish tenants has slowed drastically in the last several years.

    "UBS Paine Webber, over at the Newport Office Center VII, a stone's throw away, is in virtually the same situation as Schwab," said Richard Donahue, a Cushman broker, referring to the fact that that company has had a half-million square feet of space available for sublease for almost two years.

    He also mentioned a Goldman Sachs building nearing completion at the harborfront. Goldman Sachs has said it will occupy all of its own building, but brokers expect it will occupy only a fraction of it. Also, Lehman Brothers has 375,000 square feet on the market for sublease in Jersey City, he said.

    When these mammoth firms, and others, came to Jersey City in the 90's, "the market was hot as a pistol, with virtually no vacancy," Mr. Donahue said. "But financial service firms are not in an aggressive growth mode any longer — is that an understatement, or what?"

    Last summer, Schwab and Cushman held a large reception for real estate brokers to begin the new pitch to smaller users. "Mr. McDevitt made it irresistible for brokers to bring deals," said a Jersey City realtor, Skip Dolan, who heads Dolan Realty, which deals primarily with small-office tenants. "He said: `We will not be undersold.' "

    "I didn't let any grass grow under my feet," Mr. Dolan said. "I brought over eight tenants, and there are six transactions pending."

    Mr. Donahue, who is handling the Schwab subleasing for Cushman, said deals with five new tenants had closed in the last six weeks, and two more were on the brink.

    The seven deals will fill only 13 percent of the available space. "But we have momentum," Mr. Donahue said. "Obviously, it takes more time and work to fill a large office space with smaller tenants, but we are discovering there is a real market in it."

    THE new tenants at Plaza 10 include Park Avenue Capital, which will relocate from Park Avenue at 57th Street in Manhattan, taking 3,500 square feet; Unigestion Ltd., a Swiss financial firm opening its first United States office, taking 4,521 square feet; and Perr & Knight, an insurance company based in Pacific Palisades, Calif., opening its first East Coast location and taking 4,181 square feet.

    Two other tenants are relocating from within Jersey City: Arlington Hill Investment Management, taking 5,120 square feet, and Welgrow International, a shipping company, taking 3,972 square feet.

    Lease terms on the five new deals range from five to 15 years.

    One factor making the deals easier, Mr. Donahue said, is that Mack-Cali no longer owns the building, although it continues to manage it. Mack-Cali owns five other office buildings totaling more than three million square feet of Class A office space at Harborside Financial Center. Its agreement with brokers had been that any potential tenant shown space at Plaza 10 also had to be shown available space in the other buildings as well.

    Plaza 10 was sold on Sept. 29 to a Manhattan-based investor, IStar Financial, for $194 million. Real estate executives believe that is the highest price ever paid for a building in the area but noted it is still a bargain by Manhattan standards. The purchase price came to $336 per square foot. Last year, 399 Park Avenue, a trophy property in Manhattan, sold for more than $600 a square foot. The landmark G.M. Building recently sold for more than $800 a square foot.

    "When Mack-Cali sold," Mr. Donahue said, " the benefit for us was that it became wonderfully easy to go after tenants our own way. The complications with Mack-Cali disappeared." Mr. Dolan said he now told potential tenants for the Schwab building that "all tenants are being treated like 100,000-square-foot tenants."

    "Smaller companies needing space don't have the people in house to do a build-out when they sign the lease," Mr. Dolan said. "They don't have time to hire a contractor, an architect, etc. But Schwab is providing those things. If a tenant needs X number of private offices, a server room, a pantry and a certain size bullpen for its employees, they make their reqests — and within a few days' time, they get a set of plans."

    Paul Spiegel of Handler, the brokers working with Cushman, said the Schwab property raises the bar as to what is available to smaller tenants in the New York metropolitan area. The building offers space with substantial glass, partitioning and tenant-controlled air-conditioning, since the systems were installed floor by floor.

    If all that were to be available to a small tenant in Manhattan, it would almost certainly cost more than what Schwab is charging now, Mr. Spiegel said.

    In addition, he said, the Jersey City building has an added amenity: the view. "The best views of Manhattan, the Empire State Building and the George Washington Bridge are from the Jersey side of the Hudson," Mr. Spiegel said. "Everybody knows that."

    Mr. Donahue said he could not speculate on how long it might take to fill up the building, small tenant by small tenant. "All I know," he said, "is that this is working, after a long period of things that weren't working, so we're going with it."


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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    Liberty Science Center to expand
    $17 million OK'd project details sketchy

    Thursday, November 13, 2003

    By Rudy Larini
    Newhouse News Service

    A state agency laid the groundwork yesterday for the first major expansion of the 10-year-old Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.

    Members of the state Economic Development Authority approved borrowing $17 million to finance the design of the new Science Center exhibit space, the addition of 1,000 parking spaces and the renovation of the nearby railroad terminal building along the Hudson River in Liberty State Park.

    When construction of the Science Center expansion begins in about a year, exhibits in the science center will be relocated to the terminal building for the estimated 22 months of construction, according to Tom Vincz, an EDA spokesman.

    Dina Schipper, the Science Center's communications director, referred all questions about the expansion project, including its effect on attendance, to the EDA.

    "The EDA is running the project," she said, adding the venture is still in a very preliminary stage.

    "We don't have an architect, we don't have plans and we don't have a sense of what is going on," she said. "There is really nothing to talk about yet."

    Vincz said the expansion is "consistent with the goals and mission of the Science Center."

    "It is a cultural fixture and a learning resource for New Jersey schoolchildren, and more and more it is becoming a destination for families on day trips," he said. "That's where a lot of their attendance is coming from."

    He said the Science Center has the highest attendance per square foot of any similar science museum in the country.

    Walk-in admissions are running 17 percent ahead of projections for the current year, he said, with 186,028 visits compared with the projected 159,530. He did not have figures for class trips to the museum. The science center has attracted a total of 7 million visitors since it opened in 1993.

    Vincz said the actual expansion, with an estimated cost of roughly $85 million, will add new exhibits to the center's three themed fields of health, inventions and the environment. Each theme occupies a floor of the 160,000-square-foot building, which has hundreds of interactive exhibits and the nation's largest IMAX dome theater.

    "This will bring in more world-class exhibits and continue the mission of being a valuable resource for New Jersey," he said.

    He said he did not know what portion of the existing Science Center, if any, would remain open during the expansion or if all exhibits would be relocated to the railroad terminal.

    "It's not clear how that transition will take place," Vincz said. "All that remains to be worked out."

    He added the expansion will include an upgrade of current exhibits.

    "There's always a continuing emphasis on keeping the exhibits up to speed," he said.

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    No Corporate Logo for Tallest Building
    Goldman Sachs pulls its Planning Board bid

    Saturday, December 06, 2003

    By Douglas R. Stivers
    Journal correspondent

    Financial giant Goldman Sachs, which is constructing the state's tallest building on the Jersey City waterfront, has abandoned plans to crown the skyscraper with a several-stories-high sign, ending a controversy stirred by the proposal.

    After carrying the application over for several Planning Board meetings, the company finally withdrew its submission Tuesday, when the plan would have faced a straight up or down vote.

    "We've never put our logo on any office building, and we're not going to put it on this one," said Bruce Corwin, a spokesman for the company.

    The proposal had drawn fire from several neighborhood residents and its prospects with the Planning Board appeared dim.

    Although a letter Goldman Sachs submitted to the board before Tuesday's meeting indicated that the company reserved the right to resubmit the proposal - as it still does - Corwin's statement seemed to negate that possibility.

    Planning Board members has asked the city planning staff to amend the Colgate-area redevelopment plan to specifically bars such signage.

    "We felt putting those crown signs up is not consistent with the master plan," board member Leon Yost said. "We're still asking staff to look at amending the redevelopment plan."

    According to Yost, the redevelopment plan for the area states that such signs are permitted if the board grants a waiver to the applicant, a condition he interprets to mean it is not allowed under normal circumstances.

    However, in an effort to remove any ambiguity, Yost said the board felt more comfortable amending the plan to insert language that specifically bars the signs.

    The board had balked in September when Goldman Sachs ap- proached it with the idea of adding its name to the top of the building, on Hudson Street.

    Former Planning Board member Jeffrey Kaplowitz, who attended the Sept. 23 meeting, was more blunt in his assessment.

    "It's a disgrace," he said at the time. "You don't see anyone putting a sign on top of the Empire State Building."

    In other business Tuesday, the board:

    Put off a decision on a request to subdivide one lot into two at 222 and 224 Beacon Ave. when neighbors objected and board members found inconsistencies in the developer's application.

    Granted Winograd Development preliminary approval to redivide 11 lots into eight at 519 to 5371/2 Martin Luther King Drive to construct seven attached two-family houses with the eighth lot reserved for a driveway and parking. Following extensive testimony, the board said the project would be a great boon to the area.

    Granted the Newport Association Development Company a one-year extension to construct a 23-story, 414-unit full-service hotel.

    Approved the conversion of a warehouse at 37 Edward Hart Road to office space, in accordance with the Liberty Harbor Redevelopment Plan.

    Approved a proposal to subdivide four existing lots into five new lots at 313-319 First St.

    Told a property owner who violated city regulations for a minimum setback for 24-28 Wales Ave. to make adjustments to the property before returning to the board on Jan 13.

    Journal staff writer: Jason Fink contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2003 The Jersey Journal.

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    How to revitalize Journal Square?

    Princeton graduate students offer vision, will make presentation

    By: Dave Hoffman
    Reporter staff writer 12/21/2003

    A Princeton University study says that improved pedestrian avenues, enhanced streetscapes, and a greater perception of safety are some ways to revitalize Journal Square.

    Six students enrolled in an Urban and Regional Planning workshop at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton conducted the study and prepared a planning report in conjunction with the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation recently.

    The Urban Planning Workshop is a required course for sophomores seeking a two-year Masters degree in Public Affairs. The program accepts students with two to four years of work experience. This year's students were selected from across North America, including, California, Mexico, the Midwest and the East Coast.

    Having worked in the field, the six students offered valuable planning services at no cost to the city.

    "It is considered one of the best training institutions for people who are going to be involved with city planning," said EDC employee Colin Egan. "We got the best and the brightest for free." Egan is the Director of the Friends of the Loews theater renewal project.

    There will be a public in-depth presentation of the study on Jan. 13.

    The course is taught by Professor Paul Buckhurst, a professional urban planning consultant who has taught at Princeton for 20 years. EDC Urban Enterprise Zone Director Roberta Farber previously worked with Buckhurst on similar projects in Paterson.

    "Princeton contacted me because we had worked together before," Farber said.


    A target for improvement

    The study encompassed a 24-block area spanning from Newark Avenue to Montgomery Street, and Summit and Tuers avenues to Tonnele and Garrison avenues.

    Formerly a central business district, Journal Square is now one of four areas targeted for revitalization as a Special Improvement District (SID). Some of the area's unique features are the PATH station, which makes it a hub for transportation, and its Urban Enterprise Zone demarcation, which offers tax incentives for area businesses.

    The students considered several goals from the city's 2000 Master Plan.

    "They looked for ways to encourage more people to spend time in Journal Square so they'll patronize the businesses and organizations," Farber said.

    The research consisted of conducting building analysis and land use surveys, meeting with community leaders, and reviewing current and old plans for the area. They looked at existing structures, open space, transportation, the workforce, and the shopping environment.

    "We talked with a lot of people with an interest in the future of Journal Square," said Buckhurst, "We met with the mayor, city councilpeople, city agencies, the planning department, the engineering department."

    Other interested parties included Hudson County Community College, Hartz Mountain, which owns a number of Journal Square buildings, and Friends of Loews, who are involved with promoting the historic Loews Theater. The students also met with the SID leaders, including McGinley Square, which is within the boundaries of the study, but in considered a separate SID.

    With so many organizations in the area, the students had an abundance of development plans to work with. "There are plans that have not been implemented," said Farber. "They looked at all different plans, and with those in mind, they set out to see what was doable on the square. [They looked at] redevelopment plans, old plans for Hotel on the Square, plans for the open space center of the train station, and parking."



    A meeting of the minds

    "We see Journal Square as an ethnically diverse neighborhood poised to become an active commercial center and exciting cultural destination with a vibrant nightlife," the students said in a brochure presented to community leaders at the Loews Theater on Dec. 10.

    Members of the City Council, EDC, SID and other organization leaders attended the presentation, focusing on the students' preliminary findings.

    The students are now preparing a detailed report and will hold a detailed presentation for business owners, residents, and other community people.

    "Our hope is that we produce a written report that will be useful in terms of city actions," said Buckhurst. "This is a vision plan, to say 'Hey, here are some ideas.' Some can be looked at immediately, and some will take a longer time to follow through."

    Farber said that student studies typically produce a mixture of practical and pie-in-the-sky ideas.

    "This has been very real," said Farber. "The have a lot of doable projects that can come out of the information they presented."

    Farber particularly liked a proposed walkway going over the square from the PATH Train to the Loews Theater, and the improvement of several underused alleyways in the area.

    "There are several alleyways off the Loews and the square which could be pedestrian friendly," she said. "They could be used for outdoor dining. People use them to walk through, but they're not pedestrian friendly. They're dark and can be slightly deserted. People just haven't been using them, making for more traffic elsewhere."

    Buckhurst has brought the workshop to Jersey City before. In 1985, the class created guidelines for mixed use development at the Colgate Site. In 1987, they did a redevelopment study on Hoboken Avenue, and in 1991, they did a renovation proposal for the Majestic Theater performing arts center.

    "It is happening now, nine years later," said Buckhurst. "Whether they saw our report, I don't know."


    ©The Hudson Reporter 2004

  13. #88
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    Hudson rises: 2003 - The year in development
    Tom Jennemann
    Reporter staff writer 12/28/2003

    NEW TENANTS - Hoboken's waterfront continues to flourish. This year, Marsh and McLennan moved 1,200 employees into the city's Waterfront Corporate Center.

    Development continued to thrive on Hudson County's waterfront in 2003. Office, commercial, and residential buildings in Jersey City, Hoboken and West New York have been completed, and there are shiny projects inland to match. Whether it's the first new construction in Journal Square in nearly two decades, or the reuse of the Yardley Soap Factory in Union City, or the mix of affordable and market rate units on Hoboken's west side, Hudson County developers are once again paying attention to long-forgotten neighborhoods.


    Jersey City

    Over the past decade, the development boom on the Jersey City waterfront has been driven almost entirely by corporate projects. While the expansive redevelopment plan has been successful in attracting globally respected anchors like Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and American Express, some residents have been concerned there has not been enough housing to support the commercial element. They argued that without the proper mix of housing and office space, Jersey City risked becoming a "ghost town" after 5 p.m.

    This year marked several new trends. One is that while plans for new large-scale commercial office space have cooled somewhat, the number of residential projects has seen a dramatic increase.

    Maybe even more importantly, for the first time in decades, developers are planning residential projects in the downtown area, including converting office buildings and constructing new mixed-use towers on blighted properties.

    In August, the Applied Development Corporation broke ground on a $31 million 12-story, 130-unit rental apartment building at the old State Theater movie house at Journal Square. It is the first new construction in Journal Square since an office building was finished there in 1988. The project will take about another 12 months to finish, and will feature 100 market-rate units and 30 affordable units.

    An Historic Downtown Jersey City project is situated across the street from City Hall. The project, with 46 condos now on the market for sale, is at Montgomery and Grove streets, eight blocks from the shoreline. The seven-story building was formerly part of the Majestic Theater, which was built in 1907. The old theater's rear lobby, which is currently being 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.

    Grove Street II, another Historic Downtown project, after two years of discussion and alteration, the Jersey City Planning Board passed the Grove Street Redevelopment Plan in early March. While site plan approval is still needed, the plan will include a high density, mixed-use development with a new 34-story hotel and apartment building. It will rise opposite the downtown PATH station, located between Grove Street and Marin Avenue.

    The developer for the project is Schenkman & Kushner. "The project will have a 500-unit residential portion," said Peter DeWitt, the project architect. "In addition, there will also be a 160-unit hotel complex."

    Both portions of the development will be combined into what DeWitt called a "building envelope," allowing the residence and the hotel to have a common set of entrances. "On the ground floor, there will be 17,000 square feet set aside for retail space," DeWitt added.

    In Historic Paulus Hook, another large-scale project is Montgomery Greene, aptly named for the corner of Montgomery and Greene streets. The 20-story luxury building will contain 113 condominium units, comprised of lofts, studios and one-bedroom and two-bedroom layouts, as well as approximately 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Construction is expected to commence in the spring of 2004 and be completed by the summer of 2005.

    Waterfront development is also starting to benefit the rest of Jersey City. Goldman Sachs will be fully financing a $5 million project on Martin Luther King Drive with a charitable contribution. The project will create 21 condominiums at 412-420 MLK Drive that will range in price from $60,000 to $130,000. Located adjacent to a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stop and within walking distance of the King Drive Shopping Plaza, the housing complex is just one of a series of recent Ward F projects aimed at reviving a neighborhood that for 20 years has suffered from high crime rates and abandoned properties.

    "We're making this a golden neighborhood, spike by spike by spike," Cunningham said when announcing the project. "That's where we're heading. We could not have done it without Goldman Sachs."

    On the waterfront

    In September, Goldman Sachs topped off its building in the Colgate Section of the Jersey City waterfront. According to a Goldman Sachs official, the firm will start phasing in employees in April.

    The modern, blue-tinted 876-foot building is the state's largest, replacing the nearby 101 Hudson St., which at 592 feet tall, used to be the state's tallest.

    Earlier this year it was reported that the firm has decided to cut its original projection of 4,000 employees to 2,000 and had nixed plans to relocate its entire equities division from lower Manhattan.

    In May, Liberty Towers, which is only steps away from the Goldman Sachs construction, opened. The project was the latest finished component in the 24-acre redevelopment area once occupied by Colgate-Palmolive, the toiletries company. The towers are twin 37-story rental buildings with 648 apartments. Fisher Development Associates of Purchase, N.Y. developed the $100 million project.

    Three million more square feet of office space is planned and four other housing developments, smaller than Liberty Towers, are underway or planned on the former Colgate property.

    Garden State Development and Roseland Properties' work has begun on the Marbella Apartments along Washington Boulevard. The 40-story luxury apartment complex will have 412 units. Studios will be between 800 to 900 square feet, while two-bedroom units will be about 1,200 square feet. The complex is expected to have a retail space capacity of 5,600 square feet.

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    Begun work on Marbella? I saw it 4-6 months ago and it looked finished...

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    Construction started in 2001 Marbella is finished they started leasing apartments in December.

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