The first phase of Journal Squared in Jersey City — Courtesy: Qualls Benson
By Joshua Burd
It was “the place to bring a date” back in the 1970s — Jersey City’s own version of Times Square, with bustling movie theaters and crowds lined up to patronize local hot dog vendors.
That’s according to John Bardis, owner of Boulevard Drinks in the city’s Journal Square section, recalling the wisdom of his father in a new video that seeks to promote the area.
“It was a happy place,” he said. “(For) everybody that gets to move into this neighborhood — I hope they realize they’re moving into the next best thing again.”
Featuring Bardis and other local business owners, the sleek, two-minute video is part of a new marketing pitch by the developer KRE Group. With its partner, National Real Estate Advisors, the firm is preparing to open a high-profile project in one of Jersey City’s most storied neighborhoods — a 53-story residential tower that will mark the first piece of what’s known as Journal Squared.
Leasing at the 538-unit first tower is slated to begin early next year, prompting the firms to unveil a new website and new renderings of its interior. At full build-out, the project calls for 1,838 upscale residential units and 36,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space — all with direct access to the Journal Square PATH station.
The Marketing Directors will oversee leasing at the project, which aims to spark a revitalization in the onetime commercial heart of Jersey City. Jonathan Kushner, president of Bridgewater-based KRE Group, expressed that hope at a construction ceremony late last year.
“We believe this iconic project will serve as the centerpiece of a resurgent urban neighborhood by creating much-needed residential, retail and open space that complements the existing mass transportation infrastructure,” Kushner said at the time.
The complex is located at Magnolia, Pavonia and Summit avenues, sitting atop the highest point in Jersey City. It will offer residents amenities seen in many of today’s luxury rental properties, including a fitness room, yoga room and sun deck, while offering sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline.
The architecture for Journal Squared is by Handel Architects and HWKN, while the interiors are by Christopher Stevens. For more than a year, the white column-like tower has been on the rise, quickly becoming a distinctive piece of the Hudson County skyline.
“We’re moving quickly to realize our vision for this game-changing project in Jersey City, which combines vanguard design, unmatched transportation links and outstanding public amenities,” Jeff Kanne, CEO and president of National Real Estate Advisors, said in December. “It offers the best of what inspired urban redevelopment must deliver: a highly attractive city environment, convenient lifestyles and an anchor for future growth.”