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.

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