IRONSTATE DEVELOPMENT CO.
It may be tough times for the real estate market, but that isn’t stopping Barry from continuing to build multiple projects.
In May, Hoboken’s Ironstate opened two new properties: 225 Grand, a 15-story rental building in Jersey City with 348 units, 1,700 square feet of retail space and up to 350 parking spaces, in partnership with Bridgewater’s KRE Group; and the 13-story, 93-unit Berkshire, which is expected to receive LEED Silver certification.
Ironstate has also been getting “lots of buzz about Pier Village,” its major redevelopment project in Long Branch, according to one industry source. The developer has completed the project’s first two phases, which include 538 rentals, more than 100,000 square feet of retail space and a boutique hotel on a 16-acre site.
This month, the developer, in partnership with Hoboken-based The Pegasus Group, will begin construction on the first phase of Harrison Commons, which will encompass more than 3,000 residential units and 90,000 square feet of retail space in Harrison.
And in its first international project, Ironstate is developing the W Marrakech Hotel & Residences, a 150-room hotel and 50 for-sale villas in Morocco. Late last year, the developer also was named redeveloper of a decommissioned naval base site in Staten Island, N.Y., where it will build some 800 residential units, stores and a public plaza.
March 14, 2010
The W comes to Hoboken
By Andrea Sachs
If the W Hotel can make it there (New York), can it make it anywhere (Hoboken)?
“It’s the closest thing you can get to New York atmosphere in Hoboken,” said Aron Grodinsky, a New Jersey local who on a recent weekend was spending cocktail hour in the W Hoboken’s lobby-lounge with his wife, another couple and two babies too young to sip even mixers.
“It’s the only place in town where locals would even contemplate getting dressed up,” added his wife, Lauren, pointing at two women attired in skinny jeans, heels and peacoats, the winter uniform of fashionistas.
The W, the hot, popular sister in the Starwood Hotels and Resorts family, landed on the western shore of the Hudson last April. Its arrival made history on two counts: It’s Hoboken’s first hotel and the only W in all of Jersey. And while the city across the river boasts five W’s (six by summer), the Hoboken property has its own bragging rights: unparalleled and unfettered views of Manhattan.
The hotel “offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city,” said Eva Zeigler, global brand leader for W Hotels, “while providing stunning views of the New York skyline.”
The property milks its panoramic asset: You can soak up the skyline in the Tuscan steakhouse Zylo, whose booth-to-ceiling windows frame Midtown; at the Chandelier Room, the nightclub with an outdoor balcony facing you-know-what; and in all but 28 of the 225 guest rooms. In my Spectacular boudoir (an upgrade from Wonderful), I slumped like an invertebrate into a giant cushion with legs that was tucked inside a glass-enclosed alcove. Holding up one finger, I could turn off the lights of Manhattan one by one.
Of course, the hotel is not a one-perk wonder. Its rates are lower than New York’s, its rooms are larger, and the commute into the city is brainless (one stop on the PATH train or a short ferry ride). It also features such hallmark W amenities as a Bliss spa, a teched-out fitness center, complimentary rides in an Acura SUV (up to three miles, Jersey only), a typewriter by the check-in desk to record musings, and a lobby bar that draws a mixed crowd of in- and out-of-towners.
“This one has more of a W flavor than the ones I have stayed at in New York,” said Debbie Velcofsky, a W loyalist visiting from West Palm Beach, Fla. “Some W’s are really flamboyant and have a party atmosphere. This one is warm and cozy.”
Velcofsky was sitting half-supine in the Living Room, the sunken crash pad sandwiched between check-in and Zylo. Filled with patterned pillows and geometrically challenged furniture, the area resembled a modernist’s take on a communal bedroom. But then everyone woke up.
By 11 p.m., the sprawl space was packed with revelers drinking, flirting and talking in their sports-arena voices. The line for the bar was deep, chaotic and seemingly hopeless. Imagining a calmer scene in the Chandelier Room, I attempted to head upstairs but was turned away. The fire marshals were counting heads inside; they’d found one too many and barred any new entrants.
Thwarted, I returned to my Spectacular room and curled up in my cat seat. Looking at the lights twinkling across the way, I marveled at how quiet New York seemed from here.
225 River St., Hoboken, N.J., 201-253-2400 (http://whotels.com/hoboken)
Rooms from $189 a night
January 28, 2010
By ADAM BONISLAWSKI
MOST people take some time making up their minds about buying a home. Nirav Thakker took more than half a decade.
Beginning in 2004, Thakker watched from his Manhattan rental as the eight-phase, 233-unit Henley-on-Hudson development rose across the river in Weehawken, NJ. This fall, after six long years of consideration, he finally decided to buy. On Dec. 1, he and his wife closed on a 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse.
They’re not alone. Since September 2009, Henley-on-Hudson has made 12 sales (nine town-houses, three penthouse condos) each of them for more than $1 million, with the average price being $1.4 million.
Other Jersey projects have seen similar high-end activity. Jersey City high-rise Crystal Point, for instance, has had five $1 million-plus sales since the beginning of September. A $1 million-plus penthouse sold at Trump Plaza Jersey City in December. Two weeks ago, the Peninsula at City Place in Edgewater received an offer on one of its four $1 million-plus homes.
The W Hoboken sold both a $2.2 million three-bedroom and a $1.725 million two-bedroom in December. And at Toll Brothers’ Maxwell Place and Hudson Tea buildings in Hoboken, four $1 million-plus apartments recently sold to eager buyers who took furnished and semi-furnished model apartments.
All of this raises the question: Has the luxury market returned to New Jersey? And if so, why now?
For Thakker and his wife, falling prices played a significant part. When he first noticed Henley-on-Hudson in 2004, the prices there, he says, “were astronomical.” And so, while he was interested in the property, renting in Manhattan still made more financial sense.
Six years and one global economic collapse later, prices for some residences at the development have fallen, Thakker says, as much as 60 percent from what he observed at their 2006 peak. (Michael Skea, the project’s director of operations, says prices at Henley-on-Hudson are down an
average of 15 to 20 percent from their high.)
“It’s down quite dramatically,” Thakker says, “to where the rent-versus-own calculations made more sense.”
W Hoboken resident Nathan Bernstein similarly took advantage of falling prices — and unlucky buyers abandoning their contracts — to get into a building he’d had his eye on for some time.
He had inquired about the W during pre-construction only to be told there was a 100-plus-person waiting list. Then, in the wake of the 2008 credit crisis, several purchasers pulled out of their deals, and those units went back onto the market.
This past December, Bernstein bought one of them — a 1,950-square-foot two-bedroom. He paid $1.725 million — about 10 percent less than the original price of the apartment.
It wasn’t price alone, though, that prompted Bernstein to buy. A stock trader, he suspects that both the stock and housing markets have stabilized.
“I think we’ve seen the worst of it,” he says. “I think the market has turned and is holding now.”
Thakker, who works in finance and, in fact, worked for Lehman Brothers before its 2008 demise, is also cautiously optimistic.
“I just didn’t feel that the downside was that much anymore,” he says of his recent decision to buy. “Even if prices dropped further, I didn’t think it would be anything devastating.”
“The higher-end market is definitely on an upswing,” says Coldwell Banker’s Mi-chele Kolsky-Assatly, broker for the Bellaire development in Demarest. “I’m talking about $1.5 million and up.”
The Bellaire has 34 town-homes ranging in size from 5,800 to 7,800 square feet. The Bergen County development sold one $2 million residence at the end of 2009 and currently has three more in contract at more than $1.5 million each.
The return of finance industry buyers like Bernstein and Thakker has been key to the Jersey luxury market’s revival, Kolsky-Assatly says. “When Wall Street is happy, the people who can afford the better properties step up to the plate.”
And as buyers begin snapping up homes once again, others may feel increased pressure to act, says Roseland Property’s Debra Tantleff. This is particularly the case in the high-end market, she suggests, where, inventory tends to be sparser (in absolute terms) and more unique.
“There aren’t as many choices out there,” she says, “and if you wait too long, it might not be there when you come back.”
Buyers at Roseland’s 76-unit Morristown development, 40 Park, seem to be heeding this advice. A $1.9 million penthouse went into contract there in November, and since the beginning of 2010, three-, additional $1 million-plus penthouses have sold.
Toll Brothers Senior Vice President Ben Jogodnik points to the combination of lowered prices and low interest rates to explain the recent high-end activity.
“The intersection of those two points is downright historic,” he says, noting that from June through September of last year, roughly 60 percent of the sales at the firm’s Maxwell Place and Hudson Tea developments topped the $1 million mark.
“June of last year, it was like a switch flipped,” says
Jogodnik. “What it set the stage for was a pretty remarkable period where we sold a lot of real estate, and we sold a lot of pretty expensive real estate.”
Among those buying was Scott Adler, who, with his
wife, Susan, closed on an 1,878-square-foot two-bedroom at Maxwell Place in October. Like Thakker and Bernstein, Adler, a sales representative for a drug company, had been considering a purchase for several years but only recently decided to take the plunge.
Low interest rates, lowered prices and a stabilizing, economy didn’t hurt, but what ultimately pushed Adler to buy was the fact
that Susan, a doctor, had recently finished her residency and joined a practice.
“Once she started her new job, we got more confident in being able to handle [the purchase] financially,” he says.
The revival of activity at the more modest end of the Hoboken market didn’t hurt either.
Before he could buy the new apartment, Adler had to sell the one-bedroom a few blocks away that he had owned for seven years.
That turned out to be a snap.
He put it on sale in early October. Two weeks later, it had sold, and he and his wife were on their way to Maxwell Place.
Call it trickle-up economics.
Tri-state area singles are invited to meet the new love of their lips at the Find Your Luvah™ speed dating event hosted by Master Matchmaker® Steve Ward on January 29, 2010
(New York, New York – January 5, 2010) Double duty beauty brand Purple Lab™ will launch its new beauty product, Luvah™, a double plumping lip color equipped with aphrodisiacs, tagged as the “Ultimate Dating Tool,” on January 29, 2010 at the W Hoboken Hotel and Residences during what could be the largest speed dating event in Guinness World Records® history.
Tri-state area singles are invited to participate in the record-breaking attempt which will be hosted by Master Matchmaker® Steve Ward, CEO of Master Matchmakers®, who is currently in his second season of VH1’s “Tough Love,” where he continues to transform the lives of unlucky-in-love women who are willing to do whatever it takes to find Mr. Right. Steve recently announced news of a third season, “Tough Love Couples.” Of the partnership with Purple Lab™, Steve says, “I get excited to do anything that helps people find love or people otherwise in need. At this Purple Lab™ event I get to do both.”
The ultra chic W Hoboken Hotel, located on the Hudson Riverfront facing midtown Manhattan, is gearing up for the event by preparing its Great Room to accommodate hundreds of speed daters looking for love in all the right places. For added convenience to those traveling from New York City and from throughout New Jersey, W Hoboken has commissioned Acura to chauffeur participants back and forth to the Hoboken PATH Station throughout the evening. And, as a congratulatory tribute to any matches made that evening, W Hoboken will invite the lucky-in-love pairs back for a round of complimentary cocktails.
“We’re delighted to join Purple Lab™ in celebrating their new beauty product, Luvah™, and more than excited about being a part of setting the world record in speed dating,” notes Anna MacDiarmid, General Manager of W Hoboken. “I can’t think of better place than W Hoboken to make a love connection in world record fashion.”
Luvah™, available in shades called Rich Jerk and Mama’s Boy, was created by Purple Lab™ Creatrix Karen Robinovitz and will be available beginning February 18, 2009 on HSN, the interactive lifestyle and retail destination. Luvah™ is a nod to Karen’s journey of 150 dates to find her husband. “I created Luvah™ as a chic reminder that all girls deserve the best. The colors are classic, beautiful, and perfect on everyone.
Each shade is named after the type of guy I dated to fine my true love – and I’m sure you’ve known them all, too!”
Each female participant will have the opportunity to put Luvah™ to the test, receiving a complimentary product at entry. Participants over 21 will also enjoy an open bar from X–Rated Fusion Liqueur, personalized underwear from Blume Girl, limited-edition bottles of Dentyne gum designed by Anthony Yankovic – for confident, fresh breath during each “date” and Skinny Water, a zero-calorie, zero-sugar enhanced water to keep the daters refreshed, energized and at their best. Music will be curated by True Sound Music. A $15 entry fee will apply, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Women In Need, a local charity that gives back to homeless women and their families in New York City.
Beginning January 5, participants ages 21-35 are invited to pre-register for the event at purplelabnyc.com/speeddating.
Purple Lab’s™ Find Your Luvah™ speed dating event will occur on January 29 at W Hoboken in Hoboken, New Jersey. Doors will open for registration at 7pm. Pre-registered guests are asked to arrive at 8pm.
For those who may want to make a weekend of it, January 29th also marks the launch of W Hoboken’s Girls Weekend Getaway package, which invites ladies to grab their gal pals and experience a wow worthy weekend including1 wonderful room, 2 intro classes at S Factor Studio, 2 cool cocktails, Purple Lab’s™ Huge Lips Skinny Hips™ lip gloss, a Metro card, and 10% discount off any product at S Factor studio. For information please visit whotels.com/Hoboken
About Purple Lab™
Purple Lab™ is a privately owned beauty and lifestyle brand created by former journalist, Karen Robinovitz. Purple Lab™ continues to introduce innovative double duty beauty products designed to add a daily dose of glam, while providing a service to the body, soul and self confidence. For more information, visit purplelabnyc.com.
About W Hotels Worldwide®
W Hotels is an innovative contemporary lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 35 hotels and retreats in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of “Wow.” Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand’s sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, and signature spas. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to double its footprint by 2011. W Hotels and W Retreats have been announced for Downtown New York, Hollywood, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Bali, Vieques Island and Verbier, among other international destinations. For more information, visit whotels.com.
About Master Matchmakers®
Master Matchmakers® has been connecting bright, attractive and successful single men and women for more than 20 years. Founded by JoAnn Ward and based in Philadelphia, Master Matchmakers® provides a sophisticated way for exceptional singles to achieve long-lasting relationships. For more information, visit mastermatchmakers.com
October 22, 2009
By ADAM BONISLAWSKI
The W Hoboken sold the last of its 40 residential units in April 2007. By the time the building began closings in April 2009, however, the real estate market was much softer. And, in what’s become a familiar story, some of the original condo buyers were no longer able or willing to go through with their deals.
Six contracts at the building have fallen through (with 31 units having closed and three more scheduled to close), according to Michael Barry, a principal with the project’s developer, Ironstate Development. And those apartments are up for sale again.
It’s a much different time than the heady days of 2006 and 2007, when the average sales price in the building was $1,040 per square foot. Even then, the number was eye-catching for a New Jersey development.
So what kind of money are these re-released units now going for? $900 per square foot? $800? $700? Try $1,000 — and up.
“We’re not going to alter the sales program too drastically from our original plans,” Barry says. “We think it’s still a good value.”
Whether buyers will agree remains to be seen. (Barry claims to have “two or three interested parties that are around the dollar figures we’re talking about.”) But there are signs of optimism cropping up across the Hudson.
According to data from New Jersey appraisal firm Otteau Valuation Group, Hoboken had a 10.9-month supply of inventory on the market at the beginning of this year. By August, that number had fallen to 8.8 months, and sales activity was up 63 percent compared to January and 34 percent compared to April.
Jersey City saw an even more pronounced warming trend, with a 10.8-month supply of inventory on the market in August compared to a 27.1-month supply at the start of the year, and August sales activity up 126 percent compared to January and 48 percent compared to April.
These trends are visible when you look at specific buildings, as well. Take Jersey City condo Crystal Point. This spring, business at the 269-unit waterfront high-rise was so slow that the project’s builder, Fisher Development Associates, successfully petitioned the city to extend the project’s tax abatement from 20 to 30 years. The building had been on the market for seven months with only 24 “firm” contracts, James McCann, a lawyer representing Fisher, told the city council at a June 1 meeting. The developer, McCann noted, was selling some units below cost — at under $500 per square foot.
“This is a question of survival or failure for this project,” McCann said. “The developer is facing the possibility of losing its shirt.”
Activity at Crystal Point (priced from the low $500,000s) has picked up dramatically since then. By the end of June, the building had sold a quarter of its units. And a recent two-week span saw the sale of 19 more apartments — a rate of better than one a day.
Sales haven’t been quite so brisk at Metro Homes’ Gulls Cove project in the Paulus Hook section of Jersey City (priced from the low $300,000s), where developer Dean Geibel says over the past three months he’s been averaging about a sale a week.
That’s a good enough pace, though, that Geibel has decided to kick off the 110-unit second phase of the project sometime in 2010.
“As we’ve progressed through this year, I’ve gotten more and more positive,” he says. “Each month I’ve felt more comfortable bringing [phase two] online.”
Although Geibel sold his interest in the 55-story Trump Plaza Jersey City this summer, he maintains he still plans to build that development’s second tower — eventually.
“It’s shelved,” he says, “but it’s not history.”
Also looking to the future is Hoboken’s Fields Development Group, which, says principal James Caulfield, plans to start next year on three new projects: a 30-plus-unit building in Hoboken and 130-unit and 22-unit buildings in Jersey City.
“Interest rates are low and construction costs are stable,” Caulfield says, explaining his plans to build through the downturn. And with fewer developers now active, he expects there to be less inventory to compete with when his projects come to market in two to three years.
As for selling in the here and now, Caulfield is trying a unique approach with his firm’s new 76-unit Jersey City condo building, the Saffron: He’s taking it straight to auction.
In August, Fields auctioned off all eight units in its Hoboken development 1300 Park. The event drew several hundred people, and after starting with suggested opening bids of $150,000, the apartments (originally priced from $419,000 to $619,000) sold at prices ranging from $401,000 to $449,000. Impressed by the results, Caulfield decided to apply the approach with the Saffron. Sales there kick off with a Nov. 8 auction at which nine units will be up for grabs, with suggested opening bids starting at $175,000.
Also launching sales this fall is phase two of Jersey City development the Beacon, where 25 full- and half-floor lofts are coming to market at prices starting under $300 a square foot.
For those looking to buy, it could make sense to take the plunge soon, says Otteau Group president Jeffery Otteau. Inventory levels suggest that prices in Hoboken and Jersey City might still decline somewhat, he notes, but he anticipates the market will strengthen moving into 2010.
“Our expectation is that new-construction sales in the first half of 2010 will be up 50 percent from this year,” he says. “We’ll be in a much stronger place.”
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
– Jets teammates Donald Strickland and James Ihedigbo must be rolling in dough. The best-bud ballers, who beat the Giants on Saturday, checked out matching luxury condos at the W Hoboken on Monday night. The fancy digs go for upwards of $2 million. Later, they celebrated their potential new homes at the hotel’s Chandelier Room. Now that’s the good life.