Jersey's "GOLD COAST"
An 18-mile stretch from Bayonne
to Fort Lee.
Right across the Hudson
from Wall Street, -- a mere three-and-a-half minutes away by PATH train –
the New Jersey coastline is in the midst of a dramatic makeover. New business,
office, and residential communities and neighborhoods have replaced
dilapidated piers, warehouses, and railroad yards.
Long ago, New Jersey’s eastern shore was a thriving place for longshoremen
and factory workers, but not an easy place to get to. Visionaries, however,
understood how precious the real estate was. In fits and starts, the land
began to be slowly reclaimed. In the 80s, a clever marketer gave it a catchy
nickname – the Gold Coast.
Makes A Comeback
Ferries came back -- from points in Jersey City, Hoboken, and
Weehawken -- crossing to lower Manhattan’s financial district, and to
midtown. Riding the waves was far more enjoyable than sitting in Holland or
Lincoln Tunnel traffic.
New commercial communities began to form. The most notable were in downtown
Jersey City, where in the 1980s two significant projects arose -- the Lefrak
Organization’s Newport Mall, the tallest building in New Jersey --the
42-story art deco 101 Hudson first occupied in 1992 by Merrill Lynch -- and
Harborside Financial Center. Around the same time, a bit farther north in
Weehawken, Lincoln Harbor, another commercial venture was born.
Things quieted in the early 1990s after the initial building boom. Then, as
the economy grew stronger again through the 1990s, and Wall Street got busier.
New businesses were created out of cyberspace on the now familiar World Wide
Web and New Jersey’s Hudson County shore was rediscovered.
In 2000, unprecedented
building activity and millions of square feet of new office space are luring
more of Wall Street west. Six of the country’s largest securities firms,
accompanied by new hotels, and thousands of new apartments and town houses,
will soon have operations in downtown Jersey City.
Once just a dream to build a link through the sometimes difficult to get to
shoreline communities, the 20-mile Bergen - Hudson light rail system, is now a
reality from Bayonne to downtown Jersey City. By September 2000, the line will
extend even farther to Newport Centre, an extraordinary neighborhood of
high-rise office and apartment towers and the suburban-like Newport Centre
Mall. The next stop will be Hoboken by 2002 and then on to Ridgefield in
The first hotel on the
waterfront, a 200-room Doubletree Club Suites built by Hartz Mountain and the
Garden State Development Company, opened in 1998. Lefrak has built a 189-room
Courtyard by Marriott, and Mack-Cali, another major developer, has approval to
build a Hyatt Regency at the Harborside Financial Center. A 215-room
Candlewood Hotel is also under construction. There is a luxury Sheraton Suites
at Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm,
plans its own hotel and office towers on the Colgate site, where earlier this
year it purchased properties totaling six acres that were once part of
Colgate-Palmolive’s vast manufacturing center. The three parcels cost a
reported $100 million, working out to about $17 million an acre, the highest
price ever paid for land in New Jersey.
Jersey City’s downtown is
undergoing a complete makeover, anchored by Wall Street moving back office
operations to Exchange Place. The old Colgate-Palmolive site and the adjacent
Harborside Financial Center will be an extraordinary business neighborhood
serviced by ferries and light rail.
Hartz Mountain Industries built 70 Hudson Street, an $80 million office
building, and home to mutual fund manager Lord, Abbett & Co., and is
building a twin at 90 Hudson Street, to be occupied by Datek Online, the
Internet stock brokerage firm. The buildings are directly across from
Manhattan’s World Financial Center. The company has also purchased a third
parcel at Colgate Center, the site of a famed toothpaste factory and the
Newport Centre, which has transformed the area on both sides of the approaches
to the Holland Tunnel, includes four new residential towers.
In Hoboken, Applied
Companies is building The Shipyard, a residential and retail complex just
north of the landmark Erie Lackawanna Railroad Station, a crucial hub for New
Jersey Transit trains fanning into New Jersey’s northern and western
suburbs. More than 1,000 rental and condominium units will eventually be built
at The Shipyard.
Development and Mack-Cali Realty have designed an 850-foot office tower, and
Mack-Cali, which manages the pioneering Harborside Financial Center, has plans
for three more office towers to complement its original three buildings.
Developers also plan to convert the landmark Maxwell House coffee plant into a
$300 million residential and commercial property in Hoboken.
Weehawken, West New York,
and Guttenberg’s waterfronts will be home to tens of thousands of new
residents. Roseland Property Company is developing Port Imperial at West New
York; the plan calls for 4,300 residential units and 100,000 square feet of
K. Hovnanian Enterprises has already built 154 town homes at Bull’s Ferry
and another 258 town homes at Jacob’s Ferry. Also near the New York Waterway
Ferry Terminal in Weehawken is The Landings, a 276-unit rental complex.
There eventually will be a
new ferry terminal, built by Roseland Property and the Imperatore Family,
which operates the ferry system. Residential construction brings retail shops
as well, and waterfront development has spurred new growth blocks inland.
This economic renaissance is
fueled by creative developers and New Jersey business assistance programs,
which make building and living on the West Bank significantly less expensive
than Manhattan. Taxes, rents and utilities are all far lower than in New York.
The state has granted significant tax incentives to lure thousands of jobs
across the Hudson, reducing income tax costs. Hudson County has added more
than 30,000 new jobs in the last decade. With drawing boards filled with new
proposals, another 60,000 jobs could be created in the next five years to fill
the new offices under construction.
The 1,212 - acre Liberty State Park, in the shadow of Ellis Island and the
Statue of Liberty and home to the Liberty Science Center, is already the most
visited park in New Jersey. Building on its success, an important
public-private project is in the works to transform the 18-mile waterfront
from Bayonne to the George Washington Bridge into a public promenade offering
splendid views of the world’s most famous skyline.