in Square Mile City
By LERON KORNREICH
A Despite its petite
dimensions, Hoboken - the Square Mile
City - has room to grow.
Several new projects,
including plans to transform a former
Maxwell House coffee plant into an
800-unit residential development,
are drawing Manhattan yuppies and
New Jersey natives alike.
The skyline views, plentiful
transit links, proximity to Manhattan,
bustling nightlife, tree-lined streets
and historic brownstones dont
"Hoboken has become
a destination, and its not just
about convenience," said Dean
Geibel, managing partner of Metro
Homes in Hoboken. "Just like
people want to say I live in
Manhattan, a lot of people in
New Jersey want to say, I live
Buyers are apparently
willing to put their money where their
mouths are. Metro Homes has already
sold out the 110 units in The Huntington,
a property slated to open next month.
Studios were snapped up for approximately
$200,000 and the larger three-bedroom
duplexes fetched $650,000.
Hoboken is considered
relatively pricey for New Jersey but
is still viewed as somewhat of a bargain
compared to Manhattan. For city slickers
priced out of the Big Apple, Hoboken
offers a more savory alternative than
the suburbs. "Its not Manhattan,
obviously," said Geibel, "but
its a very cool place to live,
a very hip place." For those
with separation anxiety leaving Manhattan,
the city offers a quick connection
to buses, ferries, PATH trains, a
light rail system, and the Lincoln
and Holland tunnels.
Plans to transform the
former coffee manufacturing plant
into Maxwell Place on the Hudson,
an 832-unit condominium complex on
a prime parcel along the citys
waterfront was recently announced
by Toll Brothers and Pinnacle Downtown.
The developers hope breathtaking skyline
views of Manhattan will lure prospective
tenants to the high-rise and mid-rise
luxury apartments. Amenities will
include a full-service spa, concierge
service, and parking. The development
will also incorporate more than 200,000
square feet of commercial space.
According to Brian M.
Stolar, president and chief executive
officer of Pinnacle, "Pinnacle
Downtown believes that this project
is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to bring a new standard of excellence
to the urban marketplace and build
a new center of commerce for Hoboken."
Louis Reynolds lives
in a three bedroom, two-and-a-half
bath, brownstone apartment one block
away from the future Maxwell Place
complex. He believes the construction
will further improve the northeastern
section of the city.
more shops and youre going to
have more park space. Theyre
going to open up that beach that is
on the Maxwell property."
Reynolds is both a resident
and real estate investor. He moved
into his apartment on the citys
main thoroughfare, Washington Street,
four years ago.
is situated within walking distance
of Hobokens waterfront park,
built by the city and the Port Authority
on what was once a shipping pier.
Since moving, Reynolds has seen improved
transportation on his side of the
city, particularly the introduction
of a ferry service complementing the
existing service out of Hoboken Terminal
on the citys southeast end.
Reynolds recently put up his apartment
for sale. He is seeking $550,000 for
the fourth-floor walk-up. He hopes
to buy a new home for himself in town.
"In four years, our place has
doubled in value," Reynolds said.
"Pretty much everything has been
steadily rising more than 20 percent
Approximately 10 months
ago, Reynolds bought a one-bedroom,
one-bathroom, investment property
in a converted brownstone. After gutting
it and redesigning the floor plan,
he put it up for rent at $1,400 a
month. The apartment sits on the west
side of the city, an area that used
to be considered too sketchy to consider.
It is in that part of town that Metro
Homes is developing several properties.
"Weve been one of the frontier
people who said were going to
bet our chips on this part of town
because we believe in it," said
Geibel of Metro Homes.
The recent addition
of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is
making the west side of the city more
accessible and helping engender a
revival of the once forbidden part
of town. The light rail shuttles passengers
from Bayonne through Jersey City to
Hoboken and will eventually reach
north into Bergen County. It will
soon connect residents of Hobokens
west side to the citys train
and ferry terminals.
Not everyone is pleased
with the rapid development across
Some community groups
are concerned about overbuilding and
theyve demanded City Hall check