A development team including The Hampshire Cos., Claremont Cos. and Circle Squared Alternative Investments joined officials from Jersey City and New Jersey City University to break ground on RIVET 2 on the city’s west side. — Photo by Aaron Houston/Courtesy: The Hampshire Cos.
By Joshua Burd
A joint venture has launched the next phase of a major project in Jersey City, breaking ground on nearly 200 apartments under a redevelopment spearheaded by New Jersey City University.
The development team — which includes The Hampshire Cos., Claremont Cos. and Circle Squared Alternative Investments — has started construction at what will be 26 University Blvd. Located on the west end of Jersey City, the project known as RIVET 2 will include 199 luxury rental units and 10,000 square feet of retail space, rising near a similar building that the joint venture completed last summer.
“For developers, creating a sense of place and community can often be one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale real estate project,” said James E. Hanson II, Hampshire’s CEO and president. “With the ongoing leasing success at RIVET 1 and our groundbreaking for RIVET 2, we believe that we are well on our way towards creating a unique, mixed-use community in one of the country’s most exciting real estate markets.”
Hanson praised NJCU President Sue Henderson and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday alongside executives from the development team. Stakeholders touted the ongoing transformation of the redevelopment area between Route 440 and West Side Avenue, where NJCU has partnered with several private-sector developers.
All told, the university’s master plan calls for eight buildings with 1,000 new luxury residential units, more than 120,000 square feet of retail space, a performing arts center, cafés and open space.
“As we celebrate the groundbreaking for RIVET 2, we can also celebrate the successful public-private partnership that has made the University Place project a reality,” Henderson said. “Through a collaborative spirit guided by a shared vision, the University Place development team has been able to successfully realize each component of our ambitious plan and highlight the effectiveness of public/private partnerships in bringing tangible, transformative real estate development to our communities.”
RIVET 1, the first project by Hampshire, Claremont and Circle Squared, opened last summer with 163 units and 10,000 square feet of retail space. The joint venture expects the residential portion to be fully leased later this spring, while the retail space is fully leased by five tenants.
A separate project — by a joint venture including KKF University Enterprises and Circle Squared — will deliver another 144 units and is on track to open this fall. NJCU has also debuted a residence hall at the site that houses 400 students.
RIVET 2 features a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, offering a location that is one-third of a mile from a Hudson Bergen Light Rail stop. The developers also plan to offer free daily shuttle service to the Journal Square PATH Station, while offering other options such as two bike terminals, 155 structured parking spaces and street parking.
“The work that’s being done throughout Jersey City is incredible,” said Jeffrey Sica, founder and CEO of Circle Squared, which is based in Morristown. “Circle Squared is proud to be part of redevelopment projects, such as RIVET 2, which incorporate state-of-the-art technology and design, add to the beauty of the neighborhood, and will undoubtedly attract new residents to one of the state’s most recognized cities.”
Technology-enhanced amenities and social spaces include a cyber café with WiFi access, Butterfly MX virtual entry and package delivery system and a furnished 10,000-square-foot courtyard, according to a news release. RIVET 2 also offers a high-end fitness center with Fitness on Demand and a yoga studio.
“The successful leasing of RIVET 1’s retail and residential components is a strong indicator that our vision for Jersey City’s West End is shared by residents and businesses alike,” said Richard Sciaretta, director for Claremont Cos. “We look forward to replicating that success at RIVET 2 and continuing our creation of a unique community in one of New Jersey’s most in-demand markets.”