A rendering of KKF Enterprises’ planned 144-unit project on the west side of Jersey City. — Courtesy: KKF Enterprises
By Joshua Burd
For an apartment complex that will be built on university-owned land, the concept of a smart home seems all too fitting.
That will be the case for a new 144-unit project by KKF Enterprises, part of a sweeping redevelopment on the western side of Jersey City. Among other offerings, the market-rate community is slated to have built-in smart speaker devices in each home, preinstalled WiFi and the capability to remotely control lights, door locks and other functions through a smart phone.
It’s just part of the appeal that the developer sees for what will be the latest piece of University Place, a $400 million effort on New Jersey City University’s west campus.
“We think that the development will make this a vibrant community overall and allow access to great housing on the west side of Jersey City, as well as retail and entertainment spaces,” said Greg Lentine, director of university campus development for KKF. “We’re looking at this as a great alternative to the Journal Square area, because everything will be here.”
KKF, an affiliate of PRC Group, expects to deliver the project around fall 2019, offering sleek, modern one- and two-bedroom units that are about a third of a mile from a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station. The building along West Side Avenue will include amenities such as a pet-washing station, a coffee bar, a fitness center and a host of indoor and outdoor social areas.
Designed by Feinberg & Associates, the project is also the first of two that KKF is planning for the Jersey City neighborhood. Both will be part of NJCU’s 20-acre University Place project, which includes two other market-rate projects by private developers alongside grocery-anchored retail space, a performing arts center and a student housing complex that opened in fall 2016.
The projects result from a 2009 state law that allowed public colleges and universities to invite private development on their land without taking on the risk of construction and financing. Projects at other institutions in the state have focused largely on student housing, but the NJCU venture has led to opportunities for new market-rate apartments in a gritty, lesser-known swath of Jersey City.
Lentine said his firm won’t actively market its project to NJCU attendees, but the units could make sense for graduate students and undergraduates with roommates. That’s due in part to the price point, the appeal of new construction and the planned amenities in and around the property.
“This project, along with the university expansion, changes the west side of Jersey City,” Lentine said. “We’re in the live, work and learn section of the market, where people will be able to do everything right outside their door.”
All renderings courtesy: PRC Group
At KKF’s building, those renters will have the added benefit of smart home technology. For instance, residents who are not home can unlock their door remotely in order to allow a guest into their apartment.
Another feature slated for the building is cost-effective WiFi that is either included or discounted, which Lentine said will appeal to renters who are moving away from traditional cable packages and relying on streaming platforms.
“There are certain things that we want to offer our tenants,” he said. “And people today aren’t so much into cable television as they are WiFi, so we started out by having high-speed internet and making sure they have really good service.”
He added that the project will mark the debut of PRC’s City Line brand, a residential concept focused on urban living and modern design. The concept will also be part of a project that the firm is planning for the Bayonne waterfront.