The Moment of Truth for Journal Square

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view journals squared jersey city
The View | Credit: QuallsBenson

For decades optimistic prognosticators have predicted Journal Square’s renaissance. Largely, it remained just that, a prediction, with little “on the ground” to back it up. That’s all about to change.

The Heart of the City

In Jersey City’s early days, Journal Square was the heart of the city. It was the business and cultural center, home to two of New Jersey’s most premier theaters, Loew’s Journal Square and The Stanley. The streets surrounding the square were filled with retail shops and restaurants. The waterfront, on the other hand, was an industrial shipping and manufacturing hub.

As with many once prosperous cities, that all changed following WWII as families headed for the suburbs in search of a single family home and white picket fences. Journal Square suffered a decline and has remained blighted since.

The hope has always been that Journal Square will one day rebound. Longtime Jersey City residents have heard the narrative for so long, few continue to believe it.

A Developer Takes the Plunge

After multiple false starts, like in 2009 when the Hotel on the Square was torn down for the “soon-to-break-ground” City Centre Towers development. For still undisclosed reasons, likely the global financial meltdown, the project never took shape and left a gaping hole in the streetscape of the square.

It wasn’t until late-2014 when Kushner Real Estate Group (KRE) brought in equipment to begin on the first Journal Squared tower, that opinions about the area began to shift. No longer were hopefuls merely speculating on a Journal Square rebirth. Now a major developer was putting money down. And a lot of it.

It’s worth mentioning, KRE was the first large-scale developer to build away from the waterfront. Ten years ago, KRE took, what at the time was a huge risk, when they broke ground on Grove Pointe. Would anyone move one more PATH stop in from the waterfront? At the time, that was a big question. We all know how that panned out.

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Journal Squared | Credit: QuallsBenson

As Journal Squared began to rise, the Journal Square narrative shifted. Perched on a hill and standing 53 stories tall, the building is visible for miles. It’s the first high-rise outside of downtown and acts as a beacon for Journal Square. Whether you’re driving past on the Turnpike, walking west through many areas of downtown, or in Manhattan looking towards Jersey City, the tower is unmistakeable. More than just a new development, the tower is a focal point – a topic of conversation with out-of-town visitors, a point of interest to first-timers exploring Jersey City.

All Eyes on Journal Squared

Will the building attract enough newcomers to inspire other developers to take the plunge? That’s the big question.

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The lobby | Credit: Binyan

Journal Squared is set to begin leasing in early 2017. Although pricing hasn’t been released yet, it’s safe to assume it will be at a slight discount to downtown. It will be marketed and leased exclusively by The Marketing Directors.

All eyes are now on Journal Squared, literally and figuratively. If the building leases quickly, it’s more than likely we’ll see the area’s other mega-projects moving forward. If leasing lags, developers may be deterred.

journal squared jersey city leasing
Interiors | Credit: Binyan

The immediate area is already prepping for the influx of new residents. PJ Ryan’s Squared opened up last year and a Starbucks is set to open just across the plaza in early 2017. These are just the beginning. As the building fills, more new shops and restaurants will be popping up.

The area’s cultural side is making a comeback too. A new arts district is in the works just across the plaza, along an alleyway that runs beside Loew’s Theater. The city is also in initial discussions to bring an art museum to Journal Square as well.

We at Jersey Digs are optimistic. We’re predicting Journal Squared will lease up quicker than expected. It will act as a catalyst, setting off a wave of new projects as well as bringing an influx of new residents, shops and restaurants. Here’s to hoping we’re right.

What do you think? Will Journal Squared be another false start or the push forward Journal Square has been waiting for? Let us know in the comments.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I think the first tower will succeed, just too much demand with proximity to PATH and outrageous DT prices. The real question is will the following towers succeed as well? One of my biggest issues with JC right now is all the developments going up are mostly rental units. If and when the rental market crashes, people can easily get up and leave to a lower cost area and JC is back in a predicament.

  2. its very easy and simple to predict whats gona be. js will be great place to be and live’ cause path commute.
    the prices in nyc are crazy. its best location(almost like downtowm jc)’ but cheaper .15 min to wall st.
    later on bergen lafayet its gona be the next goal and many investors and developers will come to hint there interests. greenville will mostly gain from all these process.
    the clever developers will start to watch greenville asap and beyyone as weel.

  3. This area needs a couple more hotels… that’ll bring in tourists that in turn would bring an exciting kind of energy. Hotels that are innovative and best bang for the buck. Also put up surefire magnets like an incarnated CBGB or a Stone Pony North. Jersey bands are loved and respected around the world, tourists would like that.

  4. Post ww2 the industrial freighters got bigger and much deeper. The Hudson was accommodating anymore and all transport moved to Elizabeth. Jersey city rose and fell over a century.

  5. oo a starbucks. How exclusive.

    Worried about how further development on the line will impact the already stressed Path system. I can imagine leaving JC in a few years if the commute becomes insufferable.

  6. A journal Square will be the center of the city in the next ten years. We need restaurants and good stores for shopping .The Square has the Loews,Path Trains and the big city feeling. I have met with many developers over the past few years and hopefully they will all keep their promises and give back to the communities with open space and other emenities.
    Rich Boggiano

  7. I am excited Journal Square is finally being revitalized. The Journal Squared project – being developed by the Kushner family (in-laws to Donald Trump) is no longer appealing. Like the Trump (name-licensed) buildings downtown, the Kuschner buildings will have great views and amenities. But I don’t want to give my business and money to this family or their company. Luckily Jersey City has many other attractive places to live built by people and companies of good reputation.

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