Category Archives: Staten Island
BARRY BROTHERS MAKE IRONSTATE A SUCCESS BY STICKING TO DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
By Joshua Burd
The ability to stick to a plan has always been a key strength of David and Michael Barry. Like their father and grandfather, who founded the development business they now lead, the brothers have stayed atop the industry by staying true to a strategy of building their multifamily and mixed-use projects around the state’s bustling urban centers.
But that hasn’t stopped Ironstate Development from evolving under the brothers’ watch. In recent years, the firm has become a player in the region’s hotel market, and the Barrys are now expanding its reach beyond traditional hubs like Hoboken and Jersey City.
“We’re not single-family homebuilders, we’re not suburban office builders, we’re not strip mall builders or any of those things,” David Barry said from his firm’s Hoboken office. “So when you talk about what we do, which is building multifamily at scale, you need places that are going to accommodate that.”
Multifamily has weathered the storms of the troubled real estate market, helping to expand Ironstate’s pipeline and portfolio in recent years. The development firm of about 50, which descends from the family’s Applied Housing Co., has added more than 1,600 residential units, 55,000 square feet of retail and two hotels since 2007.
The Barrys’ firm now owns and manages more than 6,000 residential units, and has a $1 billion project pipeline that includes another 7,100 units, according to the firm. Its upcoming projects also include 193,500 square feet of retail and some 200 hotel rooms.
Ironstate stuck to its core markets during the recession, completing the signature W Hoboken Hotel and the 93-unit Berkshire, in Hoboken, and large joint venture apartment projects like 225 Grand and 50 Columbus, in Jersey City. The firm also built and opened a luxury rental building in Harrison during the downturn, in what was the first phase of a redevelopment project with the Pegasus Group.
“On the rental side, the economics were still there,” Michael Barry said, noting that the apartment market is “somewhat countercyclical” to condominiums. “So even though the market had fallen apart across the board, there are still opportunities for good, well-placed development, particularly in the rental sector.”
But with space in those areas running low, Ironstate has looked toward new markets to extend its large-scale, transit-centric brand of development. In the past three years, the firm has stepped into the five boroughs of New York, where it now has seven properties or sites under development. That includes a $150 million redevelopment project on Staten Island, where plans call for transforming a former naval base into a waterfront village with 900 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail.
The firm opened a Manhattan office in February, given that the city “fits that mold and (is) an area where we can leverage our expertise in a profitable fashion,” Michael Barry said.
Despite being third-generation developers, David and Michael Barry said the business was never meant to be a dynasty. The South Orange natives became active with what was Applied Development Co. in the early 1990s, with David joining after a stint as a practicing attorney and Michael after finishing graduate school.
They effectively took the reins and formed Ironstate in 2001 after their father, Joseph Barry, retired as head of the company. And while their work often overlaps, each brother as an owner has his own role: as president of Ironstate Development, David spearheads the firm’s pipeline, while Michael oversees construction and management of the firm’s portfolio as president of Ironstate Holdings LLC.
But together, the Barrys have built the firm’s reputation for creativity and a cutting-edge approach, industry colleagues say, and Ironstate has become a sought-after partner for other developers. For instance, by year’s end, Ironstate and Edison-based Mack-Cali Realty Corp. will break ground on a three-tower rental project of more than 2,000 units on the Jersey City waterfront.
Mack-Cali CEO Mitchell Hersh, whose firm primarily develops office buildings, said the Barrys “bring a great deal of local market knowledge and experience to the table,” plus the ability to put their own equity capital into the project.
Ironstate also is partnering with Kushner Real Estate Group, in Bridgewater, on three upcoming projects totaling 1,500 apartment units in Jersey City. Jonathan Kushner, the firm’s president, said the relationship goes back about seven years, fueled in part by the Barrys’ “forward-thinking” approach and pulse on the market.
“In terms of apartment design and layouts, unit sizes and curb appeal, amenity spaces, lobby designs — they’re always on top of it, and they’re always ahead of the market,” Kushner said.
The brothers also try to guide their residential projects using their hospitality experience, from revamping management systems to putting art in the lobbies.
They have had plenty of practice in recent years, they said: Aside from the W Hoboken, Ironstate in 2009 opened the Bungalow, a boutique hotel that’s part of the ongoing Pier Village development in Long Branch. The firm also recently acquired the former Cooper Square Hotel, in Manhattan, and is renovating it in partnership with hotelier Andre Balazs. Meanwhile, in Harrison, Ironstate is preparing to break ground on a new 136-room hotel, part of its venture with Pegasus.
The Barrys attribute their success in part to how they manage volume, through a close circle of about 10 key executives, and refusal to stray from their expertise in development. Instead, Ironstate brings in professionals in construction, architecture and marketing to cover those project phases.
Such was the case in the early 2000s, when Ironstate set out to build the W Hoboken, one of its first hotel projects. Robert Siegel, the architect, recalled that the brothers hired a prominent consultant for Starwood’s W brand to complement their own experience in the city. Ironstate also allowed his design firm — Gwathmey, Siegel, Kaufman & Associates — to take the creative lead in the 27-story tower.
That sort of collaboration helps lead to success, Siegel said.
“A lot of it has to do with being intelligent enough to find the good opportunities to pursue, and then having the confidence to work with people to make it happen,” he said. “They’re great at that.”
Try walking along Front Street in Stapleton.
It’s not easy. The sidewalks that do exist are crumbling and many sections along the busy strip don’t even have them, forcing pedestrians into the street.
“It needs work,” says Tom McKnighty with the New York State Economic Development Council. “It does not have sidewalks, it does not have trees, it does not have lighting.”
Now, as part of the redevelopment of the Staten Island Homeport, that’s about to change.
Front Street borders the long-abandoned 36-acre site, once the home of the U.S. Navy. As part of an aggressive redevelopment plan for the long-abandoned site, infrastructure improvements have finally begun.
For the next several months, crews will be working underground on sewers and water mains. Next year, they will repave streets, add lights and plant trees.
“It’ll make a place that’s more pedestrian-friendly, it’ll be a better place for drivers and it’ll help establish a place for the new development,” McKnighty says.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation has teamed up with Ironstate Development to build 900 units of housing in phases, including 35,000 square feet of retail space and improved waterfront access.
By the end of the year, the city says it expects to begin work on the waterfront esplanade, a roughly three-acre site officials say will eventually look a little something like the recently redeveloped East River Park on Manhattan’s lower east side:
“It’s gonna be planted areas, it’s gonna be seating, it’s gonna be a walking path,” McKnighty says. “There’s gonna be opportunity for active recreation. It’s gonna be a waterfront park.”
Ironstate will begin construction of the first 450 units of housing later this year. In the meantime, the developer is already talking to potential tenants, both island-based businesses and national chains, about the retail space.
“They’re very excited about the waterfront location and about the esplanade and how it will all come together,” says Michael Darata of Ironstate Development.
While Ironstate says it hasn’t signed any tenants yet, it says it expects to very soon.
NY1′s week-long coverage of major Staten Island stories in the last two decades continues with a look at the Staten Island Homeport, which has had its share of stops and starts over the years but now is finally moving ahead towards redevelopment. Borough reporter Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
The buildings have been knocked down, and now the Staten Island Homeport looks like a shell of its former self. The site at Stapleton is finally being readied for a long-awaited redevelopment plan, to turn the sprawling 36-acre waterfront space into a housing and commercial community aimed at young professionals.
“Now is the time to start believing. There is a lot of momentum behind development in Staten Island, all over the island, but at Homeport we’re confident that this project is moving forward,” said Seth Pinsky of the Economic Development Corporation.
For two short years, the Staten Island Homeport was home to the United States Navy. That all ended in 1994, when the Navy set sail as part of a nationwide defense downsizing effort.
In the 18 years that have passed, the city flirted with a number of ideas for the site, including a motor racetrack and a port for gambling ships.
Arnie’s Bagelicious moved in in 1995 but closed three years later, when actor Danny Aiello suggested the site for a film and TV studio. That plan fell apart as well.
“I’m a little surprised that at this juncture when we’re moving at a pretty good clip why the brakes are being put on,” said then-Congressman Vito Fossella in 2002.
The brakes stayed on until 2009, when the city’s Economic Development Corporation announced a partnership with Ironstate Development to build 900 units of housing in phases, along with 35,000-square-feet of retail space ideally featuring mom-and-pop shops.
“We’re really pushing hard to get this thing done,” David Barry of Ironstate Development said in January.
In the next several months, the city will begin work on the portion of the site it has pledged to develop. There will be a groundbreaking on infrastructure improvements like roads and a waterfront esplanade:
“I said Staten Island will be measured by that important strip of land from Borough Hall to the [Verrazano-Narrows] Bridge. Facing that waterfront, that will define who we are and what we’re all about at some point in the future,” said former Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari.
It looks like that future is almost here, as tenants could move in as soon as 2013. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO >>>
STATEN ISLAND — STAPLETON — The long-awaited transformation of the Stapleton waterfront is under way at the 35-acre Home Port, the decommissioned U.S. Naval base.
Ironstate Development Company, the Hoboken-based private developer, is taking the lead with a $150 million project on seven acres of the site. The first phase will see the construction of about 450 rental apartments and 25,000 square feet of street-level retail space.
Ironstate expects demolition to be completed, and the site cleared, by mid-February. Construction is planned to start in late summer, and the first housing units ready for leasing and occupancy in Fall 2013.
The second phase of the project calls for another 450 apartments and an additional 5,000 square feet of retail space.
The city will spend $33 million for major road reconstruction and improvements, and the creation of a waterfront esplanade. The open space will include walking paths, lawns and landscaped areas, and a new public launch site for non-motorized boats, plus docking for historic vessels, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
Ironstate Development Company specializes in the development of residential and commercial real estate, and currently owns and manages over 6,000 housing units. Its projects include:
- The Shipyard, Hoboken, N.J.: 1,160 residences, 65,000 square feet of retail shops, a one-acre park, ferry stop and marina on the Hudson river-front.
- Port Liberte, Jersey City, N.J.: A 1,650-unit waterfront condominium facing the Statue of Liberty.
- Pier Village, Long Branch, N.J.: A “Victorian-inspired village,” with 543 luxury rental units, a boutique hotel, and 100,000-plus square feet of entertainment and retail shops, including a beach club, gourmet restaurants and boutiques on the oceanfront.
- The W Hoboken Hotel & Residences, Hoboken, N.J.: A 25-story hotel with 225 guest rooms and 40 condominium residences on the waterfront.
A worn American flag still hangs at the Staten Island Homeport, and that’s about the only thing that’s left of the sprawling 36-acre waterfront property once owned by the U.S. Navy.
The long-abandoned site now looks like a junkyard. Construction crews have been working since last month to demolish the old buildings that once stood there to make way for the new ones to come.
It’s all part of an aggressive plan to turn the space into a Staten Island destination. Under a partnership between the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Ironstate Development, 900 units of housing will be built in phases and aimed at attracting young professionals.
Ideally featuring mom and pop shops and established Staten Island businesses, the space will allow for 35,000 square feet of retail space.
It will also include waterfront access, infrastructure improvements and an esplanade to be paid for by the city.
“We’ve been working really hard on this, working seven days a week, about 18 hours a day. They start at seven in the morning, they finish up late at night, so it’s not 24/7, but it’s close to that, and you know we’re really pushing hard to get this thing done,” says Barry.
The project has been met with much criticism. Many doubt the city’s ability to build up the home port space because the site has a long history of stops and starts, but the developer says the demolition equipment is proof enough that the city will make good on its word.
“We’re two stops from the Staten Island Ferry, it’s direct access into Manhattan, it’s just, it’s got beautiful views, great access, it’s gonna have a great neighborhood,” says Barry.
Once demolition is complete, it will take about three weeks to fully remove all of the debris from the site. Then the developer will spend a couple of months refining the site’s plans.
Construction is expected to begin sometime this summer.
By: Amanda Farinacci
The land that was once owned by the United States Navy is now officially the property of Ironstate Development in an $11 million sale made public on Friday.
“This is going to be the start of the renaissance for Stapleton and for St. George and for the whole North Shore,” said Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro.
Under a partnership between Ironstate and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the long-abandoned sprawling 36-acre waterfront property is envisioned to become a Staten Island destination.
Plans call for about 900 units of housing to be built in phases and aimed at attracting young professionals. Thirty-five thousand square feet of retail space will hopefully feature mom and pop shops and established Staten Island businesses. It will also include waterfront access, infrastructure improvements and an esplanade to be paid for by the city.
“We’ve already let out a bid for the roadwork and we’re expected to get started on that shortly as well and then we’re hoping that construction on the real estate piece will begin sometime next year with construction of the public improvements, the waterfront park, following shortly thereafter,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky.
There’s been much criticism of the city’s ability to build up the Home Port space because the site has a long history of stops and starts. But the project’s developer says he believes the project is exactly where it should be.
“I think we’re pretty much on schedule in terms of, we’d always pretty much said that by the end of this year we were gonna close and start our demolition and it’s taken a lot of effort,” said David Barry of Ironstate Development.
Officials say the buildings should be totally demolished by the end of the year. The site will then be prepped for construction, expected to begin sometime next year, with tenants moving in as soon as 2013.
By AMANDA FUNG
A former U.S. Naval base site on Staten Island will finally be transformed into a mixed-used development.
Redevelopment work has already begun, the city announced Friday morning. The news comes in the wake of the closing of the $11 million sale of a seven-acre parcel of the Homeport in the Stapleton section of Staten Island, just south of the St. George Ferry Terminal. The buyer was New Jersey-based Ironstate Development Co.
Ironstate will invest $150 million in the project, which will be made up of two buildings with 900 market-rate rental apartments, 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 600 parking spaces and a public plaza. The LEED-certified buildings, four and five stories high, will meet the current zoning rules for the site. The new development will be within easy walking distance of the St. George Ferry Terminal.
The city plans to pour $32 million into the project for infrastructure improvements and the construction of a six-acre waterfront esplanade. Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro has also committed $1 million to improving the Staten Island Railway’s Stapleton station, which is adjacent to the new development.
“The reactivation of the Homeport, turning it into an exemplary green community, with public access to the waterfront, modern infrastructure, and rental housing options for young Staten Island professionals and others, will create positive momentum for Stapleton and other North Shore neighborhoods,” said Seth Pinsky, president of the city Economic Development Corp., in a statement.
Construction of the first phase of the project, which will consist of 450 units, is expected to begin next year and to be completed in 15 months. The start of the second, final phase will commence after the first is complete. Ironstate has begun demolishing three existing buildings on the site.
Ironstate was selected in 2009 to transform seven acres of the 36-acre Homeport after more than a decade of discussions to redevelop the site. The city took control of the site in 1995, when the base closed. At one time, Mayor Bloomberg envisioned building a restaurant, sports complex, banquet hall and farmer’s market, but responses to a 2007 requests for proposals from developers “were limited and deemed unsatisfactory,” the city said.
Ironstate, which specializes in urban community development, built the W Hoboken Hotel. Last year, the developer launched the first phase of Harrison Station, a project that will feature 2,600 luxury residences, 80,000 square feet of retail space and a hotel with a retail concourse on a 27-acre site adjacent to the PATH Station in Harrison, N.J.
By Judy L. Randall
The sale of a portion of the sprawling property to Ironstate Development of Hoboken is to be announced today by the Bloomberg Administration and Borough Hall.
Borough President James Molinaro confirmed yesterday that the $11 million sale and transfer of ownership has taken place. Ironstate has pursued the acquisition since 2009.
Molinaro said demolition of existing structures on the seven-acre parcel — once used by the U.S. Navy and most recently by members of the Staten Island judiciary as courtroom space — could take place “within the week,” pending what he described as “minor permitting” wrinkles.
The New York City Economic Development Corp., administration officials, Molinaro and City Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) were to join Ironstate President David Barry for an onsite press conference.
One of New Jersey’s biggest developers, Ironstate has been credited with helping to transform Hoboken and Jersey City.
The city for years had trouble marketing the home port site — after the Navy pulled out in 1993, it was home to a bagel bakery and a nascent film studio —before Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans in 2009 for Ironstate to build 800 high-end apartments there along with a shopping hub at an estimated cost of $150 million.
Said Molinaro: “In these bad economic times, it is gratifying someone has the confidence to come forward to develop housing on Staten Island. It will offer magnificent views of the city, with the [Verrazano-Narrows] bridge to the right and Manhattan to the left.”
The announcement, said Ms. Rose, “signals the beginning of the renaissance” of the North Shore waterfront. She added: “This much-welcomed development will serve as an anchor for the Stapleton community and will help increase the density needed that will spur the local economy.”
While many Staten Islanders have been more than a little skeptical about announcements regarding construction at the Stapleton Homeport, the developer behind the project says plans to turn the area into a year-round destination is not far off. NY1′s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
It’s hard to imagine now, but the quaint beachfront area in Long Branch, New Jersey wasn’t always so. Back in 1987, a fire on the pier left the town in complete disrepair, keeping tourists and locals from the shore and the surrounding area. All that changed five years ago, when a redevelopment plan — headed by Ironstate Development transformed the space into what is now known as Pier Village.
“There was a history of people kind of presenting things that didn’t get done after that,” said David Barry of Ironstate Development .
It’s a story that’s not unlike what happened for years at the Staten Island Homeport. Plan after plan of the sprawling 36 acre waterfront property has fallen by the wayside since the Navy set sail in the mid 1990s. But officials insist the latest proposal — a partnership between Ironstate and the city’s economic development corporation — will prevail where the others failed.
Rental apartments, tons of retail space and waterfront access are what Barry says made Pier Village a success. He says that model served as inspiration for plans for the Homeport.
“They’re both waterfront sites, so I think that’s a similarity. I also think they’re both sites that need a creative approach,” said Barry. “They need somebody with credibility and creativity to make these things, to reach their true potential.”
Of course, the two sites do have some obvious differences. To start, Pier Village is much more seasonally popular, attracting lots of beach goers when the weather gets nice. As a result, some tenants have been geared toward those busy summer months: Something that won’t happen at the Homeport.
“People like the warm weather, but Staten Island is a place with a lot of population that needs things to do 12 months a year. I don’t see a seasonal aspect to that. I see it as something that’s going to work all year round, and that’s how we’re approaching it,” Barry said.
Barry says his firm will work to attract a mix of mom and pop shops and national chains, which can draw customers all year long.
See the full article and video from NY1.