Third & Valley, a newly completed mixed-use project in South Orange — Courtesy: Jonathan Rose Cos.
By Joshua Burd
Jonathan Rose Cos. has opened the doors to its first ground-up development project in New Jersey, a 215-unit apartment building just steps from the South Orange train station.
And leasing is off to a fast start.
The New York-based developer and investment firm, which specializes in green and sustainable design, said it already has leased about 30 percent of the apartments at the site known as Third & Valley. The property offers many of the same amenities seen at new luxury rentals around the state, but it’s the ecofriendly features that the firm hopes will distinguish it.
“It’s clearly, for us, a competitive advantage because it gives our residents lower energy costs,” said Jonathan Rose F.P Rose, founder and president of Jonathan Rose Cos. “They’re in a much healthier environment, because we also focus a lot on non-toxics as part of our green building, so from the ‘making the world a better place’ point of view, I hope everybody goes green.
“From a competition point of view, until they do, we’re going to be more attractive to residents.”
Along with energy-efficient lighting, motion light sensors and double-glazed low-emissive windows, the property uses green roofs for storm water management, ground-level river stone basins for infiltration and an underground retention tank to reduce environmental impact, according to a news release. The features result in a 30 percent water reduction and lower utility bills.
Jonathan Rose opened the property in conjunction with Bozzuto, a real estate and property management firm, with Torti Gallas & Partners serving as the architect. Sitting at 153 Valley St., the project sits on what was a commuter parking lot alongside the village’s train station.
And the $64.4 million project is the latest redevelopment to take place in downtown South Orange, an area anchored by rail service with a 30-minute ride to Manhattan and a performing arts center. One of the most recent projects include the 57-unit Gateway on West South Orange Avenue, which recently set a per-unit record in Essex County when the property sold for $33 million.
Village officials are also considering other redevelopment proposals, which Rose believes would benefit his own property.
“We don’t view other development as competition,” Rose said in an interview Monday, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the property. “We view it as ‘the more rental housing there is here, the more South Orange is known as a great rental market.’ ”
Third & Valley also includes 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and leasing agent Sabre Realty has signed Artistry Salon as the first commercial tenant, according to a news release. The business has taken 1,504 square feet and is targeting a winter 2016 opening.
The remaining 1,496-square-foot space will likely be occupied by a café, the news release said.
Apartments range from studios to two-bedroom units, with 10 percent set aside for low-income renters. Tenants have access to amenities such as a clubroom, a pool and a dog-washing station. Jonathan Rose Cos. also touted the property’s BuildingLink system, a resident communication tool for package acceptance, dry cleaning, mobile scheduling of services and other functions.
“South Orange has seen quite an influx of new residents in the city, and Third & Valley is perfectly poised to offer these residents high-class services in an environmentally conscious property,” Toby Bozzuto, CEO and president of Bozzuto, said in a prepared statement. “All of the appliances used throughout the property — from outdoor lighting to residents’ showers — are as energy-efficient as possible.”
Rose, who recently published a book titled “The Well Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Behavior Teach us About the Future of Urban Life,” has said that doing environmentally friendly development also depends on building near mass transit. That’s also standard throughout his firm’s portfolio, which stretches from New York City to the Pacific Northwest, along with green design and construction.
And Rose will keep those features in mind as he searches for other sites in New Jersey. Third & Valley is the firm’s first ground-up, company-owned project in the Garden State, and he hopes to continue to grow his portfolio here.
“We are eager for more projects like this, so we’d love to do more,” he said. “This was a very positive experience.”