When architect David J. Minno agreed to design a housing and retail project on a 23-acre parking lot in South Amboy, N.J., he didn't realize it would become a history lesson.
But when the grave of a woman named Mary Ellis was discovered underneath a parking space on the future site of the Raritan Heights development, Minno, a principal with Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners of Lambertville, N.J., found himself researching Ellis' life.
"I got really interested in her history," Minno says of the woman rumored to be the inspiration for the '70s pop hit "Brandy." According to legend, Ellis fell in love with a sailor who shipped out and, despite his promise, never returned. She died in 1827 and was buried on what was at the time a rural, undeveloped site.
Minno decided Ellis deserved a better hereafter home, so he designed the Raritan Heights project to relocate her grave near a river. She will share the view with future residents of the 200 apartments and 274 market-rate condominiums planned to neighbor an existing movie theater. Minno is designing the project for developer Edgewood Properties, based in Piscataway, N.J., and Miami-based Lennar Corp.
"The guidance given to me was to maximize the river views and minimize the views of the theater," Minno said, adding that he used the new parking garage to block residents' view of the movie theater.
Alison Swartz, Edgewood's director of property management, says officials selected the movie theater site because of its view. With the scarcity of land in the area, she expects to see an increase in similar projects. Raritan Heights is expected to start construction in mid-2007 and be finished by 2009.
Metropolitan Housing Partners is developing 255 Hudson Street, a 64-unit luxury condominium project in Manhattan. The one- and two-bedroom units will feature open loft floor plans. Corcoran Group Marketing is serving as the exclusive marketing and sales agent. Occupancy is slated for July 2006.
Stonegate Development is building Silver Tower, a 230-unit condominium community in Chicago's River North area. The 39-story building will offer more than 100,000 square feet of retail and office space. The one-, two-, and three-unit bedrooms–priced from around $250,000 to the $700,000s–will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, granite countertops, KitchenAid stainless steel appliances, and oak hardwood flooring. The project is being designed by Hartshorne + Plunkard Architecture.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Belcrest Center (an affiliate of Taylor Development and Land Co.), and Prince George's Metro Apartments (an affiliate of MCF Investment Co.) broke ground on Mosaic at Metro, a transit-oriented mixed-use community near a Metro station in Maryland's Prince George's County. The community will feature 260 luxury apartment units featuring 9-foot ceilings, open kitchens, and washers and dryers. Amenities will include a fitness center, cyber café, theater, concierge services, and ZipCar rental services. Occupancy is scheduled for mid-2007.
Town & Country Developers is building Centuria, a mixed-use community next to the George Washington Bridge in Ft. Lee, N.J. The project will create a new downtown center for the city with more than 600 residential units to include townhomes, flats, and condos, plus hotel and office anchor tenants. A resident clubhouse will include a business center, two-story fitness center, and a spa. The master plan, equivalent to four city blocks, was designed by L&M Design.
Extell Development Co. is developing Avery, a luxury condominium community on New York City's Upper West Side. One-, two-, and three-bedroom units will feature Sub-Zero and Miele appliances and granite or stone countertops with glass tile backsplashes. Amenities will include a hotel-style concierge, screening room, fitness center, and children's playroom. Occupancy is scheduled for 2007.
Peek/Howe Real Estate broke ground on The Villas at Zaragossa, a 219-unit luxury apartment community in El Paso, Texas. One-, two-, and three-bedroom units will feature 9-foot ceilings, crown molding, ceiling fans, and intrusion alarms. Amenities will include a clubhouse, fitness center with an indoor sports court, pool, and covered parking. Occupancy is scheduled for December 2006.
AvalonBay Communities broke ground on the 602-unit Avalon Riverview North, the company's second upscale apartment community in Long Island City, N.Y. The 39-story building will offer retail space plus studios and one- and two-bedroom units, many with sweeping views of the city's skyline. Construction is expected to be completed by the fall of 2008.
Walnut Street Development has opened Georgetown Heights, a 44-unit luxury condominium community in Washington, D.C. The units, which range from 1,400 square feet to 3,100 square feet, feature 9-foot ceilings, cherry wood floors, Viking kitchen appliances, and granite and marble countertops. The community also features a green rooftop deck and an underground garage. Prices range from the $800,000s to $2 million.
Hudson Capital and AMC Delancey Group are developing Dolphin Reef, a $400 million mixed-use community in Jacksonville, Fla. The project, being built on a 62-acre parcel of waterfront land purchased from Jacksonville University, will include 980 condos, 10 townhomes, and 40,000 square feet of retail space. Community amenities will include a nine-hole golf course, 130-boat slip marina, golf and yacht club, fitness center, and pools. Condos start in the $170,000s, with townhomes starting in the $500,000s.
The Enterprise Cos. is developing 1600 Museum Park, a 268-unit luxury condominium community on Chicago's lakefront. One-, two-, and three-bedroom units will feature balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and dens. Amenities will include a pool, rooftop deck, fitness center, and a penthouse clubroom with a full-service kitchen. Occupancy is slated for early 2008.
The InVision Group is developing Tribute Lofts, a mixed-use community in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward historic district to include 147 loft units and neighborhood-oriented retail space. The one- and two-bedroom units, priced from the low $170,000s to the high $300,000s, will feature floor-to-ceiling views of the city's skyline, 10-foot ceilings, Italian cabinetry, granite countertops, and GE CleanSteel appliances. Amenities will include a rooftop club level with a sundeck, fire pit, and fitness center, plus a landscaped courtyard with gardens, a fountain, and grilling area.
– Listings compiled by Rachel Z. Azoff