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Placemakers on the waterfront

How Mack-Cali transforms Harborside into a thriving hub

The Jersey City skyline has changed over many decades, and in its current form it showcases the work of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. The Jersey City-based REIT has served as a steward of transformation for New Jersey’s waterfront over the past several years by successfully bringing the company’s vision of a nationally recognized transit, commerce and lifestyle hub into existence at Harborside, a mixed-use residential and commercial neighborhood, located in the buzzing heart of Jersey City.

A main thoroughfare for New York metro transportation, Harborside provides locals and commuters with access to the Exchange Place PATH station, the Harborside Light Rail station, and a brand-new NY Waterway ferry terminal. Mack-Cali invested $75 million to execute vast upgrades to existing office buildings in the neighborhood, including transforming lobby and amenity spaces to encourage a live-work-play atmosphere that has attracted some of the nation’s top companies to the area. Along with these renovations came new public infrastructure improvements as well as a unique lifestyle offering in District Kitchen—Jersey City’s first-ever food hall showcasing popular local vendors. Harborside’s Atrium also hosts various community events, festivals and expos nearly every week, and professionals flock to the newly opened cocktail lounge, Manny’s. The bar and event space, outfitted with ample seating, ping pong and billiards tables, and numerous large-screen televisions, serves as an industrial-chic retreat for everything from casual happy hours to corporate meetups.

101 Hudson terrace.

101 Hudson terrace. – TPG ARCHITECTS

Adding to Harborside’s gravitas is the impending arrival of Whole Foods’ Northeast headquarters and a new retail location, set to total approximately 48,000 square feet when finished – signaling Harborside’s ability to attract national, prominent brands to its waterfront location.

A key example of Mack-Cali’s work on existing buildings in Harborside is 101 Hudson Street, one of the premier office buildings in the area, which features 42 stories of Art Deco-inspired architecture and 1.25 million square feet of Class A office space. The iconic structure – the third tallest commercial building in Jersey City – is currently undergoing a transformation of its lobby and entry plaza as well as the addition of a dedicated suite of amenities spanning the entire 17th floor.

Leading the redesign of the building’s lobby and entryway is renowned architect Dan Shannon of MdeAS Architects, who is reimagining the main entry and plaza renovations with a focus on visibility and transparency, elevating and defining the sense of arrival at the stately building. Upstairs on the 17th floor, New Jersey-based TPG Architects designed a suite of full-floor indoor and outdoor amenities dubbed the 101 Club. Available for use by all building employees, the 101 Club includes comfortable workspaces in an inviting, open-seating plan, a pantry and kitchen area, private meeting spaces and an expansive outdoor terrace with breathtaking Manhattan views. The spaces feature a mix of warm, natural woods, polished concrete floors, and decorative lighting that provides tenants with a comfortable and welcoming area for rest, relaxation and escape from the busy hustle of their workday.

“We wanted to bring the idea of an urban oasis to life inside the building, and we knew that TPG’s team could realize that vision,” said Nicholas Hilton, executive vice president of leasing at Mack-Cali. “It was important to create a distinct space for our tenants to enjoy – that serves as a space for them to work, but also to relax, dine and socialize, and the 101 Club feels much truer to the definition of a retreat within 101 Hudson.”

Mack-Cali’s collection of structures is not limited to office properties. Harborside’s identity as an all-in-one hub for activity offers the city’s residents a range of elevated living options along with a vibrant urban lifestyle. The popular residential development, Urby, features imaginative architecture combined with a boutique hotel sensibility that has made it one of the most successful residential buildings in Jersey City. Residents occupy apartments with spacious layouts and enjoy a suite of luxury amenities including a saltwater pool, a private “pocket park” ideal for social gatherings, and a Woofgarden for the four-legged tenants, all complimented by unobstructed and breathtaking views of the iconic New York City skyline.

These architectural landmarks on the Gold Coast – both old and new – offer unmatched accessibility to Manhattan, which is particularly crucial as Jersey City has gained more recognition in recent years as an extension of the booming finance and tech markets across the Hudson in the Financial District. These buildings also offer an unmatched legacy in both their artful construction and their long-term potential for economic vitality. The architectural skyline of the Jersey waterfront, in many respects, has been defined and will continued to be defined by Mack-Cali’s portfolio.

Deidre Crockett is chief administrative officer at Mack-Cali Realty Corp. and Roseland Residential Trust.

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