A rendering of Allure 260, a planned 201-unit luxury residential tower in East Orange — Courtesy: Blackstone 360
By Joshua Burd
A developer is on track to break ground on a new 18-story luxury residential tower in East Orange after winning approval for a payment in lieu of taxes agreement.
The firm, Blackstone 360 LLC, announced last week that the city council has voted to approve the agreement for the project at 260 South Harrison St. It now plans to break ground on the 201-unit building next month.
Known as Allure 260, it will be Blackstone 360’s fifth major development in the city and will cost about $45 million to build, according to a news release. It will also be the firm’s largest project in East Orange to date, bringing its total investment in the city to about $150 million over the past 10 years.
The project will revitalize what had been an assemblage of historically underutilized parcels, including an uninhabitable single-family home, the news release said. Completion is slated for late 2020.
“Our partnership with the city of East Orange has allowed us to take land and buildings that nobody wanted and transform them into vibrant and flourishing communities filled with amenities and easy access to major highways, mass transit and New York City,” said S. Airaj Hasan, Blackstone 360’s CEO and president. “Everyone said it couldn’t be done, but one building at a time we have demonstrated the extraordinary value proposition of East Orange and B-360.”
The firm said it will continue to pay assessed taxes on the property to the city during the course of development. Once the building is occupied, the annual PILOT payment to East Orange will reach about $400,000 per year, representing more than 10 times the annual revenue currently collected under assessed taxation.
“This is a major win for the city and the community,” said Daniel Jennings, director of policy, planning and development for East Orange. “This property was an abandoned blight. Now, this new luxury high rise will be part of the renaissance of East Orange.”
B-360 said its developments in the city will account for more than $1.5 million in tax revenue once Allure 260 is occupied. That represents an increase of more than $1.2 million from what the properties generated prior to redevelopment.
Jennings said B-360 “has made a sustained commitment to the city of East Orange and this partnership, step by step, has helped build the road to revitalization,” paving the way for other investors such as Goldman Sachs.
Groundbreaking on Allure 260 is expected to come about three months before the grand opening for Lotus 315, a building at 315 South Harrison St. that represents B-360’s fourth major project in the city. And it will come some 13 years after the firm purchased its first property, leading to a sweeping rehabilitation that increased building’s unit capacity by more than 40 percent to 105 high-end apartments.
Managing Member Ibrahim Hasan noted that Lotus 315 has a wait list of more than 800 unique residents, adding that all of the firm’s existing buildings are more than 98 percent occupied.
“B-360 residents are afforded a similar lifestyle, largely via a contemporary urban aesthetic and high-end amenities, as is afforded to residents in some of the most high profile new developments in New York City and the Gold Coast of New Jersey — all at compellingly lower rents,” Hasan said.
“The grand opening of Lotus and the construction of Allure are in many ways a culminating moment. In 2006, we took on an extraordinary long-term challenge, made continual extraordinary investments, and most importantly executed on our promises to all of the stakeholders in our East Orange developments. By over-delivering on our projects, we have proven that our commitment to a community can serve as a catalyst for positive change in potential-rich urban American cities.”