Sunday, December 30, 2007

northwest hoboken redevelopment all but ignored by our local media

Our most recent local paper has just debuted their 2007 year in review, out today, and has a section devoted to the continued redevelopment of our famous gold coast. The story, written by Michael D. Mullins, quickly points out that major projects continue to move ahead in our area despite the national real estate downturn. This is because of our proximity to Manhattan, which insulates us to a very large degree from the larger ups and downs of the market.

HH is very disappointed, however, with Mr. Mullins' coverage of the 'action' in Hoboken. Most of his story centers around Toll Brother's waterfront projects and the new W Hotel that is being built. While those are obviously important projects in our square mile, he only mentions two very small projects in the northwest area of Hoboken: the Emsee, which he unfortunately misspells and Ariel Square, both of which are very small scale developments when compared to other projects in our area. He also writes about Velocity, and how it has gone rental after failing to sell out after a disastrous 2 year construction delay which crippled the original projects momentum. I ask Mr. Mullins - these are the highlights you choose to mention?!

For some odd reason he completely ignores such major projects as Metrostop (the first ever 10 story luxury residential building in our neighborhood) and the most recent Upper Grand buildings (1000 Jefferson and 800 Madison) both of which will have added more than 400 rental units to our burgeoning neighborhood. Not to mention the Monroe Center and their plans for 5 new mixed use buildings, including a parking garage and spaces for 30 retail locations, and a 13 story mixed use building that is about to break ground at 900 Monroe. Why would he choose to ignore such major residential progress in a former industrial area that is arguably the largest residential evolution Hoboken has ever gone through, behind the waterfront transformation? We are completely shocked by his lack of coverage of our neighborhood.

There are not many opportunities to get noticed in the world of real estate, and we all know that media exposure is a crucial stepping stone in the sometimes difficult launch and slow pace of redevelopment. It's a shame we do not receive the exposure we deserve. There are many many people putting lots of time, effort, and money into making our neighborhood a viable place to live. It's a shame that a real estate reporter like Mr. Mullins, who enjoys a very large readership and who is very influential, failed to accurately report the progress of our great neighborhood.

HH can only hope that he his saving his secrets for a much larger story devoted solely to northwest Hoboken, come spring time. Here's to hopin':

Below is the excerpt on Hoboken. To read the entire piece, please click here.


Redevelopment was the word in '07
By Michael D. Mullins

Along Hoboken's northern waterfront, Toll Brothers continues to dominate the area near the city's border with Weehawken.

At the town's formerly industrial northern end, a slew of large, boxy factories are slowly being converted to condominiums. They will soon join the already converted 525-unit "Tea Building" at 1500 Washington St., a former Lipton Tea factory. That waterfront property was converted approximately five years ago, and now is home to notables including Gov. Jon Corzine and Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Just west of the "Tea Building," the neighboring buildings are still being developed. Toll Brothers completed the first phase of its 10-story Harborside Lofts building at 1500 Garden St. this past November, with move-ins beginning this month. Of the 116 units completed to date, over 80 percent are already sold, according to Axiom Communications representative Jillian Marano.

Once complete, the condo complex will consist of 748 residential units as well as a 1,250-car garage.

Further down the waterfront, Toll Brothers' third major development is an upscale complex in place of the sprawling former Maxwell House coffee factory. Located in the area of 11th and Sinatra Drive, the first of "Maxwell Place's" four separate buildings was completed this past September, yielding 169 condos of which 97 percent are sold.

By 2010, all four Maxwell Place buildings are expected to be completed, adding a total of 832 units to Hoboken waterfront.

On the southern waterfront, the city's three-block South Waterfront Project has already replaced a former port area. The two piers are being used for park space, and the Applied Development Company is continuing construction on the much-anticipated W Hotel, to add to their already built condo complex and office building nearby.

The 25-story W Hotel will contain 225 rooms once complete, as well as an 11,000-square-foot ballroom. The hotel is expected to open in late 2008 and will be operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

There are also many developments inland and far west, even near the public housing projects.

A four-story, 21-unit condominium known as Ariel Square was completed this month at the corner of Fifth and Jackson streets. Only a few hundred feet away is a four and five story condominium known as the Emcee, which consists of 12 units and will be completed in March of 2008.

Both buildings were constructed by the New York City-based TreeTop Development. Adam Mermelstein, a principal of TreeTop, said in a press release that nearly 50 percent of the combined 33 units between both residencies had been sold as of this past week.

One block away on a much larger scale, locally-based Remi Companies has transformed what once was the city's towing yard into a 128-unit condominium called the Velocity. Located at Sixth and Jackson, the four-story residential complex was completed last June.

Remi CEO Eric A. Kaiser said the development initially began as condominiums, but since August of this year, it changed into a rental facility after observing that "sales were sliding." Most of the units rent for between $2,800 and $3,100.

The city also saw residents and politicians arguing over proposed parameters for several redevelopment zones in formerly industrial areas. After months of debating plans for the city's southernmost border, the City Council asked the Planning Board to incorporate new features of a revised "Southwest Redevelopment Plan." The City Council has not formerly adopted the new plan. After it does, the next step is to seek out developers who will conform to the guidelines.

The city also has other redevelopment regions in the works.

With development occurring in every corner, park activists made sure that the remaining undeveloped land should stay that way.

The Maxwell Place Waterfront Park, a 5-acre community amenity from Toll Brothers, opened this past November.

The city expects two other parks to be completed by the late spring of 2008, which are 1600 Park and 1500 Park, located near the Hoboken-Weehawken border and totaling an additional 4 acres of space.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

800 madison is coming together

Here are a few shots of 800 Madison, the very large rental building being build on the entire block of land between Madison and Monroe, and 8th and 9th Streets. Sections are being delivered and installed on site - and work is moving very fast.

Compared to other URSA / Tarragon projects, which are all part of the 'Upper Grand' redevelopment project, this one seems to be a bit more modern and comtemporary. one major similarity, and a signature that is being carried over, is the townhouse style entrances on Madison and Monroe. The building is set very far back from the street, to allow for staircases. Everyone's favorite!

Has anyone heard of a completion date?

digging for gold

Remember everyone's favorite princess who's been sitting on a mountain of cash all these years? Yes, that's her ranch house on the corner there, next to 1000 Jefferson. Well whomever owns the empty land next to her has smartened up and is about to build! Check it out...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

thank god almighty, we're free at last

Yesterday the scaffolding was taken down at the 9th Street light rail stop - which is great news for all us commuters. The back of Metrostop, which is very close to the light rail platform, is pretty much complete with exterior work, save for the first and second floor windows. The last few months has been frustrating, and at times, unnerving. With scaffolding support poles that were installed right in front of the opening light rail doors, it was difficult to get on and off the trains during peak hours. And with reduced lighting and visibility, I know many of us haven't felt safe getting off at 9th Street in the evenings. HH is very happy the scaffolding period lasted only a short time.

When do you think the northern entrance to this light rail stop will officially open??

Also strange yesterday - all trains were all running on the south bound track for some reason. What a juggling act that must have been!

Here's the latest shot of Metrostop for your veiwing pleasure:

man down! man down!

A mysterious tree vandal? Or simply a case of a shallow root system and absolutely no tree stake support? We'll never know for sure, but there's a casualty on 9th Street outside of Fields Crossing. Can she be saved? Let's see how many days it takes to get someone over to repair or replace!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

oh baby she's a grand ol' dame

So many of us make such a big deal about the Upper Grand redevelopment, and all the great work they are doing to transform unused, abandoned, and generally not so attractive or safe land into successful new living spaces. And although our new community is growing, and has along way to go, I thought it would be a nice idea to show you all some of the beauty that can be found in the older sections of Grand Street, just north of Columbus Park. They don't build 'em like they used to, huh? Pretty amazing like the residential courtyard above, and the old light posts below:

To even older apartment buildings:

Where the garage doors...

Match the Fall foliage perfectly...

Old school factory buildings, like the metal manufacturer, have been kept up and preserved:

To old growth trees that provide so much beauty. Our generation will probably not live to see the young trees planted on all our new streets ever get this big, but our children probably will:

And the last gasp of our old Hoboken - the original cobble stone streets. I wish that developers would incorporate cobble stones into their new construction - from sidewalks or edging the landscaping, it would be nice to connect with the past in a way that is modern. If you look closely around town under all those potholes and craters, you can sometimes see the old cobble stones peaking through...

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend everyone...

Monday, November 19, 2007

exclusive first look: 800 madison & 900 monroe

I've received numerous questions regarding what 800 Madison will look like when complete - and HH is now here to answers your prayers. These two images were captured from marketing materials in a window at one of our local Realtor offices on Washington St. The first is a rendering of 800 Madison (above) which is located on Madison between 8th and 9th streets, and takes up the entire block. It looks as though this Tarragon/Ursa project will be somewhat more modern looking than their previous efforts (1000 Jefferson and numerous other Upper Grand buildings). It will be 6 stories, with corner retail spots. Not sure if those famous 2nd story stoops will be included in this new project. Also no word on whether this is going to be a rental or a condo. Given the current state of the market, my guess is that it's going rental. We'll have to wait and see. 800 Madison is currently under construction.

900 Monroe (below), the first 12 story high rise mixed use condo project in northwest Hoboken will feature condos as well as a restaurant. This new project is located adjacent to 800 Madison, just off the light rail on 9th and Monroe. You are looking at the view up 9th Street towards to Palisades Cliffs and trees. The Liquor Store side of Shopright and the video store is on the right. Work has been done to clear the site, but there's been no word when construction will begin. Look at all that shiny glass!

The quality of the images are obviously poor, my apologies. The renderings were very small to begin with and I had to snap them with my blackberry at night through glass. Also HH had one too many martinis before taking these photos, so please don't shoot the messenger! (Just in case we have a few Hooters girls who may be reading this morning :)

we're famous! but at what cost?

Here's a little Monday morning treat for you - our little Hoboken S.W.A.T. Team / Hooters snafu has made the front page of and ABC. We're going national, baby! Click here to watch, giggle a bit, and then slowly lower your head in shame.

Or if you'd prefer to hang out with the Gray Lady, click here.


Friday, November 16, 2007

a brisk day in the park

Here's a look at the middle of Columbus Park. The city has planted a ton o' mums. Below, a few shots of my favorite type of tree, the Sycamore.

Today: sunny, windy, high of 47. Looks like Fall is finally upon us...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the hoboken definition of s.w.a.t.

S.W.A.T. (Shotguns Waving Around Titties)

They didn't even mention how yummy the buffalo wings are! You simply must click here and watch for yourself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

beware of the shady cable man

From today's Joursey Journal:

Police say watch out for phony cable guy
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HOBOKEN - Cops are warning residents to be on the lookout for a suspicious man posing as a cable television technician.

A woman who lives on Adams Street near Seventh Street said a man about 6 feet tall, with a tan hat and coat, knocked on her door on Friday at 1 p.m. and claimed to be making a service call for Cablevision.

He said he had to replace "chips and wires" in the basement of the four-story apartment building, and that the company was doing repairs in the area. After asking him to come back later, the woman called Cablevision, who told her that they were not in the area and the man was not their employee.

Hoboken Police Department Detective Sgt. Samuel Williams said the woman did the right thing and he recommended always asking for an ID of an uninvited visitor, and contacting the party he or she claims to represent.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

isn't this just a given?

11th and Jefferson...

spill in isle grand st

MIA shopping cart alert!

let the sun shin in

The sections of Metrostop that feature large floor to ceiling windows have been going in this week! Here area few pics:

Veeeeeery fancy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

hey mom, i got a b+ !!

Interesting story in today's New York Times about how the flailing home sales market is being negatively influenced by too many doom and gloom news stories that keep appearing in the media. And that a turn around would happen at a quicker pace if we just stopped talking about all the bad news. HH tends to agree with Toll on this one. A positive outlook attracts a positive life. Here's the piece:

Blame for Poor Home Sales? It’s the Press, a Builder Says

Published: November 9, 2007

The housing market is horrible in most parts of the country, says the chief executive of the luxury home builder Toll Brothers, and he fears it will not get better until the newspapers stop saying how bad it is.

Work continues on Toll Brothers luxury homes in the Brier Creek Country Club development in Raleigh, N.C., despite record cancellations and plummeting sales, down 36 percent.

Toll Brothers, which has operations in 22 states, said yesterday that it expected to take a write-down of $250 million to $450 million because of declining land values when it reports results for the quarter that ended Oct. 31. The company said sales for the quarter fell 36 percent, to $1.17 billion, and that customers backed out of 39 percent of their orders, the highest rate ever.

Robert I. Toll, the chief executive, handed out grades for 37 markets that the company operates in, and most got a mark of F or worse.

“The fact that I differentiate between F, F-minus and F-minus-minus” shows just how bad things are, he told analysts during a conference call. He said those grades “go from miserable to outright purgatory.”

The lowest grade went to Las Vegas and Tampa, Fla.

“Perhaps as the presidential campaign heats up and moves to the front page, negative articles about housing will move off the front page,” he said. “Then, hopefully, the positive underpinnings of low interest rates, low unemployment and a decent economy will raise new-home-buyer confidence.”

The company said many of the canceled home purchases were for its more expensive homes. The average price of new orders in the quarter was $646,000, but the average price of canceled orders was $788,000.

He said a survey of Toll customers who canceled contracts showed that only 11 percent reported trouble getting mortgages. More either had personal financial problems or were unable to sell the homes they already owned. “People who just wanted to walk” accounted for 17 percent of the cancellations, he said.

“Translation, they’ve read one too many Times articles, and decided now is not the time to buy a home,” he said.

Nearly all the decent grades went to markets in and around New York City, while some of the worst grades were given to once-hot second-home markets.

The best grade, B-plus, went to Toll’s “city living” apartment projects in the New Jersey suburbs of New York, while similar projects in the city received a B, as did Princeton, N.J., and the states of Delaware and Connecticut. The suburban New York counties of Dutchess and Putnam, which he views as one market, earned a C-plus.

The F-minus grade went to the vacation communities of Hilton Head, S.C.; Palm Springs, Calif.; the Maryland shore; and the Poconos area of Pennsylvania, as well as to Michigan and Atlanta.

The F grade was the one most often given, going to Arizona, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Southern California outside of Palm Springs. The cities of Chicago; San Antonio; Charlotte, N.C.; and Reno, Nev., got the same mark, as did the eastern and northern parts of Florida. Mr. Toll noted that Minnesota had improved to get its grade up to an F.

Another area that has improved, he said, was the western part of Florida, which moved up to a C, although he said that might reflect Toll’s aggressive price cuts. He also awarded C’s to the Texas cities of Austin and Dallas. Colorado got a C-minus.

Raleigh, N.C., fell to D-plus, while D’s were given to most of New Jersey and to Northern California, as well as to Washington and its Maryland suburbs, and the Philadelphia suburbs. D-minus was the grade for West Virginia and central Florida, including Orlando.

Mr. Toll said the downturn was worse than the one in the early 1990s, adding “the growth in the rate of cancellations, the decline in new contracts, and the weaknesses we observed in October suggest that we still have tough times ahead.”

Click here to read the article on The New York Times website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

if you don't speak up, no one will hear you

Don't forget to vote today. I did and it only took 30 seconds. I even had a chance to flirt with the ladies behind the official polling desk.

Click here to find your local polling place. Just type in your info and it clearly lists where you should go.

Polls are open till 8pm tonight!

Monday, November 5, 2007

yes it is really november

Strange sight for November, huh? Remember all those trees and shrubbery that 1000 Jefferson planted last month? Well all the trees along Madison Street have started flowering:

Global warming may be royally screwing up the planet, but at least things look pretty while we're on our way to hell in a flower basket.

what, no face paint?

Hungry Shoprite shoppers recently enjoyed an exuberant display of Washington Redskins fan worship. He's really into it! If I was a Hoboken traffic cop I would give him special treatment and let him park in the yellow area.

HH does the same thing with our car, except we like to display images of Oprah!

crate & barrel fire sale

Sunday afternoon there was some sort of problem on the roof of our local Shoprite. The Hoboken Fire Department was called into action to investigate. These are some pics taken on Monroe Street.

Then a brief traffic jam appeared when Crate & Barrel tried to deliver a couch to someone. They couldn't squeeze under the fire truck ladder. Home delivery horror! Lucky after a few minutes the truck was able to pass, and everyone was happy again.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

let there be light!

It seems there may be some new lamp posts going in around Fields Crossing. HH wonders why this has taken so long, considering this building was finished in 2006? Regardless, this is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

More light = safer streets at night!

let freedom cash registers ring

Window logos are up on Liberty Gourmet!