The community room at 3 Journal Square is among the amenities at the new 240-unit, 13-story tower in Jersey City. — Courtesy: Hartz Mountain Industries and Panepinto Properties
By Joshua Burd
If there is any doubt about the demand for new luxury apartments away from downtown Jersey City, look to the new 13-story tower that has risen just northwest of the busy Journal Square transportation center.
That’s where a crowd gathered on Tuesday morning to celebrate the opening of the building, 3 Journal Square, as the newest addition to the onetime commercial hub of the city. Developers Hartz Mountain Industries and Panepinto Properties welcomed public officials and other well-wishers, touting the fact that 160 of the property’s 240 apartments have been leased since preleasing began in late March.
“With 3 Journal Square, we’ve introduced a new luxury residential option to a neighborhood that is rich in history and culture, and clearly on the move,” said Gus Milano, president and chief operating of Hartz Mountain. “There’s an atmosphere here that appeals to a cross section of people, and we’ve enhanced that with a building that promotes a modern living experience.”
The gray and black property has risen alongside 2 Journal Square Plaza, an office building developed in the 1980s by Hartz and Panepinto. Milano said the adjacent lot sat for years in anticipation of building another office property, but the developers moved to change its use to residential around six years ago.
Doing so required the assistance of the public sector, Milano said, noting that the project received a 30-year tax abatement from Jersey City and a $19.7 million tax credit from the state Economic Development Authority.
“All of them played a significant role in this development,” Milano said.
Designed by Marchetto Higgins Stieve, 3 Journal Square features apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units. Homes feature high-end finishes and appliances, while renters have access to amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, spacious resident lounge and a rooftop deck with sweeping skyline views.
More than 40 percent of the apartments are occupied, with additional move-ins scheduled. Rents start in the $1,900s.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Panepinto CEO and President Joseph A. Panepinto said the project will contribute to the vitality of the Journal Square neighborhood. He added that it has helped spur other residential developments nearby.
“This is what we do as a business community,” Panepinto said. “We don’t just take money out of the city. We put money back into the city and that’s been the mantra of Panepinto Properties for over 38 years. What’s good for Jersey City is good for us, and as long as the city thrives, we will all thrive.”
The property is about a block from another new residential development, a 53-story tower developed by Kushner Real Estate Group and National Real Estate Advisors. The building opened earlier this year and is the first of three phases for what’s known as Journal Squared, which has helped raise the profile of the neighborhood during its construction.
Both projects have coincided with a push by Jersey City officials, led by Mayor Steven Fulop, to incentivize development away from the city’s downtown and waterfront. The mayor touted those efforts during Tuesday’s ceremony.
“Today, you see massive change and most of it is really, really positive,” Fulop said. “The thing we’re most proud about is what’s happening in Journal Square. … When you look forward just a few years, Journal Square really will become once again the center of Jersey City and we’re really proud of that. This is just another step in that direction.”
Tax abatements and state incentives have played a key role in steering development to the neighborhood, which has several other residential projects in the pipeline. Melissa Orsen, CEO of the Economic Development Authority, said it was especially gratifying to see the economic impact of such projects coming to fruition after supporting them through tax credits.
“It’s the construction jobs, it’s the actual jobs that are created from these programs, and then it’s the residents that are able to move in and then to further the life in Jersey City,” Orsen said. “So on behalf of EDA and the state, we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this and we thank you for the beautiful work here.”