Peter Cocoziello, CEO and president of Advance Realty
By Joshua Burd
With the rebuilt 14th Street viaduct as a backdrop, Advance Realty joined public officials on Wednesday to unveil its new luxury apartment building in northern Hoboken.
And aside from being a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 140-unit property, the event was a chance to tout the promise of one of the city’s previously industrial and overlooked neighborhoods.
“When you look at communities and you see the opportunity of new buildings being constructed, someone is viewing that community as being very bright,” said Peter Cocoziello, CEO and president of Advance Realty. “And certainly we viewed this from the beginning that Hoboken was a location, a place that we wanted to be a part of — and we see this as a very bright community, not only now, but for a lot of years moving forward.”
Known as Harlow, the property sits at 1330 Willow Ave. at the corner of 14th Street. Many area residents know it as the future home of the city’s first Trader Joe’s, the highly anticipated anchor tenant in the building’s 20,000-square-foot ground-floor retail space.
During Wednesday’s event, Cocoziello said the store is slated to open early next year.
“Trader Joe’s, for this location, just lights up the area,” he said. “To have a grocer of that magnitude and quality, with fresh food, it’s just great for the community, great for the area.”
But the grocer is just one piece of the success story for Harlow, a site whose previous uses included both a gas station and a facility that processed fuel for street lamps. That left behind some 60 feet of contaminated soil that Advance, a Bridgewater-based developer, had to remove after acquiring the site a decade ago.
What stands today is a seven-story building at one of Hoboken’s major intersections, with several mass transit options nearby and the Lincoln Tunnel a mile away. The property includes amenities such as a landscaped outdoor deck, tenant lounges and a 24-hour concierge.
The building also has 360 parking spaces, a key feature in a city that is notoriously short on parking.
The proximity of the newly rebuilt 14th Street viaduct is perhaps equally important. The bridge, which connects Hoboken to elevated sections of Jersey City and Union City, opened in 2014 after a $55 million project spearheaded by Hudson County.
“When you are in an urban area like Hoboken, which is rather tightly contained, you’ve got to use every bit of space you have to bring in the amenities that go along with growth,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said. “There’s no sense in bringing more people down here if they can’t get around, if they don’t have places to play.”
The project also improved the streetscape and recreational amenities in the area, adding to the neighborhood around Harlow and other new buildings that have opened in recent years. There is now a dedicated park county park directly under the viaduct that will soon be home to an ice skating rink and other offerings.
That area was quiet after Wednesday’s late morning ceremony, but that did not temper Cocoziello’s excitement for its potential. With well-lit walkways, brick architecture and closed-off cobblestone streets, he said, the neighborhood is ripe for public concerts, bocce tournaments, food carts and other elements to help “electrify the space.”
“We want to engage the community, Cocoziello said. “As you see it, your mind starts to imagine how good the whole thing can really get.”