1. Location, Location
The prime site offers views of the Meadowlands preserve and New York skyline, and proximity to the New Jersey Turnpike. Locally based Hartz Mountain Industries developed the spot 35 years ago for a movie theater, then a retail outlet. But those functions became obsolete. Because of demand, the firm went after the luxury rental market, but with a more affordable product than in the nearby, affluent Gold Coast. Twenty-four of the 116-unit building’s units have been set aside for affordable housing.
2. Efficient Thrift
Because of pre-construction work, the truss design was changed and mechanical systems were adjusted, helping the project to come in 10 percent under budget and be completed one month early. The project opened last summer and is almost leased up, with only one unit left at press time. Apartments range from 598-square-foot studios for $1,545 a month to 1,345-square-foot two-bedrooms with den for about $2,800 a month.
3. Hip Common Areas
One goal of the project’s designers was to bring people together. Public spaces therefore became key and were designed with boutique hotel flair. The lobby features computer stations and leads into a large “clubroom” with an aqua-blue, floor-to-ceiling wall constructed from cut and reassembled glass, and separate areas for meetings, billiards, bike storage, and relaxing in front of a stainless steel gas fireplace and flat-screen TV. The pet-friendly building includes a dog park and run.
4. Green Goods
Sustainability has become a focus of Hartz Mountain’s projects, including Osprey, which was awarded LEED Silver certification. Most of the units are oriented to the south and east for sunlight and views. Locally made brick, stucco, and concrete sheathe the building’s façade. Windows have low-E glazing, and at ground level, they’re extra large to mimic storefront-style panes and connect indoor and outdoor spaces. Tankless water heaters, air changers, and motion-sensor lights cut energy use and costs.
5. Luxe by Committee
To compete, the team looked at other new communities. “We provided the same A-list amenities and materials, but for better value, and targeted young professionals,” says interior designer Rene Pabon, president of The Childs Dreyfus Group in Chicago. Architecture firm Niles Bolton Associates out of Atlanta designed the building in a U shape that maximizes the site and views and provides a welcoming courtyard effect. —Barbara Ballinger