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Hackettstown real estate renaissance sparked as new office building opens.

The long-awaited opening of a new, modern office building in Hackettstown, NJ, is sparking a real estate renaissance in this historic Warren County city.

Called Heritage Commons, the three - story, elevator structure on Mountain Avenue, across from the Hackettstown mall, will add 32,000 square feet of badly needed, prime office space to the city's commercial stock, according to City planners.

"Hackettstown was hard hit by the recession of the 1980's and has not seen much growth over the past 10 years," says Norman Baron, a member of the city's Economic Commission. "The opening of Heritage Commons is a strong indication that things are finally turning around and we can expect new vitality in the months ahead, with many new companies moving in and other new buildings being developed to accommodate them."

Heritage Commons itself was a casualty of the 1980s' recession - partially constructed and then abandoned by its original developer. A deteriorated eyesore in the Hackettstown business district for almost a decade, the shell was purchased by new owners late last year, who instituted an extensive, top-to-bottom refurbishing program to bring systems and amenities up to modern standards and restore aesthetics.

"Essentially, the new owners have taken something that was dormant for years and made it economically productive," notes Baron. "The result is a significant benefit to the community."

Heritage Commons' renovation plan included a complete restoration of the building's handsome tile and stucco exterior, distinguished marble entrance lobby, public spaces and operating systems, according to Avi Yoskowitz, one of the new owners. This included new energy-saving reflective - glass windows, refurbished public spaces, new lighting and wall treatments, and upgraded heating, electrical and mechanical systems.

City water and sewer are important tenant amenities. In addition, high-tech capabilities such as cable TV and the availability of fiber-optics, broad-band telephone and cable hook-ups will appeal to a variety of technology-oriented firms.

"Outside, a refurbished landscaping package is going into place and on-site parking is being expanded to accommodate 176 cars," says Yoskowitz. "Inside, Design Works, the award-winning Summit, NJ design firm, is completing its dramatic interior design program, while architect Robert E. Coleman of Myersville, NJ is designing tenant spaces from 1,000 to 11,000 square feet per floor."

Heritage Commons is also blessed with an exceptional location convenient to highways, shopping, public transportation and support services, notes Yoskowitz. Routes I-80, 46, 517, 24 and 57 are in close proximity, providing easy access to eastern and central New Jersey, as well as the Manhattan business district, while train service to Hoboken was inaugurated last year, facilitating travel to the Lower Manhattan financial district via the PATH system.

The burgeoning International Trade Zone is close by, as is the Hackettstown Hospital, Centenary College, a variety of shopping and service malls and the varied cultural, shopping and social activities of charming downtown Hackettstown.

Heritage Commons is the second of three buildings which will ultimately rise on the eight-acre site. A medical condominium was completed in the late 1980's by another developer and is fully occupied today. The owners of Heritage Commons have received approval for a "twin" office structure adjacent to their current building, which is ready to build.

"With interest from prospective tenants already high prior to the opening of Heritage Commons, this complex is well on its way to becoming a significant office address in a redeveloping commercial and business center," Yoskowitz says.
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Title Annotation:Hackettstown, New Jersey
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 29, 1996
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