For millions of motorists who drive over the George Washington Bridge’s upper level from Washington Heights into Bergen County every year, the former office building at 2100 North Central Road in Fort Lee is one of the first structures that they see in New Jersey. Located just north of the interstate near the exit 73 off-ramp, the seven-story building sits atop a six-level parking deck close to the Palisades. However, despite its past being home to companies such as Kwasha Lipton, Mellon, and Affiliated Computer Services, the building currently sits vacant with several glass windows boarded up.
Now, a new proposal could transform this former office building and a neighboring property near the world’s busiest bridge into Fort Lee’s latest residential development. The owner of the property, Montvale-based 2100 North Central Road FL, LLC, has submitted an application to the Fort Lee Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) that calls for renovating the building and turning it into 200 apartments, according to a legal notice. 333 parking spaces would be provided on the premises.
In addition, under the developer’s proposal, the former Econo Lodge motel next door would be replaced with a 16-story residential development. The high-rise building would include 174 units and be nearly 160 feet tall, according to the notice.
Fort Lee’s ZBA is scheduled to hear the plans by the developer during its meeting on Tuesday, September 11, at 7:30 p.m. 2100 North Central Road FL, LLC is seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances such as maximum building height and maximum lot coverage. NJ Parcels data shows that the company bought the former office building last year for $16 million from LKKCH, LLC. Meanwhile, the Econo Lodge site was acquired for $7.15 million from a South Hackensack firm by a Hoboken-based LLC.
This is not the first redevelopment proposal for the sites. The Record reported in 2016 that the previous property owner was seeking to create a complex with 170 hotel rooms, 61 apartments, a restaurant, and conference space.
In part because of its location across the Hudson from Manhattan, Fort Lee saw plenty of new development both in the last decade and in the 1970s and 1980s. Major projects such as Hudson Lights and The Modern have caused the borough to be home to some of the tallest buildings in the state outside of Jersey City, Newark, and Atlantic City.
Fort Lee holds the distinction of being the only community in New Jersey where residents can walk to Manhattan. It also contains the George Washington Bridge Plaza bus stops, which are connected by New Jersey Transit buses and private jitneys to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station between 178th and 179th Streets across the river.