By Ted Christodulidis
When crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, all eyes are swiftly drawn to the colossal glass tower staring back from Fort Lee’s riverfront. Standing at 496 feet and 47 stories, the Elkus Manfredi-designed tower seems to be picked out of a skyline the likes of Singapore or Dubai and may appear to be out of place for now. But rest assured, it’s all part of a grand scheme of revitalization found throughout the borough of Fort Lee. The president of SJP Properties, Allen Goldman, who is in charge of developing the 16-acre plot, gave VUE an inside look at what went into the creation of the borough’s newest landmark and what potential residents can expect.
Since originally being cleared for development in the ’70s, the location has changed hands over four times before ultimately being acquired by SJP. What SJP quickly recognized, was an opportunity for the community; something that was clearly missing. While Bergen County ranks as the fourth wealthiest county in New Jersey, there was a noticeable imbalance between ownership and rental households in the region. Coupled with a unique location at the foot of the bridge, it almost seemed folish not to develop something that was clearly lacking from the neighborhood. The Modern’s first tower, which completed construction last year, rapidly reached an impressive 95 percent occumpancy. And although the building of the second tower recently commenced, potential buyers shouldn’t expect leasing agreements to be penned until early 2018 or three months before the completion of construction, whiever occurs first.
So why the sudden attraction to Fort Lee? Goldman explained, “We’ve had great success in attracting people from Manhattan (roughly 25 percent of the tower’s residents) whose rents have skyrocketed. The rent is halved with far more features, finishes, and amenities than are found in Manhattan” From the floor-to-ceiling windows to the 1.6-acre park found nestled between the towers,every component of The Modern was thoroughly thought through by all those involved. “People want something new, refreshing, modern–just different from what they’ve lived in before. One element that certainly has a great effect are the views. Whether you’re on the 7th or 47th floor, the views are simply spectacular.” After conducting multiple view studies and finding that they’d achieved perfect 360 degree views, it became abundantly clear that Elkus Manfredi’s design was simply spot on. And while the majority of residences normally have a dinky business center and a small gym, The Modern truly goes above and beyond in the field of amenities; whether it be the golf simulator room, both a dog and human spa, volleyball and basketball courts, yoga rooms, a bicycle storage room complete with tools for the DIYer, a lawn area with a jumbotron screen, a kid’s room, multiple barbecues or an infinity pool overlooking the skyline, the list seems to go on forever. Furthermore, with their free shuttle service to the subway station across the George Washington Bridge, you’re a metrocard swipe and 40 minutes from Midtown or 10 minutes from a Yankee’s game.
From a design standpoint, The Modern’s two glass high-rise towers are each comprised of 47-stories of 450 residences i na mid of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts. Each residence features elegant layouts with floor-to-ceiling windows, lavish interiors, oak hardwood floors, walk-in closets, washers and dryers, stone bathrooms and beautifully designed open kitchens featuring gas-top ranges. Each of The Modern’s residents also have access to The Modern’s indoor/outdoor amenities and lifestyle program, which includes daily scheduled events and activities tailored to the residents’ interests.
According to Goldman, the renaissance of the area truly began about 20 years ago. A brief boat ride along the riverfront serves to see how areas which were strictly industrial a decade ago have transformed alsmost exclusively into prime commercial and residential areas. “It’s an urban revialization that mirros what’s happening around the country”, he pointed out. “The world changes, and it’s necessary for cities and communities to recognize that change in order to keep the energy alive. You must have the ability to transform; to be responsive to the changes in the world”. The Modern Towers as well as all other projects springing up in the area are purely the manifestation of this very change that we’re witnessing right before our eyes.