How much extra would you pay per month if your apartment building had a rooftop fire pit? A community vegetable garden? A bowling alley?
You’d be surprised, real-estate experts tell The Jersey Journal. With residential towers going up at a fast clip in Jersey City, developers look to offer amenities, however unusual, to make their homes stand out. Everyone’s trying to one up everyone else, said Jonathan Kushner, of KRE Group.
“It’s getting a little crazy, but it’s fun and that’s what people want,” he said.
Kushner is behind the $666 million Journal Square development – three towers, 1,840 units – that will feature a community vegetable garden. His 18 Park project in Downtown Jersey City is a $160 million, 422-unit development that will have perks like a children’s playroom, a catering kitchen and a television screening room.
Kushner said the 18 Park units themselves aren’t that innovative, but the amenities are.
“It’s really cruise ship living,” he said. “When you don’t want to leave, you don’t have to leave.”
The aforementioned bowling alley isn’t just a joke – Kushner is considering one for a development in Fort Lee. He said he doesn’t have to leave his home to get ideas for some of the crazier amenities.
“My two boys, who are nearly 8 and nearly 6, give me a lot of advice about what they’d want to play with,” he said.
Henry Waller, vice president of Toll Brothers City Living, said amenities are where developers can get creative.
“It’s one of the more enjoyable aspects of the job,” Waller said, “trying to figure out, OK, we have the pool, we have the barbecue grills. What’s next?”
Toll Brothers has built 1450 Washington in Hoboken and Harborside Lofts in Jersey City, among other properties.
Kristen Marie Ehrgott, the broker of Hoboken-based Avenue Residential, said the young professionals buying condos and renting apartments in Jersey City are increasingly seeking better perks.
“The bowling alley is something new,” said Ehrgott, a broker associate at Prudential Castle Point Realty. “I definitely haven’t seen that yet.”
Ehrgott said Trump Plaza in Jersey City has “beautiful amenities” that include an outdoor pool with cabana chairs, a gaming room, virtual golf and an office space for residents who want to work remotely. They come at a cost though, as high as $800 in monthly maintenance fees for a two-bedroom unit, she said.
“Some people are deterred,” she said.
For Eric and Paul Silverman, the best amenities are the simple ones. The brothers transformed the former St. Francis Hospital into Hamilton Square, an 11-story building in Downtown Jersey with 125 loft-style condos and boutique retail stores on the ground floor.
The first building the brothers developed featured a rooftop terrace, and that’s “the most used” amenity in their buildings, according to Eric Silverman.
“We’re not super crazy about all the other” perks, he said. “Indoor parking, a roof terrace and a real good-quality building is the best amenity.”