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Jersey City's hot Waterfront gets credit for recent RE boom.

The impact of the real estate market's lengthy expansion has been felt throughout the region, but if it had a center -- if its brightest point could be measured -- the spotlight would focus squarely on Jersey City's Hudson River waterfront.

Hartz has long been involved in Jersey City, particularly in Journal Square, and we were on the waterfront at the beginning of this booming cycle -- before Colgate Center became the most important financial center outside of Manhattan. In 1996 when we announced that we would build a Double Tree Suites Hotel, the first hotel in Jersey City in more than 40 years, we raised some eyebrows. The construction boom in the 1980's had fizzled years before and not shown any signs of recovery to that point.

But the underpinnings of a strong market were -- there -- from evaporating space in Manhattan, coupled with rising rents, to new construction in Hoboken and other areas along the waterfront. Sales were brisk at our Independence Harbor condominium community, and our Sheraton Suites Hotel in Weehawken was full more often than not.

Less than two years after the Double Tree Hotel was completed, we had built and leased 90 Hudson Street, and we were developing 70 Hudson Street, a second 400,000+ square foot building at Colgate Center. And this year we have plans to start developing 77 Hudson, a 1.1 million square foot, 32-story prime office tower with an anticpated completion date of Fall 2002. 77 Hudson Street is the only remaining office building available for lease at Colgate Center, Jersey City's premier location.

In the span of just a few years, how did the market go from questioning the success of a new hotel to becoming the fastest growing central business district in the country, absorbing millions of square feet of commercial space, selling and renting thousands of residential units, and, ironically, inspiring plans for at least two more hotels?

Jersey City has been at the confluence of some of the most opportune circumstances any city has ever encountered. A strong economy, virtually no availability and little construction on Wall Street, historically low interest rates, the Internet explosion, the financial services explosion, aggressive development policies from the state and local economic development bodies, an efficient and evolving transportation infrastructure and the continued pressure to reduce commuting times all came together in one place: Jersey City. Its proximity to Manhattan remains critical to the financial services firms, and the service firms sprouting up along the waterfront created an appealing corporate headquarters environment. American Express, DatekOnline, Lord Abbett & Co. and National Discount Brokers Group fully leased 90 and 70 Hudson, our 12-story Colgate Center office towers, during construction.

We are experiencing similar reaction to 77 Hudson Street, which also offers sweeping waterfront views of Manhattan and will also feature a stunning neo-Federalist design and inspired lobby. Walking around Jersey City's waterfront now is such a different experience from just 3 years ago that it is hard to believe such overwhelming changes could have occurred in such a brief period of time. And its not just the buildings -- its the expanded ferry service to Manhattan, its the new light-rail line, its the great new restaurants and the art exhibits. Jersey City has become what so many communities would like to become: place where people want to live and work.

It is a point of great pride in our company that we are part of the fabric of that community, and we look forward to its promising future by continuing our participation with our latest building 77 Hudson Street.

Hartz Mountain Industries, Inc. currently owns and operates a private portfolio of 175 buildings in the New York/New Jersey area, representing more than 34 million square feet, which include retail, hotel, and office properties.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 16, 2000
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