By Adam Fusfeld
Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates has unveiled a new design for a planned 1.2 million-square-foot development project in downtown Jersey City (see rendering to the right). The firm was recently selected by Ironstate Development and partner Panepinto Properties to replace Costas Kondylis as the architect of two 50-story residential and hotel towers planned for 70 and 90 Columbus Street in Jersey City.
Ironstate chose GSKA after it successfully designed the firm’s development of a W hotel in Hoboken, according to James Ronga, vice president of development for Ironstate. Gene Kaufman, a principal at GSKA, told The Real Deal in a statement that his firm is working with the same footprint and square footage, but will make “qualitative modifications that result in a project with a distinct geometry and a plan that better integrates the site into the Jersey City community.”
Kondylis did not respond to requests for comment.
The project was first proposed in 2007, but a combination of issues delayed the start of construction, according to Ronga. Now, the first tower of the $350 million project is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2013 and is slated for completion two years later. At that point, construction would begin on the second tower.
“We wanted to get a premier architect on board to sort of make a statement,” said James Ronga, vice president of development for Ironstate. “The change was more about aesthetics, making it more efficient, and making sure [the development] was impressive. We wanted an architectural statement.”
The first tower, 70 Columbus Street, will have a 20,000-square-foot retail space, below about 150 hotel rooms and 550 rental apartments. Ronga said Ironstate and Panepinto are hoping to land a high-end grocer for the retail space and are in talks with extended stay hotel brands to operate the 100,000 square feet dedicated for the rooms. They’re interested in the extended stay sector because they believe it is an underserved sector both nationally and in Jersey City.
Once construction finishes at 70, the fully residential 90 Columbus Street will begin to rise. Ironstate and Panepinto also plan to develop a public plaza around the nearby PATH station to serve commuters, hotel guests and tenants.