Journal Squared leasing starts out strong

When the Marketing Directors first started to market apartment units in the first tower of the Journal Squared complex, the firm had no idea what to expect.

“There’s been a huge wave of construction in downtown Jersey City, it’s been very established and very sought after,” Martin Brady, the executive vice president of the Marketing Directors, said. “Journal Squared is the new one.”

But after only 20 days, Journal Squared had signed 104 leases for that first tower. By Monday morning, four days later, the number was up to 122.

“We opened on March 3, and we have been incredibly busy since,” Brady said. “We probably had over 1,000 people who had expressed interest before we opened.”

By the time of its completion, the Journal Squared complex will house 1,838 units across three towers, as well as 36,000 square feet of retail space.

Brady said more than 50 people a week are coming to take a look.

“If we see on average 20 or 25 people during the week, we’ll see more than 25 people on the weekend alone,” he said.

Some of the first looks went to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who joined the Kushner Real Estate Group’s Jonathan Kushner and National Real Estate Advisors’ Jeffrey Kanne at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this month.

Fulop said the importance of the project cannot be overstated.

“It’s one of the most significant projects away from the waterfront,” he said. “It’s in what used to be in the heart of the city in Journal Square, it’s hundreds of millions of dollars being invested and it’s going to transform Journal Square into being the heart of the city once again.”

Fulop said the concept and location are perfect.

“Journal Square makes a lot of sense; it’s got one of the best transportation (elements) in the entire state,” he said. “The whole area is really changing.

More units on the way

The Marketing Directors are relatively new to Jersey City, holding leasing operations in only two properties in city — granted, the properties are Trump Bay Street and the whole of Journal Squared — but are set to manage leasing in an additional three luxury buildings.

“We are getting ready to launch, in the next two months, Vantage, which is Brian Fisher’s building, and we’re getting ready to lease Park Francis, which is on Hamilton Square, which is Silverman’s building,” Martin Brady, the executive vice president of the Marketing Directors, said. “The third one is 333 Grand Street; that’s going to open sometime in the late spring, early summer, and that is part of the Liberty neighborhood.”

Vantage, at 33 Park Ave., will house 448 units. Park Francis on Hamilton will be comprised of 99 units and 333 Grand Street will have 225 units.

“Many mayors talked for a long time about Journal Square coming back. We’re really excited to get the chance to get it going.”

Kanne, the CEO and president of National Realty Advisors, agreed.

“The development meets the demand for convenient lifestyles — direct mass transit connections into Manhattan commercial centers with upscale amenities — at an attractive value for residents,” he said.

So far, the first tower has made 538 units and 1,000 square feet of retail available to lease.

“Journal Square is a dynamic neighborhood that continues to grow in popularity among Jersey City locals as well as newcomers,” Kushner, president of the KRE Group, said. “We’re delighted that Journal Squared’s first tower is complete and ready for renters to enjoy.”

KRE manages the leasing of the 1,000-square-foot, single-tenant retail space in the first tower, and in March 2016, it began conversations with David Trotta, the founder of Whealth & Co., to house a café in the space.

“He is a Jersey City local guy,” Jason Segal, director of residential leasing for KRE, said. Segal works on leasing the space at the complex. “He grew up in the Journal Square neighborhood. He has a catering business in Jersey City. He’s worked in some of our projects doing events for our residents and was a great fit for the space.”

The Whealth & Co. café is set to open this summer, almost a year after the tenant signed the lease for the space, according to Segal.

Journal Squared was designed by Hollwich Kushner and Handel Architects. Upon completion, the complex will offer 10,000 square feet of amenities to its residents.


Partnership expands mixed-use portfolio in Jersey City with purchase of 26 Journal Square

A partnership between Kushner Companies and The KABR Group announced Thursday that it has purchased a commercial tower in the heart of Jersey City’s Journal Square neighborhood.

The building, 26 Journal Square, is a 16-story, 105,000-square-foot property. The pair intends to update the property “into a hub for creative firms.”

“There’s tremendous upside in the Journal Square area and this purchase continues our push to create a vibrant, mixed-use district,” said Laurent Morali, president of Kushner Cos. “26 Journal Square provides a great opportunity for creative tenants looking for a transit-friendly home in one of the region’s most cutting-edge office and residential locations.”

The partnership, which has more than 4 million square feet under development in Jersey City, plans to team up on more mixed-use projects in the area.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Journal Square Lofts Moving Forward After City Council Approves 25-year Tax Abatement

City Council just approved a 25-year tax abatement for Journal Square Lofts. The adaptive reuse project will restore a 100-year-old building into 40 loft style apartments. Its developer, Hopkins Group, also did Kennedy Lofts that opened last year.

The project is expected to create 40 construction jobs along with two permanent real estate jobs. As part of the agreement, Hopkins Group will contribute $60,000 to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

More on Journal Square Lofts here: Adaptive Reuse Project Brings Lofts to 2851 JFK Blvd

Journal Square Lofts – 2851 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07306




Jersey City in talks to bring art museum to Journal Square

Jersey City is eyeing a building adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station as a location for a new art museum.

The city is in preliminary talks with Hudson County officials to purchase the four-story building at 25 Journal Square, also known as Pathside and owned by Hudson County Community College. The plan is for an expanded version of the Jersey City Museum, which essentially shuttered in 2010.

The move comes as city officials target Journal Square with policies they hope will transform the gritty center of the city into a destination rivaling the fashionable Downtown. Hefty tax breaks have been granted to new residential towers near the Journal Square PATH hub, while zoning rules have been changed to encourage developers to build more office space.

The deal with HCCC, if approved by college officials, would give the proposed museum a location with much higher visibility than the last home of the Jersey City Museum at Montgomery and Monmouth streets, a 10-minute walk to the nearest PATH station. 25 Journal Square is literally next door to the PATH station, and will soon be surrounded by five high-rises of luxury apartments.

A request for comment from HCCC President Glen Gabert was not returned. Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise declined to discuss preliminary discussions, while Mayor Steve Fulop called talks early but "substantive."

"This museum would be larger in scale, have a broader collection, be a destination for the region, located near mass transportation and it would fulfill the need of a cultural center for the city," Fulop said.

Fulop had hoped to remake the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre into a regional music and entertainment destination. His attempts to hand over management of the city-owned theater to a global concert promoter were halted by a judge, so his administration turned its eye to a different sort of venue.

The Jersey City Museum was founded in 1901 as part of the city's library system.

In 2001, the museum moved to 350 Montgomery St., where its 10,000-piece collection was featured in 38,000 square feet of galleries. The location was a former municipal garage the museum renovated at a cost of $11 million.

"I firmly believe that this is a place on the rise, " Alejandro Anreus, the museum's curator, said in 2001. "A major city like this deserves a major art museum."

But city and private funding soon began to evaporate. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, donors who had previously given $120,000 would give $5,000 instead, Ben Dineen, the museum's chairman, told The Jersey Journal in 2011. Dineen died in 2014.

The city stopped funding the museum entirely in 2011. In 2010, museum hours were cut to Saturday afternoons only. It closed its doors for the holidays that December and never reopened. Its collection is in storage.

In December 2011, Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health purchased 350 Montgomery St., moved administrative offices to its upper floors, allowing the museum to host shows on the ground floor.

It's not clear when the museum's latest show was. Its Facebook page has not been updated since January 2013.


13-Story, 240-Unit Mixed-Use Building Tops Out At 3 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City

Construction has topped out on the 13-story, 240-unit mixed-use building under development at 3 Journal Square Plaza, in Jersey City‘s Journal Square section. Photos of the structure were recently posted to the YIMBY Forums. Dubbed The Residences at 3 Journal Square and revealed by YIMBY roughly a year ago, it will encompass 219,446 square feet. There will be retail space and residential amenities on the ground floor, followed by rental apartments above. Known amenities include a four-level underground parking garage, which the project was built atop, and a rooftop terrace. Hartz Mountain and Panepinto Properties are the developers. Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects is the design architect and the Childs Dreyfus Group is responsible for the interiors. Tocci Building Companies is managing construction. Completion can probably be expected by the end of the year.

3 Journal Square Plaza office building in front — The Residences at 3 Journal Square in back. Photo by JC_Heights via the Forums.
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Faded business district will gain thousands of apartments over the next few years 

A slender apartment tower stands alone like a beacon on a hilltop in Jersey City, looming over New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty.
It won’t be alone for long. 

The building is the first in a new neighborhood of residential skyscrapers set to rise over the next few years in Journal Square, a faded business district 2 miles from the forest of high-rises that crowd Jersey City’s waterfront.

The buildings in Journal Square, the culmination of decades of planning efforts, show the potential of what planners call “transit-oriented development,” and “smart growth,” where dense development is encouraged near transportation hubs in walkable neighborhoods. Altogether, the construction will add more than 5,000 apartments. 

The concrete tower, in a three-building project called Journal Squared by developers KRE Group and National Real Estate Advisors, is clad in bright white metallic panels that make a strong visual statement against the skyline in an area of low-rise homes and six-story commercial buildings.

In addition to 538 apartments, the building will have retail space and a covered walkway to a new entrance/plaza to the adjacent Journal Square Transportation Center, with bus and Path train service. The Journal Square station is a 14-minute Path train ride to the World Trade Center and a 22-minute ride to Midtown Manhattan. The area is being repositioned as a convenient neighborhood for people who work in Manhattan.

When the tower opens next month, it will be the third-tallest building in Jersey City—563 feet. That will likely be surpassed by other high-rises planned in Journal Square.

Journal Square was Jersey City’s premier business district in the first half of the 20th century, with movie palaces and prime retailing on its major avenues. But the commercial center eventually moved closer to the waterfront.

“Until the 1940s and 1950s it was the place to be,” said Jonathan Kushner, president of KRE. “It will be coming back over the next 10 years.” Mr. Kushner is a cousin of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, but KRE has no connection to the other branch of the family.

KRE assembled the site adjacent to the transportation station by acquiring six buildings, most of which were demolished.

Under zoning rules set up to encourage residential towers near transit hubs, builders near Journal Square were permitted to create 25 square feet of building space for each square foot of a property lot. In New York City, the maximum is 12 square feet for residential buildings, though developers often purchase so-called “air rights” from nearby buildings to create super-tall towers.

Eventually Journal Squared will have three towers, including a 71-story tower that could be among the tallest in Jersey City, with 1,838 apartments, 36,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a renovated public plaza nearby.

The buildings will seem especially tall from across the river in Manhattan because they are on high ground, at an elevation of 97 feet above sea level, far above towers near the waterfront. There are broad views from even the lowest residential floor from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the Manhattan skyline.

To attract residents to the new neighborhoods, the buildings will offer rent somewhat lower than in other parts of Jersey City and a package of enhanced amenities, Mr. Kushner said.

Studios will begin at about $1,850 a month, with one-bedroom apartments starting at $2,100 a month and two-bedroom units at about $3,200, he said. More than half the apartments have one bedroom, and more than a quarter are studios. The building will have 139 parking spaces, an outdoor swimming pool and deck, a gym and lounges on a lower floor, and a lounge on the 53rd floor.

Don Smartt, administrator of the Journal Square Restoration Corp., a business improvement district founded in 1995, said the renewal of Journal Square has taken a long time. “It was a slow process of decline and a slow process of renewal,” he said. But now, he said, “many people have a sense of renewed optimism about the future of Journal Square.”


Art lovers were surprised by the success Jonathan Levine and his eponymous Chelsea gallery found over the last 12 years. He's a blue-collar Jersey guy -- then and now -- with a few edges. The art he promotes was considered lowbrow, street art created by former graffiti taggers, aficionados of pop culture and comic book fans.  

This month, Levine is moving his exhibition space in Jersey City's Mana Contemporary, bringing his stable of artists that includes Shepard FaireyEVOLHush and Beth Cavener. The inaugural show, "Welcome to New Jersey," opening Feb. 18, features those artists as well as more than 30 others. 


"Jersey City is what Chelsea was in 2005," Levine said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. "I wanted to be in a place where I could feel the liveliness and rawness of how Chelsea was when I first moved there."

The move to Mana Contemporary, an arts complex in the Journal Square neighborhood is in part an economic one, Levine said. Manhattan rental costs aren't kind, and their continued rise has driven out many of the businesses that once surrounded Levine's. 

Chelsea, he said, "has lost its authenticity, if that's the word. It feels very contrived, just for rich people. It's too much about commerce. We obviously have to sell work, and that's what we do, but that's not all we do. That's not exciting to me.

"It allows me to lower overhead and take more risks and do things in a new way."

The high cost of living has also naturally culled the local arts community, he said. 

"In order to be creatively vital, you have to have creative people who can afford to be there and who can afford to take risks," he said. "I want to feel connected to my community. I want to do something that people are excited about." 

Levine is from Trenton and has a tattoo of the "Trenton Makes, the World Takes"bridge across his back. But his father's family is from Jersey City and he's already tapped into the local art scene. Partnering with Mana Contemporary will give him access to a new audience and new gallery locations around the country. (Mana has satellite locations in Chicago and Miami.)

"There aren't a ton of galleries in New Jersey to begin with. We specialize in something specific and we're high end," he said. "I'm hoping to get new clients and find a new excitement."

Levine thinks the Hudson River is a psychological as well as a physical barrier between New York and New Jersey. He expects Garden State residents who never attended events at his Chelsea space to visit him in Jersey City. And he wants the New Yorkers who are griping about the move to note his new location is a 25-minute train ride from Manhattan. 

"My hope is other galleries follow," he said. "If it becomes a destination, that will be a dream."



The building’s 538 apartments all have views of Manhattan and beyond


The first phase of Journal Squared, a massive project in Jersey City developed by KRE Group and National Real Estate Advisors, is officially on the market. Leasing launched this week for the first tower’s 538 apartments. Eventually, the development’s three towers will collectively bring 1,838 apartments, 36,000 square feet of retail, and a public plaza to the Journal Square neighborhood.

Apartments in the 432 Park look-alike will begin on the ninth floor to ensure that “each apartment offers spectacular views of the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline,” per a release. More than half of the units are one-bedrooms with open floor plans, hardwood floors and oversized windows.

The 53-story tower, designed by Hollwich Kushner and Handel Architects, also comes with some pretty nice amenities. Spread across 10,000 square feet of space, residents will have access to a lounge, library, fitness and yoga center, billiards room, swimming pool, and a work/play space dubbed “Club JSQ.” There’s also a 24-hour concierge and “social events” like happy hours and workshops.

Though rents aren’t exactly cheap, they’re lower than you’d find for a building offering similar apartments and amenities in Manhattan or Brooklyn. Prices start at $1,800/month for a studio, one-bedrooms from $2,100, two-bedrooms from $3,200, and three-bedrooms from $4,200.


Our post a few weeks ago discussed a myriad of new developments in Journal Square. A lot of those projects were pretty large in scope so this week we’re going to shift focus slightly and put the spotlight on some smaller, but equally important, projects that have popped up around Journal Square in the last few years.

850 Newark Avenue – 12 Condo Units, 4.5 Stories, Retail/Office Opportunity

This mixed use property located on Newark Ave right by Tonnelle Ave now has 11 condos under contract with people prepping to move in! Don’t fret, there is still a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom penthouse that is available for lease. The Iyla Condominiums are gorgeous on the inside and although they’ve been snatched up, there is an amazing retail opportunity on the ground floor. The retail space is a commercial condo where for $600k you can purchase the space to operate your restaurant, office or business. The commercial space is 2,393 square feet and is currently available. To learn more about leasing the penthouse or commercial space reach out to:

Lea Governale
Weichert Realty
(917) 903-4936

2800 Kennedy Boulevard – 2 Stories, Retail/Office Opportunity


The former site of a cosmetology school, this building at the extremely busy intersection of Sip Avenue, Tonnelle Avenue, and Kennedy Boulevard is now open for leasing. While this building is not being redeveloped per se, it represents a vital opportunity for an entrepreneur to come in and contribute their great services and push our neighborhood forward. The space on the retail level is about 3,500 sq ft,
Interested in seeing this property?

Paper City Real Estate Group
Gardner Rivera, MSRED



880 Bergen Avenue – 55 Units, 8 Stories – Residential Conversion

Write here...

Located right on the corner of Academy Street and Bergen Avenue, this familiar landmark within the original Dutch settlement of Bergen, is currently undergoing the transformation to a residential building. With 55 units, this building will be a perfect addition to the project going on right next door by Hudson County Community College.


You’ve probably seen the cranes in the sky for the past year or so at this project site tucked behind the aforementioned 880 Bergen Avenue. Hudson County Community College is creating a new and improved STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program building. The building is one of the newest of the many different sites that Hudson County Community College has developed in Journal Square in the last decade. As of a year ago, this project was the biggest STEM project in the county.


500 Summit Avenue – 800 Units Possible


500 Summit has sat and operated as a parking lot for some time now. The site was recently purchased by HAP Investments for $26.5M, this site is set to be developed with 800 units and 30,000 feet of retail once completed. The site was recently closed but we have yet to see any rumblings of the initial phases of construction from the street.


3075 Kennedy Boulevard – Caprice Suites – 6 stories, 83 Units

Looking for a full suite for a long(er) stay in Journal Square? Look no further than the Caprice Suites at 3075 Kennedy Boulevard. Rooms can be booked on a number of different sites and this building is perfect for families looking to shave a few bucks off of their stay in Jersey City. Located practically on top of Route 139 and a 10 minute walk from the PATH station, this spot is ideal for visitors to our neighborhood.

789 Newark Avenue – Haiban Inn – Hotel in the Heart of India Square


The Haiban Inn is tucked away on Newark Ave and may blend in to the casual passersby. If you know Journal Square or even Jersey City, then you know Newark Avenue and the amazing surroundings that pluck you out of New Jersey and drop you in the heart of Indian and Asian culture. The Haiban Inn is a perfect location for people visiting family, touring Jersey City or New York, or even just catching some rest in between travels. Located just steps away from the PATH station, the Haiban Inn serves as the perfect submersion in the great atmosphere of Newark Ave, as well as the flexibility to travel easily by rail and bus throughout the region.

789 Newark Avenue
(201) 685-7770

Harwood Properties – Arts District behind the Loew’s Theater


The Harwoods, as a family, have been influential and devoted to Journal Square for nearly 100 years. In 1997 the Harwood family purchased the former site of the State Theater and created the first new residential development in Journal Square in more than 50 years. The Harwood family still owns and operates a few parking decks and garages in and around Journal Square and Jersey City.

Continuing their family’s history of being firm believers in the success and future of Journal Square, they are sitting at the heart of a discussion about creating a new Arts District along the PATH tracks, behind the Loew’s Theater. While no current plans have been solidified, the zoning has been approved that creates these opportunities.

Developments are never certain until there’s a shovel in the ground but it seems that Journal Square is slowly, but surely, seeing the investment that it needs to revamp the amenities in the area. With the capacity to be the commercial center of Jersey City, Journal Square is perfectly seated to be a place for all with a growth in amazing things to do. Stay tuned for more updates and remain excited for the new possibilities for our community.



Mana Contemporary opened in Jersey City at 888 Newark Avenue in 2011, but until a recent visit on a Thursday afternoon, when and how the public could gain access remained a little mysterious. Founded by moving company magnate Moishe Mana, the arts center is only open Monday through Friday for complimentary tours at 11 am and 3 pm.

No appointment is necessary, just sign in at the front desk prior to the tour time, and a Mana Contemporary representative will meet you in the lobby. A typical tour takes one hour and walking through what was once a tobacco production plant, 6 floors, and 450,000 square feet, it is immediately clear why a guided tour is essential –you would get completely lost otherwise.

The hours and protocol no longer seem peculiar. It would be an immense expense to staff for visitors to go alone from gallery to gallery, floor to floor, and to safeguard the artwork on exhibit and in hundreds of on-site artists’ studios.
The demand is simply not high enough. There are so many moving parts at Mana that having access to an educated representative for an hour is invaluable. You are able to see and learn more than would be possible on your own.

Mana Contemporary has many missions. They manage private collections, making private artwork accessible to the public. They rent studios to local artists and host two residency programs–ESKFF accepts applications for free 3-month residencies, and the Mana BSMT Residency is an open-plan workspace collaboration and by invitation only.

Mana curates short-term exhibits exquisitely displayed in their massive, industrial, white-walled spaces. Mana Theater is a black box space available for rent and Mana Frames is a one-stop shop for the artists on-site to frame, crate, and ship their work. They are home to Karole Armitage’s dance company as well as an outpost of the Florence Academy of Art.

Separate from the complimentary tour and requiring an appointment, is the Richard Meier Model Museum where you get a glimpse of his sculpture and current collage work in addition to his architectural models, including his proposal for the World Trade Center site. Also requiring an appointment is the International Center for Photography extension. And on the same floor as the Richard Meier Model Museum is Gary Lichtenstein Editions where the world-renowned artist works and exhibits. It is one of the largest working spaces in the complex, able to accommodate his large silkscreen presses.

Mana is open most holidays and beginning to have more regular events on the weekends. Last Saturdays, held once a month on the last Saturday, begins this month on February 25th, from 2 pm to 10 pm, and is packed with interactive programming and performances. BSMT Nights is another event series that transforms Mana’s Basement and artists’ open-plan workspace into the best underground party you’ve ever attended.

Mana Contemporary is definitely a Jersey City destination despite its understandably limited public hours. It is truly “a collaborative community bringing together art, dance, and music under one roof” and not to be missed.


Jersey City envisions arts district near historic Loew's


JERSEY CITY -- The neighborhood behind the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre in Journal Square would be set for a radical transformation under zoning changes up for final adoption by the City Council tomorrow.

The changes would allow the Harwood family to construct residential high-rises and arts facilities on a roughly 2-acre area the family owns that runs along the PATH tracks. The area is now home now to parking lots and a garage.

The city hopes the changes will lead to the creation of a cultural arts district connecting the neighborhood west of the Loew's to Journal Square. The Harwoods would be allowed to build taller high-rises than zoning allows in exchange for creating spaces for theaters, art galleries and studios, museums, libraries and more.

The plans also call for improvements to Concourse West, the walkway commonly called the Loew's alley that offers a direct if narrow connection between the Marion neighborhood and Journal Square. The zoning changes would require developers to incorporate retail space within the concourse and adjacent plaza at the foot of Magnolia Avenue.

The proposed changes to Journal Square zoning come as the area has become a target for real-estate developers. The first high-rise of a three-tower project called Journal Squared is nearly complete, while plans for a two-tower development across the street from the Loew's were approved by the city in August, as were plans for a 72-story skyscraper on the site of the old Jersey Journal building.

The parking lots and garage targeted by the zoning changes up for approval tomorrow night have been owned by the Harwood family for nearly a century. Brett Harwood said the Journal Square development boom convinced the family to revamp their properties.

"As Journal Square has finally started to come into its own, and you can see the results of that all around, we think that there's a higher and better use," Harwood told The Jersey Journal.


The zoning changes would allow for two residential high-rises, one near the foot of Magnolia Avenue and the other near the foot of Pavonia Avenue. The city would allow the developers to exceed the 37-story maximum on each in exchange for the construction of cultural arts facilities in the high-rises and in two additional low-rise buildings. A fifth low-rise building would be allowed to house restaurants, cafes and other retail stores.

The city also envisions an amphitheater, dog run and playgrounds on a site near Van Reipen Avenue.

If approved by the council tomorrow, the zoning changes offer a template to the Harwoods. There are no plans yet, Harwood said, adding that unlimited height restrictions would not lead to soaring skyscrapers.

"Nobody should have expectations that we're going to build another World Trade Center," he said. "It wouldn't be economical, it wouldn't be appropriate."

The council meets tomorrow at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St.