After Decades of Neglect, Jersey City’s Northern Downtown Rapidly Rising

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Lackawanna Jersey City Drone
The neighborhood north of the Holland Tunnel, west of Newport, and south of Hoboken started showing signs of life in the middle part of the decade. Now, several companies are bringing thousands of apartments, parks, and massive retail and community space to the area. Photo by Darrell Simmons/Jersey Digs.

Years of behind the scenes planning are now yielding to construction in a post-industrial neighborhood tucked between Hoboken and the palisades, as several companies are bringing thousands of apartments, parks, and massive retail and community space to what has been a somewhat forgotten slice of Downtown.


The neighborhood north of the Holland Tunnel, west of Newport, and south of Hoboken started showing signs of life in the middle part of the decade. The trailblazing Cast Iron Lofts and SoHo Lofts started revitalizing an area made up mostly of vacant lots, and the recently opened 100 House at The Enclave from BNE Real Estate has added 137 units in a five-story building spread across 1.8 acres.

100 House Jersey City
The second phase of The Enclave, called 100 House, recently welcomed its first residents. Image courtesy of BNE Real Estate.
The Enclave Jersey City Phase 2 Progress
Phase three of The Enclave is wrapping up construction. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

The neighborhood’s next arrival will be the third phase of The Enclave, which is being developed by joint venture partners BNE Real Estate Group, Hoboken Brownstone Company, and McKinney Properties and will add 238 apartments and 131 parking spaces across the street from the development’s initial component. Construction is humming along at the property, which is slated to welcome its first residents sometime next year.

Emerson Lofts Jersey City Progress 3
Emerson Lofts construction progress. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

The largest ongoing project in the area is the Emerson Lofts, which comes courtesy Manhattan Building Company. The project will build three new towers around a restored factory that was once home to the Emerson Radio Company, a scheme that includes 44,000 square feet of retail and a 23,900 square foot public space to be turned over to the city.

Emerson Lofts Jersey City Progress 2
Emerson Lofts. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.
Emerson Lofts Jersey City Progress
Emerson Lofts. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Totaling 1,000 units, the first 26-story phase broke ground earlier this year. Exterior façade work has begun on the new structure, while the windows and interior of the existing factory have been cleared. Water towers on top of the historical property are set to be preserved and painted with murals, while the existing roof will be revamped to include amenities like a pool, fire pits, a movie projection screen, greenery areas, and an outdoor TV section.

Coles Street Park Jersey City Construction
Coles Street Park site. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Manhattan Building Company is also responsible for building Coles Street Park, which has seen intermittent work on the neighboring lot take place since last year. The $2 million endeavor will construct 1.5-acres of open space that includes a stage for live music and events, an enclosed playground, two separate dog runs, and open areas featuring various landscaping and decorative lighting.

305 Coles Street Jersey City Development
305 Coles Street site. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.
305 Coles Street Jersey City Rendering
305 Coles Street rendering. Image courtesy of Hoboken Brownstone Company.

Several other projects loom over the area. Across from the future Coles Street Park, Hoboken Brownstone Company has been given the go-ahead to revitalize a lot at 305 Coles Street. Approved earlier this year but yet to break ground, the development looks to add 511 residential units and 9,790-square feet of retail plus a new pedestrian street to the block.

286 Coles Street Jersey City Development
Vacant lot at 286 Coles Street. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.
286 Coles Street Jersey City Development Rendering
286 Coles Street rendering. Image courtesy of Marchetto Higgins Stieve.

The other vacant lot near the park at 286 Coles Street is owned by New York-based Albanese Development Group. Approvals are in place to build a tiered building including 670 residences and three retail storefronts at the land, although the only recent work to take place at the property involved building a proper sidewalk for pedestrians.

St Lucys Church 619 Grove Street Jersey City Development Rendering 2
Rendering of St. Lucy’s Church project. Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.

The timeline for the revitalization of the former St. Lucy’s Church at 619 Grove Street is a bit clearer. Claremont Companies will be adaptively reusing the existing church and shelter buildings into a 23-story glass heavy tower totaling 444 apartments (including 13 affordable housing units) and 5,600 square feet of commercial space.

St Lucys Church Jersey City
St. Lucy’s Church. Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.
St Lucys Shelter Rendering Jersey City
St. Lucy’s shelter portion is set to break ground next year. Image courtesy of MVMK Architecture.

As a community giveback, a new five-story homeless shelter will be built on a parcel across the street in partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark. Set to include a total of 165 beds, 15 supportive housing units, five transitional housing units, and various community, administrative, and counseling space, the shelter component is slated to break ground early next year and open in the second half of 2022.

The totality of these developments will add over 3,000 housing units, a 1.5-acre park, a homeless shelter, over 73,000 square feet of retail, a 23,000 square foot public use space, and several new roads to the area. There’s potentially more in the pipeline; LeFrak has an approved project along 18th Street that appears to be stalled and the city is formulating a plan to revitalize the nearby Holland Gardens public housing development into condos and affordable housing.

The ongoing boom makes the neighborhood, referred to as Lackawanna, Horseshoe, or SoHo West depending on who you ask, unquestionably one of the fasting growing in Jersey City.

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