Tag Archives: Jersey City real estate

Ironstate Development Named Top NJ Developer

Ironstate Development Company tops The Real Deal’s list of top New Jersey developers.

BY C. J. Hughes

Hudson County, which includes urban areas like Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken, is radiating cool these days, with its hip restaurants, arts scene and proximity to New York City. That vibe, along with rents often around 50 percent of Manhattan’s and 20 percent cheaper than those in Brooklyn, is making it one of the hottest residential destinations in the tri-state area, its supporters say.

“It’s a terrific location for somebody who wants affordability,” said Jeffrey Kanne, the chief executive of National Real Estate Advisors, which has teamed with Kushner Real Estate Group to build Journal Squared,
a three-phase, 1,800-unit colossus in
Jersey City.

Using our own research and data from CoStar Group and BuzzBuzzHome,

The Real Deal ranked the top developers by number of units that hit the market in 2014 and 2015, as well as those that will come online by the end of 2017. When firms partnered on projects, TRD allocated the full number of units to each of them.

1. Ironstate Development Company

Claiming the top spot is a Hoboken-based firm with deep roots in the area, Ironstate Development Company, with 3,354 units. A huge chunk of that total is made up by URL (Urban Ready Living) Harborside, an amenity-laden rental complex in Jersey City with a total of about 2,300 units. Its first phase, which will open in mid-2016, will consist of 763 apartments in a massive 69-story tower.

Harborside, which is being developed in partnership with Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, will feature a gym and even an urban farm with beehives. Its lobby cafe, which is expected to be operated by New York chain Coffeed, will be open to the public and “become a social hub for the neighborhood,” said Michael Barry, an Ironstate executive.

The company is also the developer — with Panepinto Properties (see #10) — behind the luxury residences 50, 70 and 90 Columbus in Jersey City.


Kushner, Ironstate’s 18 Park kicks off leasing

Exterior 28p

via Julie Strickland/The Real Deal

Kushner Real Estate Group and Ironstate Development Company’s 422-unit downtown Jersey City rental building is now leasing.

The 11-story building is offering up a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units ranging from $2,200 to $4,000 per month, according to a release from the developers. Several of the units are built in “town home style,” while some boast terraces, while all feature stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, 9-foot ceilings and hardwood floors throughout. Building amenities include Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Downtown Manhattan views, as well as a 24-hour doorman, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, catering kitchen and dining space, wifi lounge, screening area, dog run, bike room and an enclosed parking garage.


Designed to meet LEED certification, the property was also crafted to meet Feng Shui principles set forth by Feng Shui Manhattan.

The Marketing Directors is the property’s exclusive leasing agent.

The building will also be home to the new Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County, with a state-of-the-art facility with a gym and floor-to-ceiling glass wall that can be independently accessed.

18 P outside

The project, which broke ground in June 2012, marks the latest partnership venture between Ironstate and Kushner, who launched sales down the street at 225 Grand in 2010 and leased it up in ten months. Kushner Real Estate Group is run by Murray Kushner, not to be confused with his brother Charles of Kushner Companies.

Visit http://18park.com/

Buy, Sell Or Stay Put


Patrick Sullivan at EXEMPT magazine highlights 18 Park in Jersey City and Ironstate Development Company.


The outlook is good even for nonprofit buyers. That’s because “cultural spaces are considered a sexy partner to have,” according to Wolf, a principal at the firm. Developers might look to nonprofit partners because of the cachet their programs bring, and because most nonprofits don’t need the foot traffic that retail spaces do and can thus be more flexible in terms of location. “Nonprofits are good partners in larger developer projects,” said Powers. “There’s interest in having a community partner.”

Such was the case for Gary Greenberg, executive director and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County in Jersey City, N.J. Greenberg’s organization, housed in a retrofitted coal bunker since 1984, will move to a new facility about 200 yards away at no cost. Ironstate Development and Kushner Real Estate Group (KRE), developers of the new building known as 18 Park, approached Greenberg to ask if he would consider selling a portion of current property. Talks soon moved to selling the entire lot, and the developers suggested the Boys and Girls Clubs move into 18 Park, which is slated for completion next year.

Having a nonprofit on the ground floor is “helping to get notoriety and in general, the community, the city and lenders feel great about it,” said David Barry, president of the Hoboken, N.J.-based Ironstate De­vel­op­ment. “Overall it’s a great thing and people feel good about it. Whether it has a direct impact on dollars per square foot on the apartments, I can’t really say.”

The deal consists of selling the Boys and Girls Clubs’ current land and moving into the new space, and the Club will get to keep the difference between the sale price and the cost of the new space. The net gain for the Boys and Girls Clubs could reach up to $5 million, said Greenberg and Barry.

The sale of the old building closed in early May, and Barry said it sold for “roughly $12.5 million.” He added, “The city allowed us to zone (the old site) for additional development, and that allowed us to pay more than just the cost of relocating the Boys and Girls Clubs.”

Most of 18 Park will be luxury rentals, but Greenberg will have about 35,000 square feet on the ground floor, which is roughly the size of his current space. The new construction means fewer upkeep and repair costs. “There isn’t a day that’s gone by in the last 20 years we haven’t been fixing or repairing something. It’s a fortune to run and maintain,” said Greenberg about the current space. Once the club moves, he said, “Rather than spend funds on occupancy, we’re able to use those funds for the kids and the programs. It saves a tremendous amount.”

The club’s presence in the building is also beneficial to tenants, said Greenberg. He’s going to keep the facility open after hours so 18 Park residents can use the gym. “Imagine you’re a young guy, still playing a little ball, you know after the kids are gone you can go down and use the facility,” said Greenberg. The clubs’s space is “a community center for the building, as well.”

Read the full article here >>>

An Ironclad Growth Plan


By Joshua Burd

Ironstate Development principals David, left, and Michael Barry at the site of 18 Park, a 422-unit residential building in Jersey City.




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.”


Path to glory

Jersey City development is on the march to greater heights

By MAX GROSS/ New York Post

Like some desperate boy on the make, Brooklyn and Long Island City spent a long time trying to convince apartment hunters to give them a chance.

Now it’s Jersey City’s turn.

Like Hunters Point and Williamsburg, Jersey City is close to Manhattan — only one train stop away (a PATH train, true). But new apartments are a lot cheaper, and a lot more plentiful, here than in the city.

And while new construction often seems stalled or small-ball in the five boroughs, Jersey City is shooting for the moon.

Manhattan trends including eco-friendly living are starting to appear at developments like Madox, the new rental building that will be the first LEED-certified residential building in Jersey City (as well as the first smoke-free one). Madox will open the Paulus Hook neighborhood this fall.

“It might be the first smoke-free [residential] building in New Jersey,” says James Caulfield Jr., a principal with Fields Development Group, which is putting up Madox.

Prices haven’t been set yet for the 131 apartments (there will also be at least two commercial spaces), but one can expect them to be in line with other newer Jersey City luxury properties (in the upper $30-to-lower-$40-per-square-foot range, per year).

In the next 15 months, Paulus Hook will get another boost of development with the Warren at York. This will be a 12-story, 139-unit rental building featuring one-, two- and three-bedrooms that range from 714 to 1,350 square feet.

“We’re going to have a gym, a media lounge, a pool table, a movie screen, sitting areas and a green roof,” says Jonathan Schwartz, senior vice president of BNE Real Estate Group, which is developing the Warren at York.

Clearly, eco-friendly has been accepted by more than one Jersey City developer.

Madox and the Warren at York are smaller than other Jersey City developments in the works. The new 18 Park, which broke ground this summer, will be an 11-story building with 422 apartments; the residences will sit atop the 34,000-square-foot Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County and 10,000 square feet of retail. The development should be finished by early 2014.

“This was kind of a win-win transaction,” says Josiah Wuestneck, senior vice president at Ironstate Development, which is building 18 Park withKRE Group. The Boys & Girls Club “needed a new home and an endowment to ensure longevity of organization. They had an existing site, so we worked out a deal where we would build them the new space and relocate them.”

While this sounds mammoth, also on Ironstate’s plate is Harborside Financial Center, which is being developed in partnership with Mack-Cali Realty. This is a three-phase project that will bring over 2,000 units to market, as well as several million square feet of office space.

“We’re going to break ground on the first building, which is 69 stories,” in the fourth quarter of this year, Wuestneck says. Ironstate is planning 766 apartments in this first tower. This first phase of Harborside, should be finished in early 2015. (The other two towers are expected to be similar in design and size.)

And if that’s not enough, Newport is also planning more buildings — although so far the developer LeFrak has been mum about any of the details.

Eat your heart out, Long Island City!


Glory Days Ahead

  By Michael Ratliff, Associate Editor


The lobby at 225 Grand

With rents in Manhattan expected to increase 7 percent in 2012, it is no surprise that many apartment seekers are looking to the outer boroughs and New Jersey as a refuge. Queens, Brooklyn and Hoboken are well-known hot spots for young professionals looking for a better bang for their buck when it comes down to both space and amenities. Get ready to add Jersey City to that list.

The state’s second largest city sits just over the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. It has been quickly overcoming its stigma of urban decline thanks to the availability of underdeveloped waterfront land. The industrial businesses that vacated from the 1950s through 1970s left behind a plethora of vacant rail yards and factories, space that allowed for a full-on urban renaissance that began in the 1980s and is still moving at full steam today. This is perhaps most visible in the success of the Exchange Place financial district, colloquially called “Wall Street West,” which experienced a rapid construction of high-rise office buildings—assets that are now occupied by the likes of Goldman Sachs, UBS and Merrill Lynch. Add in a light rail system that debuted in 2000 and now offers seamless access to Manhattan-bound PATH trains and you have an area primed for extremely successful transit-oriented development.

“There is a ton of land and it is not developed, and it is extraordinarily convenient to be next to New York City,” says Christian Giordano, principal & director of Architectural Design at HLW International LLP, a global firm that is designing several high-profile multifamily developments in Jersey City. “The city knows they are sitting on valuable, undeveloped land, so they are really encouraging developers to come in and build these apartments. And the developers are trying to get the one-bedroom crowd that wants a bigger place and wants to have a little bit of an easier lifestyle than living in Manhattan.”

HLW International is currently designing a series of towers for a joint venture between Mack-Cali Realty Corp. and Ironstate Development Co. in Exchange Place. The first phase of the development will include two waterfront towers with approximately 500 units each. Ground should break in late 2012 with an expected construction period of two years.

Just a few thousand feet southwest of Exchange Place is Liberty Harbor, a high-density, transit-oriented infill redevelopment that is home to some of the city’s newest multifamily projects. The 80-acre, 28-block neighborhood is home to 225 Grand, another HLW International designed building, this time developed by Ironstate Development Co. and Kushner Real Estate Group. The fact that this building leased up just 10 months after its May 2010 completion demonstrates just how strong Jersey City market fundamentals are.

“Jersey City is unique in that it has better transportation to Lower Manhattan, and in some cases Midtown Manhattan, than the Upper East and Upper West Sides,” says Jonathan Kushner, president of Kushner Real Estate Group. “The young professionals want to live here and save the money that they would otherwise spend living in Manhattan and still have a high-quality housing experience with convenient transportation and access to nightlife and parking. It’s just a really great way to live.”


Scaled up architecture with community benefits

The Division of City Planning has been actively seeking to ratchet up the quality of architecture in Jersey City over the past 20 years to help raise property values and in turn tax revenue, which will benefit some of the city’s older communities. Waterfront areas like Liberty Harbor are especially important.

“I make the analogy to a cash crop,” Cotter says. “You put the best plants, the one with the highest production values, on the waterfront land because it is the most fertile. If you want to get the world-class users, you are going to need world-class architecture.”

But in order to get the best, Jersey City is willing to be a bit more flexible in regards to the needs of developers and architects compared to other cities, according to HLW’s Giordano.

“Jersey City is great in the respect that they will hear what the developer has to say, and they will actually think about it. They might push back if they feel that it is more important to have the right thing for Jersey City, and they will ask us to adapt for it,” Giordano says. “Or they might see that our idea makes sense, and realize that if they aren’t amenable to some of the developer’s needs, they are not going to build. It is not New York City, where you follow every rule to a tee and there is no messing around. Here it is a give and take.”

But the Division of Planning does add that the needs of the Jersey City community will always take precedence.

“While there is flexibility in the zoning, and there is flexibility for the architect to create the best product possible, at the same time we let them know up front about all of the components that the community needs to make sure that the development doesn’t have any negative impacts,” says Bucci-Carter.

A quintessential example of the materialized Liberty Harbor redevelopment plan is HLW’s 225 Grand. It is currently the largest single residential property in the new neighborhood. The 348-unit community consists of a 15-story concrete tower with a glass and brick façade and a lower five-story wrap built from lightweight steel that includes a small retail portion and internalized parking. The luxury rental comes complete with a full host of amenities including a doorman, fitness center, billiards room, lounge, business center and a roof deck pool on top of the lower portion. Edward Shim, a senior designer at HLW who worked on 225 Grand from the start, says that a well thought-out amenity package is especially important in Jersey City.

“Unlike New York, where all of the amenities are available down the block, Jersey City currently lacks that support,” Shim says. “As a result, the developers are trying everything they can to provide those amenities with the asset.”

The fully leased property has eliminated concessions and enjoys rents that continue to grow, performance markers that demonstrate the overall strength of the market, says Joshua Wuestneck, senior vice president of development at Ironstate Development Co.

“We are extremely bullish on the rental housing market in Jersey City and in the shadow of Manhattan in general,” Wuestneck says.

The success at 225 Grand serves as a launching point for the partnership’s next two developments in Liberty Harbor, the first being 18 Park, a 422-unit building located two blocks to the south. Construction will commence in 2012, allowing for a slated occupancy by fall 2013. The property will include a custom-designed facility that will serve as the new home for the Boys and Girls Club that is currently located on the site of Ironstate and Kushner Real Estate Group’s third, and largest, project in Liberty Harbor.

“The whole plan kind of came together organically with the Boys and Girls Club, which needed an injection of capital into their organization,” says Wuestneck. “It also allows the club to remain in the same area, which was important for them. It has certainly been a win-win situation for everyone.”

The project, which for now is called Block 5, will entail a 45-story podium rental tower where the Boys and Girls Club (currently located in a repurposed coal bunker) now sits. The site, which will also house a 10-story rental structure, will total approximately 670 units when completed. The asset will also have the distinction of serving as a welcoming gateway for Liberty Harbor from the historical districts to the north thanks to some clever tweaks to the street grid. The plan calls for an extension of Grove Street, which terminates at the Boys and Girls Club, and the revitalization of an adjacent underutilized park.

The yet-to-be-named 45-story tower designed by HLW International will feature a similar amenity package and design to what is currently being offered in 225 Grand. There will be an outdoor pool with deck space located on top of the roughly eight-story parking/residential podium. The outdoor element will also include some green space, a playground and a miniature dog run. Interior amenities should include a multi-use lounge and a fitness center. The building’s design also focuses on improving what is available in the immediate vicinity, which becomes an additional amenity for both residents and Liberty Harbor as a whole.

“Aside from redesigning the park to become an attractive amenity not only to this building, but also to the surrounding buildings in the area, our solution was to come up with a lobby entrance and ground floor that was double-height,” Shim says. “The lobby will be directly across from the park and flanked by two larger pieces of retail. The two-story retail element will activate the street level and bring some life and people into this development, which really should become the focal point for this particular area.”

Housing Calls To Mack-Cali


Mack-Cali Realty Corp., New Jersey’s largest office landlord, announced a joint venture to develop two luxury apartment towers on Jersey City’s waterfront Wednesday.

The deal, Mack-Cali’s first foray into multifamily properties in a decade, comes as the company seeks new ways to expand as demand for office space in the Garden State remains stagnant and competition for office tenants grows fierce.

Meanwhile, the apartment market has been strong, and demand for rental apartments is growing, especially from young, urban professionals priced out of the Manhattan.

Mack-Cali, a real-estate investment trust, is teaming up with the Hoboken-based Ironstate Development Co., which built and owns Hoboken’s W hotel. The Jersey City development plan calls for two luxury towers with 500 rental units; each tower will have one-bedroom and studio apartments, sizes that appeal to younger renters. The towers will utilize two city blocks of vacant parking lots adjacent to Mack-Cali’s Harborside Financial Center office complex spanning roughly 3 million square feet on the waterfront.

“This an opportunity to take advantage of land we already owned and to grow the business by putting that land to work in a sector of the real-estate market where there is very strong demand and where we expect it to be…profitable for us,” said Mitchell Hersh, chief executive of Mack-Cali in an interview. He indicated that this company could announce additional multifamily deals in the future.

Mack-Cali, which is based in Edison, N.J., and owns 278 properties, has been among the worst performing REITs this year, in part because of its heavy concentration in the office sector in New Jersey. The office-vacancy rate in northern New Jersey was 18% as of the third quarter, higher than the national average of 17.4%, according to Reis Inc.

Meanwhile, apartment landlords nationwide are seeing rental rates increase and vacancy rates decline. In the third quarter, the vacancy rate in Hudson County—which includes Jersey City—was 5.2%, flat from a year earlier and lower than the 5.6% national rate, Reis said. Hudson County’s rent after freebies came in at an average of $2,523, up from $2,466 a year earlier. The national rate is $1,004.

“What they’re doing, I think it’s very smart. At the moment, the market clearly shows more demand for residential than for office,” said Jamie LeFrak, a principal in the LeFrak Organization, a major developer in Jersey City. He noted that with so much office space under construction at the World Trade Center just across the river in lower Manhattan, residential is “the highest and best use of the property now.”

Mack-Cali and Ironstate expect to break ground on the apartment towers in the fourth quarter of 2012.  READ MORE WALL STREET JOURNAL >>>

%d bloggers like this: