Single-Professionals Turn to Vine for Luxury Shared Apartment Living

Every now & then, JC FYI likes to dabble in good real estate news from Hudson County. This is just one of those times ….

Vine ExteriorA demographic hungry for upscale apartments with plenty of space, along with open and functional floorplans, is filling their appetite at Vine in Hoboken.  Vine, located on the western edge of this Hudson County City, consists of 135 residences.

With more than 1,300 square-feet and two full bathrooms, the three-bedroom rentals at the amenity-rich building are proving to be the perfect fit for roommates who have been seeking a new level of luxury in the vibrant mile-square City.   The homes – which boast a walk-in closet, in home washer and dryer, open kitchens, traditional living/dining area and expansive bedrooms – offer a design that not only provides comfortable shared living space, but also allows for a considerable privacy.

Complementing the three-bedroom homes at Vine, one of the newest rental buildings to be introduced in Hoboken, is an amenity-package that appeals to the active professional lifestyle.  Found throughout the 11-story building are a pool and outdoor deck with individual barbeque stations, separate outdoor lounge areas, poolside sunbeds and lush landscaping, clubroom and fitness center, bike storage and free shuttle service to the nearby Hoboken PATH station.

“Single-professionals still represent the largest demographic in Hoboken and, up to now, those with roommates have been choosing from apartments in generation-old brownstones and walk-ups or older rental buildings,” says Jacqueline Urgo, President of The Marketing Directors,  exclusive marketing and leasing agent at Vine. “Vine has brought a brand new alternative with an inventory of spacious three-bedroom homes in a signature neighborhood.” Continue reading

Onward & Upward!

NJ BIZ features projects by Ironstate Development Company and KRE Group, in new, special report on Jersey City development.


50-70 Columbus

When the first wave of developers broke ground in Jersey City in the ’90s, they relied heavily on its proximity to Manhattan and public transportation to fill modest rental units.

“Earlier on, the main selling point was just building an efficient product with views of Manhattan where you could get them.” said David Barry, president of Ironstate Development Company.

Fast -forward nearly two decades and Ironstate’s latest project touts luxury living accommodations typically found on the other side of the Hudson. Instead of reminding prospective renters about the benefits of living in the Big Apple’s shadow, Ironstate’s newest advertising campaign celebrates the city as a draw in and of itself, proclaiming “We Are Jersey City”.

“As the energy and success grew around the urban areas, it became more obvious that this is a great place to live and work. There is a demand for this city.” Barry said. “My projects have gotten bigger, more architecturally significant, and include more design and amenities. “

Illustrating his point is Ironstate and Panepinto Properties’ ongoing project on Christopher Columbus Drive. The development opened in 2007 with the 400-unit 50 Columbus tower set atop the then-recently remodeled Grove Street PATH Station.

‘”That building represents part of Jersey City’s evolution Us a more traditional brick building with efficiencies.” said Barry.

In comparison, developers dubbed the project’s next phase, 70 Columbus, a “residential jewel”.

A high- rise with 543 luxury units, the newly opened 70 Columbus was designed by prominent New York firm Gwathmey, Siegel, Kaufman and Associate Architects. The project’s final two phases will include additional luxury rental residences at 90 Columbus, a 150-room Marriott Residence Inn at 80 Columbus and mixed retail services.

In addition to unobstructed views of downtown Manhattan, 70 Columbus offers upscale amenities on par with high-end Manhattan living: an attended lobby, fireplace lounge, billiards room, multimedia theater, catering kitchen, landscaped roof deck including a pool, grilling/ BBO stations, sport court, dog run and an outdoor kids play area.

It’s those extras – which also includes parks with sweeping Manhattan vistas, organic garden plots, Citi Bike stations, cooking classes and doggie day care centers – that foster communal livinq and are the calling card of this new spate of development springing up in Jersey City, said Jeremy Kaplan, chief operating officer of KRE Group.

Today it’s not just come home, get your mail, go up to your apartment and don’t come back out.” said Kaplan of the modern urban dweller.  “People want to get to know who is living next to them. They are interested in community and our buildings are being designed to cater to that.”

In the case of 18 Park, one of many joint projects from KRE Group and Ironstate, the building was developed around that interest in community – literally. The architecturally distinct 11-story structure, which opened in 2014 and features 422 residences in the city’s Liberty Harbor North neighborhood, also is home to the new 18.000-square-foot Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County.


Rendering of 235 Grand

 What the two developers have planned at the site of the former Boys & Girts Club behind 235 Grand St promises to cultivate outdoor community gathering space and revitalize a sizable chunk of Jersey City’s waterfront. Plans for 235 Grand are not finalized, but include a 45-story rental lower with 549 units and an additional 10-story building with 131 units next door. A key piece of the plan would take Grove Street where it ends at Grand and extend it to a public park on the waterfront.

“Grove Street has become such a draw to walk and to shop. This would just continue the flow of the cityscape.” said Kaplan. “The city has been encouraging us to extend Grove to change the landscape of Jersey City and benefit its residents. It’s something we couldn’t do without their support.”

And just how many more residential properties can Jersey City support?

As the population has grown, so has the burden on the light rail, PATH and ferry connections that spurred redevelopment in the first place.

“We have a finite number of links to the city.” said Barry. “I think that’s an issue that has to be resolved sooner or later. We need more ferries, more efficient trains. The Port Authority needs to invest more money in that system.”

But in the immediate future, Kaplan and Barry still see room for growth here.

“Jersey City has become a desirable place to live in its own right. The draw before was the accessibility and affordability, but it’s also acquired enormous quality of life features.” Kaplan said. “We continue to believe that will grow and grow.”


New brokerages open offices to seal deals in Hudson County

Anne Field at The Real Deal looks into the burgeoning broker market in Hudson County in this month’s issue.

Natalie Miniard of JCity Realty worked with Art House, a 119-unit rental that was fully leased in six months.

Natalie Miniard of JCity Realty worked with Art House, a 119-unit rental that was fully leased in six months.

Developers aren’t the only real estate players making the most of surging interest in the Gold Coast. Brokers are in on it, too.

Early last year, long-time Hoboken broker Renée Condon opened a Keller Williams Realty franchise there, part of the firm’s plan to launch four offices in total in Hudson County by the end of 2016.

About six months later, Jersey City broker Natalie Miniard partnered with local developer Eyal Shuster Development to open JCity Realty, which now has 11 agents.

And national realtor Douglas Elliman said it’s “considering a bigger move in New Jersey,” specifically to the Gold Coast, according to a spokesperson who would not provide more detail.

2015-06-03_11-19-51“As Manhattan and Brooklyn get more expensive, the demand is only going to grow on the Gold Coast,” said Michael Brand, tri-state regional director for Keller Williams Realty.

Still, it’s far from smooth sailing for New Jersey brokers. The number of brokers in Hudson County has declined by 15 percent to 2,497 over the past five years as the condo market has continued to lag behind rentals. Because condo sales are considerably more lucrative than rentals, many brokers have decided to throw in the towel. Meanwhile, the decrease has been even greater in nearby Essex and Bergen counties, which have more single-family homes and less development. In Essex county, the number dropped 21 percent, to 2,456; in Bergen, there was an 18 percent decline, to 5,902, according to the Department of Banking and Insurance in New Jersey.

But for the most persistent of salespeople, the Gold Coast is proving to hold great promise. Winners there range from real estate professionals who have cornered a productive niche to those leasing a high volume of waterfront rentals or snagging exclusive representation of particular developments. Over the next three to five years, “we see the Gold Coast as being a $2 billion market for us,” said Brand.

Continue to full story at

From Factories to Luxury Lofts – The evolution of a town

Real Estate News – Bayonne is getting a Jersey City-style lofts rental building in the old Maidenform bra factory and Kate Rounds, in the premier edition of Bayonne – Life on the Peninsula Magazine, is on the story …

_MG_6941-EditDeveloper Doug Stern is so excited about his new project, he’s waiting in the parking lot, hardhat on head, all energy and expectation. He’s a developer of commercial and industrial real estate and a private equity investor. We’d carved out a tiny slice of sun during the horrible winter of 2014 to tour the residential development that everyone calls “Maidenform.”

Stern acquired the property in 2009. It occupies 100,000 square feet at 154 Avenue E, just 800 feet (yes, Stern measured it) from the 22nd Street light rail stop.

The complex was built between 1890 and 1910 by the Schwarzenbach-Huber Co., a key player in North Hudson’s silk industry. The company had been one of the largest manufacturers of broad and novelty silks. An early description of the company’s West Hoboken facility describes it as a “model” plant with “plenty of light, air, and ventilation”— characteristics that define Stern’s vision for the residential complex that will be known as Silklofts.


Though the building started life as a silk factory, it was as a bra-manufacturing plant that it became famous. On Sept, 25, 1929, the legendary Maidenform Inc. acquired the Schwarzenbach-Huber mill, which was in foreclosure proceedings. The Maidenform complex includes several main buildings and outbuildings in the courtyard. The structures are built of brick with heavy timber columns and beams, distinguishing features in the new Silklofts renovation.

The timbers are made of long-leaf yellow pine, which is prized for its density. Stern invites me to pick up a sawed-off ceiling joist, it weighs almost as much as I do. Long-leaf yellow pine takes up to 150 years to mature and can live 500 years. It’s likely that the wood used for the building’s columns and beams was grown more than 250 years ago.

The facility served as Maidenform’s main manufacturing plant until 1990 when production was moved south, and the building became Maidenform’s corporate headquarters. The company occupied the building for about 76 years, until 2007 when they put it up for sale, A year after Stern acquired the property and began to redevelop it, the site was approved as a historic preservation project by the National Parks Service,


SilkLofts InteriorSilklofts will offer five studios, 26 two bedrooms, 40 one bedrooms, and six artists’ lofts. Depending on the unit, tenants will be able to move in roughly between May and September. The units feature exposed brick, 12- to 20-foot ceilings, huge wood windows up to 11 feet high with “divided lights”—panes of smaller glass separated and held in by supporting bars. Each unit will have eight-foot solid core doors—flush doors with a solid material placed within the door skins. The front doors will be mahogany, and the building’s original brick archways will be opened up. The kitchens will feature quartz countertops and eight-foot chef islands, Wall construction will include a Resilient Channel sound-reduction system, and floor pads will minimize noise between residences. Bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms will have bamboo floors and three-quarter-inch solid oak gunstock wood floors. There will be a washer/dryer in every unit. Amenities include secure onsite parking, gym, and pocket park with herb garden, pizza oven, and fire pit. Stern is pursuing a LEED Silver-rated designation by using bamboo flooring, Argon gas-filled sealed units between window panes, energy efficient appliances, high-efficiency ductless heat pump HVAC, quartz countertops made from recycled materials, and brick and wood salvaged from the construction process to build walls, floors, and art pieces. That process avoids the use of millions of tons of concrete and steel and its associated carbon footprint.


The day I visit, the word “homes” is top of mind for Stern. “These are homes, not apartments.” he emphasizes “This is a community, not just a place to sleep.”  The subtext is that the care that has been put into construction and the quality of materials will make it a home and not just a crash pad. The windows are a major point of pride. The largest cost $3,500 each, and there will be artwork in the lobby by famed photographer Peter Lik.

Our trek to the back buildings involves bogarting our way though mounds of glazed snow, so it is literally warming to hear Stern describe what it will be like back here on fine summer evenings: picnic tables, pizza oven, fire pit. It’s a way for residents to “get to know their neighbors,” Stern says.

There are five floors in the main building with five homes per floor. We start on the third floor where Stern shows me a studio. As with all the homes, the ceilings and windows are huge. There is a walk-in closet and washer/dryer. The view through these tall windows is of the pocket courtyard and the original factory chimney, but it’s what’s beyond that’s mesmerizing— an urban landscape that is uniquely Bayonne, an almost surreal tableau of elevated light-rail tracks; marshland; Highway 440; white oil drums; the Winners sign, evoking the Great Gatsby’s T.J. Eckleburg billboard; and in the distance, the town’s signature windmill, seemingly frozen in the cold air. If you love Bayonne, you’ll love this cityscape, which reflects our proud history of industry and production, embodied in the building that will become Silklofts. Stern calls it “urban art.”

On the fifth floor, we look at a spacious two-bedroom that also boasts two bathrooms. But by far, its most exquisite feature is the view through the south-facing windows. The day I’m there the sun is just setting over the Bayonne Bridge, suffusing the loft with gorgeous winter light. The price range-depending on the home—is between approximately $1,500 and $2,700.


Silklofts is being developed against a larger backdrop of commercial and residential development in Bayonne. Harbor Station North at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, a 30-acre tract, east of the 45th Street light rail station, is slated for redevelopment by Carl Goldberg, Marc Berson and Partners,

who are expected to build 700 high-end residential and commercial units on this large swath of the former military terminal. The city is also reviewing expressions of interest for Harbor Station South, which is earmarked for retail and commercial uses, including hotels and destination shopping venues.

Other development projects include Cali Futures’s the Park Apartments on 44th Street and the Boulevard; Regan’s Tagliareini Plaza affordable housing complex; The Kaplan Company’s Camelot Project on West Third Street; Skyhail’s luxury loft-style apartments; and the Alessi organization’s various apartment projects, including Peninsula View at East 32nd Street.


Stern is especially excited about artists’ lofts that will be built in one of the back buildings. You don’t have to be an artist to live there, but they will feature large open spaces, which are essential for an artist’s work space.

The history of urban planning and urban renewal is rife with examples of artist pioneers, who venture into abandoned warehouse districts, creating studios, galleries, and a town’s cultural footprint. They draw visitors to their DIY arts districts but soon are driven out by soaring real-estate prices, and then it’s off to the next undiscovered warehouse, mill, or factory.

This has happened in cities from Austin to Boston, and right here in our own backyard, whether it’s New York City’s Soho; the Yardley building in Union City, a former soap factory, which now houses businesses like cabinet makers and portrait painters; the Neumann Leather building in Hoboken, which currently houses artists’ studios; the 111 First St. building in Jersey City, a former cigarette factory, which housed an artist colony and was infamously torn down in 2007. Where does Silklofts fit into this picture?

“From the beginning of time, artists have been in the vanguard, recognizing the beauty and value and uniqueness of these types of projects,” Stern says. “The price point might be hard for starving artists, but we could attract artists to split a two-bedroom. I expect the tenant base to be young, urban professionals who want and like urban art—young bankers, looking for something different.”

The next day, a friend asks me to meet for a drink at Lot 13, a neighborhood bar that happens to be across the street from Silklofts. Without my coaxing, a patron starts a conversation about what she calls “Maidenform.” She says, “It’s too expensive. Who in Bayonne can pay those prices?” The truth is, the prices are way lower than similar projects in Hoboken, Jersey City, or Brooklyn. And speaking of Brooklyn, Steve Gallo, the city’s business administrator, has spoken of Bayonne as the “new Brooklyn.” But it’s a good question: Does Bayonne have the artsy, cultural edge that has made Hoboken, Jersey City, and Brooklyn a draw for young, hip—and sometimes well-off—young people?

“The reality,” Stern says, “is that that Bayonne is the next cool place. It is not the cool place yet.”


“I dreamed I barged down the Nile in my Maidenform Bra.” This was just one of many famous “I Dreamed …” ads, made between 1949 and 1969, securing market dominance for Maidenform Inc., “makers of bras, girdles and swimsuits.” Features included “spoke-stitched cups for Cleopatra curves” and “reinforced undercups for everlasting uplift.” The “I Dreamed …” ad campaign is considered one of the most successful marketing efforts of the 20th century.

Everything about Stern’s redevelopment of the property speaks to maintaining the authentic structure of the building and flavor of what was made there.

To that end, he plans to adorn the public areas with beautiful prints of the ad campaigns that made Maidenform a mainstay (excuse the pun) of American manufacturing. There will also be archival photographs of the building, and historic objects, such as a “key box” used by security guards.

Stern is no ordinary developer. He’s pretty young—45— with a zeal, ethic, and sense of history as solid as those pine timbers. “Many developers ask themselves, why spend money?” Stern says. “My approach if why shouldn’t I? People see and recognize a high-quality product. It’s all about value.”


Rental Developments Spring Up Throughout Hudson County

There’s certainly no shortage of new residential developments on tap right here in Jersey City.  However, many other Cities along New Jersey’s Hudson River “Gold Coast” also have exciting projects underway.  Here’s a look at two new rental buildings that have recently made the news:



Just south of Jersey City in Bayonne, Silk Lofts is preparing to open leasing this weekend.  The collection of upscale rental apartments is being created in the century-old former Maidenform Factory.  Silk Lofts, LLC, developer of the collection of 85 homes, has taken careful steps to ensure the historical fabric of the building while creating modern homes and world-class amenities.  Check out this unique new apartment building HERE.

In Hoboken, a new green apartment building has broken ground at 900 Monroe.  Developer Bijou Properties, which has introduced several LEED Certified buildings in uptown Hoboken, celebrated the start of construction with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and representatives of joint-venture partner Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation of Boston, MA.   The $83 Millionmultifamily development will offer 135 rental homes, 13,500 square feet of retail space including a Daycare Center and a 135-car onsite automated parking facility.  The special event was recently covered on Read it HERE.