Another updated historic building is set to open in Jersey City’s Journal Square. A project of Jersey City-based Hopkins Group Management, Elks Club JSQ is an adaptive reuse of one of the city’s oldest surviving buildings – the 1918 Jersey City Elks Lodge.
The six-story, 85-foot tall, 50,000-square-foot structure, situated among one- and two-story retail shops, was falling into decline and covered with sign board. The Hopkins Group thought to reimagine it, removed the boarding and found an architectural masterpiece underneath. Beautiful stone façade had been covered for years.
The location at 275 Magnolia Ave. occupies a prominent piece of real estate sitting directly on Journal Square and adjacent to the historic Loew’s Jersey Theatre. Hopkins decided to redevelop the lodge into a residential building, complete with an amenity package that would be likened to a club and trying to keep the Elks brand as a part of the building’s character.
Working with the building’s owner, Hopkins commissioned LWDMR architects to help transform the dilapidated landmark into a usable space that captures the old-world charm with modern amenities and features.
“The project is completely unique and features details reminiscent of spaces that people would find in Soho decades ago,” said Hopkins Group Management’s Matt Weinreich. “It has elements not seen elsewhere – exposed brick, monumental and arched windows, towering beamed concrete ceilings, and more. The architecture is spectacular and the apartments will reflect some of its history.”
Weinreich’s firm is no stranger to these projects and has been investing in Jersey City for nearly 30 years. It has done a number of adaptive reuse projects throughout the city, including the award-winning Kennedy Lofts, as well as Lafayette Park and 2040 Kennedy. “The adaptive reuse projects are the most challenging,” he said, “but incredibly rewarding when you get them right.”
The newly developed space will feature 40 residential loft apartments that are completely modern and spacious with soaring ceilings that extend as high as 14 feet. Kitchens will feature stainless steel Energy Star appliances and wood grain cabinets with slow-close doors and drawers. Some kitchens will offer a full pantry. The bathrooms are large and bright, and other details including wide-plank hardwood floors and full 8-foot entry doors abound.
Studio, one- and two-bedroom layouts are available with hard-to-find details including oversized windows that flood the apartments with natural light, exposed brick, beamed concrete ceilings, and exposed spiral ductwork. Some units even feature the structural steel beams that originally supported the Elks’ two-story ballroom space. The boutique project also features a full amenity package, including rooftop terrace, full size gym, tenant lounge, game room and communal kitchen, and children’s playroom. Off-street parking is also available.
“Elks Club JSQ is an amazing project because it incorporates the wonderful details from this magnificent building and yet still offers spectacular residences that are contemporary and luxurious,” said Weinreich. “The Elks spared no expense constructing their lodge in the early 1900s, and we were able to play off their work in reimagining this building.”
The Hopkins Group is working its way through final inspections and expects to be able to begin leasing around the middle of May with pricing to begin around $1,700 a month.
“This amazing building enabled us to create something truly special and unique,” Weinreich said. “To be able to reimagine this stunning building directly at Journal Square was a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Building new is easier, but what we have created here is really unrivaled. These are amazing spaces that people will be excited to show off to their friends and are never going to want to leave.”
Area residents live in skyscrapers like the 53-story tower Journal Squared, adjacent to the train station (with its 11-minute commute to the World Trade Center); students attend nearby St. Peter’s University and Hudson County Community College; working-class families and immigrants from around the globe fill out the neighborhood. The area contains the county’s social services, the Hudson County Court House, the Division of Motor Vehicles, and a few chain stores, with some newer restaurants.