Jonathan Kushner’s Grandma used to tell him, “When things are going right, don’t ask why.”
But when asked why his newest Jersey City rental had leased up 75 percent of its 549 units in just four months, he couldn’t resist: “The Grove Street neighborhood, leading into Liberty Harbor, is the best neighborhood in Jersey City.
“You’ve really got everything at your fingertips. City Hall sits at the center of the community and all around you’ve got parks, hospitals, schools, transportation and more nightlife than you know what to do with. The neighborhood has really matured into a fantastic place to live and that’s why we are here.”
Kushner calls 235 Grand Street “the capstone” of the three projects Kushner Real Estate Group (KRE) and Ironstate Development Company have jointly developed within the Liberty Harbor North Redevelopment Area, following 225 Grand and 18 Park.
Two of the most active companies in Jersey City, KRE is also developing the three-building Journal Squared and 351 Marin Boulevard, while Ironstate recently completed The Columbus Collection adjacent to the Grove Street PATH Station.
More than two decades in the making, Liberty Harbor North is turning into everything its architects hoped, or, as the city’s planning director at the time said, “One hell of a development project.”
Now comprised of dozens of buildings across 80 acres of formerly derelict industrial land on the edge of the tidewater basin at Liberty State Park, the high-density neighborhood is fed by a network of ferries, light rail, subways and highways and seems as integrated with old Jersey City as it does separated.
The 46-story 235 Grand and its high-rise neighbors look out over the low-rise downtown of historic Brownstones and two-families that make up Paulus Hook and Van Vorst Park. On a clear day, you can see as far as the GW and Verrazano bridges and, of course there’s the bird’s eye view of Liberty State Park, Ellis and Liberty islands and the Manhattan skyline.
Nearby, the local Restaurant Row has everything from pizzerias to cocktail lounges, craft brew spots to Korean barbecue peppered along a pedestrianized section of Newark Avenue where you can sit on a rooftop or street bench and admire The Jersey City Wave, a giant mural by Shepard Fairey.
The Hudson River and its miles of waterfront paths are within walking distance, and the spectacular Liberty State Park is quite literally in the back yard.
Inside 235 Grand, studios, one- and two-bedroom residences start at $2,850 a month. According to The Marketing Directors, who have consistently been called on by KRE and Ironstate to market and lease their projects, New Yorkers have scooped up almost half of the units so far.
“New Yorkers are coming not just to save a little money, but for a step up in their quality of life,” said Kushner. “New Jersey used to be a pure price play for New Yorkers, but now this is a market with a really rich, fantastic lifestyle and high-quality buildings.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find this caliber of building in New York City to rent for anywhere near our price points.”
Designed by HLW with interiors by Bentel & Bentel, 235 Grand apartments are described as “light-filled living spaces with upscale finishes, contemporary conveniences and dramatic views.”
Kitchens have Bianco quartz countertops and a stainless-steel Whirlpool appliance package that includes an ice-maker, dishwasher and washer-dryer. Bathrooms have Kohler fixtures and unit layouts offer the illusion of roomy living.
But the big sell at 235 Grand is the building’s common space. The developers have gone all in on creating the type of flexible amenity space thatʼs seen a huge upswing in recent years as the urban population gravitates towards more a community-focused lifestyle.
As well as a 24-hour attended lobby, fitness center, yoga studio and resident lounge, there is a virtual maze of community space thatʼs used for both co-working and socializing.
Outside, the building has a landscaped roof terrace with a swimming pool, movie screen, fire pit, BBQs, showers and Wi-Fi.
For younger residents thereʼs a full playground and a dog run for pet owners as well as bicycle and resident storage and an enclosed parking garage.
Kushner explained, “The theory behind all of these spaces is that more people are not only working from home but, when they come home, they want to be in an environment where they can be creative and social.
“All of our spaces are very adaptable. If you want to have a group of friends for dinner, you can take it to one of the lounges and not have to deal with the clutter in your apartment.
“People use them a lot during the day to work, but there’s a real changeover that occurs in the evening when the same spaces are used by couples bringing a bottle of wine downstairs, or watching a movie. We also do a lot of programming and curate functions for everyone in the community.”
Noting the units have been leased to a “preponderance” of first and second-time renters, many from NYC, Kushner said, “Not only is it less expensive than New York City, the quality and experience of living here is far greater than anything near that price point you could find in New York.
“You can find a $2,850 studio in Manhattan, but it will be a walkup with no doorman, no services, and certainly no real amenities.”
235 Grand also includes 1,705 s/f of street-level retail space and, as part of the development, KRE and Ironstate are building a public park on the corner of Grove Street and Sussex that will include a children’s play area.
They also built a new 34,000 s/f Boys and Girls Club incorporated within the nearby 18 Park luxury rental after razing the original 1912 building on the site where 235 Grand now stands.
“We really believe in the neighborhood,” said Kushner. “That’s why we have so many projects here.
“We still see a lot of growth in the market and it has good fundamentals. My grandmother had an expression that, when things are going well, don’t question why. Right now, things are going in the right direction and as long as they are, we will continue to build.”