Russo Development celebrated the grand opening of its Vermella at Garwood Station property Oct. 18, with more than 70 guests on hand for the festivities, including Garwood Mayor Sara Todisco, city council and planning board members, other town officials and the Russo Development team.
Located adjacent to the city’s New Jersey Transit train station at 450 South St., the event marked the completion of Phase 1 of the project, which includes 296 units, and more than a decade of collaboration among Russo, Garwood and the community to bring the project to fruition.
Phase 2, located directly across the street, is under construction.
Gov. Phil Murphy was joined by officials and other stakeholders Oct. 12 to announce the selection of DOR Woodbridge LLC – a joint venture of Russo Development, Onyx Equities and Dinallo Development LLC/Terminal Construction – as the developer for a transit-oriented development (TOD) project at Metropark Station in Woodbridge.
The Metropark Development Project will include the creation of Class A office and retail space, housing opportunities (20% of which will be designated as affordable housing), community amenities and station-area improvements, including bicycle, pedestrian and infrastructure upgrades.
“Station by station, line by line, we continue our determined overhaul of one of the world’s most critical transportation networks,” said Murphy. “This comprehensive transformation requires infrastructure investments that are complemented by the promotion of walkable neighborhoods, the construction of affordable housing, and the cultivation of economic opportunity.
“By leveraging public-private partnerships like the synergies on display today, we stimulate not just transit-oriented development, but future-oriented communities,” the governor said.
U.S. Rep Frank Pallone, D-6th District, said the announcement marked an important first step in the Metropark Station’s transformation into a walkable community with direct access to the railway.
“This investment in our public transit infrastructure will enhance the station’s safety and accessibility for commuters who rely on it,” said Pallone.
The announcement comes on the heels of one last month, highlighting investment to overhaul the New Brunswick Train Station. Developing these types of projects is a priority in NJ Transit’s 2030 10-year Strategic Plan, which promotes developing walkable communities while maximizing a value’s property and reducing emissions.
“With the Northeast Corridor running through Metropark Station, NJ Transit’s development promises to be an asset to our local community and to advancing the state’s environmental goals,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District. “What this competitive process demonstrates is that New Jersey remains a place that businesses want to invest and people want to live.”
“Advancing transit-oriented development such as the Metropark project is key to creating walkable communities that provide easy access to transit and improved quality of life for communities,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “This is a significant step forward for an important project that integrates transportation, sustainability and economic development.”
Getting to work
The joint venture overseeing the project will perform site due diligence over the next few months, collaborating with NJ Transit, Woodbridge Township and other stakeholders to advance designs as well as financing, phasic and implementation plans.
Russo Development CEO Ed Russo said that this redevelopment represents an opportunity to reinvent one of the busiest transit hubs into a vibrant mixed-use environment.
“The Murphy Administration’s initiative to create public/private partnerships to drive the redevelopment of high value assets in NJ Transit’s portfolio is not only an imaginative way to catalyze value creation but is visionary in the way it will ultimately enhance the rider experience statewide,” said Russo. “We, along with our partners at Terminal Construction and Onyx Equities, are honored to be part of the team that will make this vision a reality.”
“Metropark is surrounded by a dynamic community of hospitality, office, retail and residential uses that engage and benefit the train station, and with this redevelopment program, the station will now become a more integral part of its neighborhood and community,” said Onyx Equities co-founder Jonathan Schultz.
“Terminal Construction’s legacy is around building train stations and we built the most recent parking structure at Metropark,” said Donald Dinallo, CEO of Terminal Construction. “We’ve participated in a progression that began with simple station buildings and now arrives at a new definition for infrastructure that will include the integration of residential, retail, office and hospitality. It is very satisfying to be part of this team and continue our half-century service to NJ Transit.”
The Print House in Hackensack launched leasing for its first phase earlier this summer. On Sept. 19, the partners behind the transformation at the former home of The Record newspaper announced those 271 luxury units are 80% leased.
“From the moment a prospective resident walks through the door at Print House, they notice the attention to detail we’ve put into the design elements and thoughtful amenities that we offer,” said Adam Pasternack, president of Russo Property Management. “The accelerated leasing activity is a direct response to what people expect in an all-inclusive community experience with convenient commuting options and onsite retail offerings. Our new residents are not only coming from Hackensack and surrounding towns, but also from Jersey City, Hoboken, and New York City.
“The right mix of Class A construction, convenient location and transportation options plus an excellent value away from the Gold Coast has struck the ideal chord for our residents,” he said.
Located at 160 River St., phase one at the Print House includes 33 studio, 139 one-bedroom and 99 two-bedroom rentals. The property also includes more than 30,000 square feet of street-level mixed-use retail space. Hackensack Meridian Health and Blue Foundry Bank are already signed on. NAI James E. Hanson is handling leasing for the retail component, and according to the project partners the firm is close to closing two additional deals with major retailers.
Comforts of home
Apartments feature floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, and full-size washer and dryers. Indoor amenities include an on-site concierge, a fitness center with yoga and spin room, multiple resident lounges and a game room with a multisport simulator, rooms for private dining and entertainment, a resident café, private conference rooms, coworking spaces, and package lockers.
Outdoors, the Print House includes an expansive rooftop terrace with New York City skyline views, a resort-style pool and sundeck, private outdoor kitchens, communal barbecues, lounge and dining areas, public green space, and a cinema wall.
The property will include resident events and also offers a dog park and bike storage.
Studios start at $2,100, one bedrooms in the $2,600’s, and two bedrooms at $3,495, depending on the floorplan. Currently under construction, delivery of phase two at Print House is expected in early 2024.
On Aug. 22, Russo announced that the project is underway at the location, a former TD Bank corporate office site at 1000 MacArthur Blvd. in Mahwah.
According to the update, the existing office structures have been demolished and the construction pad and underground water detention are about to be completed.
The company also said vertical construction will begin in the next few weeks and that both firms are anticipating a spring 2023 delivery/occupancy date.
Michael Pembroke, Russo’s chief operating officer, said companies are trending toward smaller office footprints, so this project replaces a less-than-desirable space with a facility in demand thanks to the e-commerce boom.
“We’re providing a solution that will foster job growth by demolishing an outdated office building and replacing it with a modern flex/distribution facility,” Pembroke added.
Cushman & Wakefield’s industrial leasing team led by Bill Waxman, Tom Tucci, Christine Eberle and Jeff Volpi will represent the team in their efforts to secure a long-term tenant.
According to Russo Development COO Michael Pembroke, the Print House offers what residents want. “They have high expectations for a unique, convenient, and more responsive community living experience. A project of this size and scope allowed us to be especially creative with the opportunity to incorporate the waterfront and streetscape on this expansive site,” he said.
The Print House will include waterfront access via a new Riverwalk offering residents access to spaces previously out of reach.
Pembroke added that leasing is moving fast, as tenants are drawn to the availability of onsite retail options and the location’s convenient access to other shopping and transportation options.
ICYMI: Former Daily Record site secures financing
G.S. Wilcox & Co. recently arranged a $60 million loan for a residential component of the project.Read more.
“The development team worked closely with the city to arrive at a vision for this site that complements the many other exciting redevelopment projects in Downtown Hackensack and begins the revival of another area of our city that is critical to our vision of improving our community for both current and future residents,” Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse Jr. said in a statement. “Print House will become a centerpiece of the historic waterfront and is a perfect example of the beautification of our community that our residents deserve, and it will also generate significant new tax revenue to help our administration keep property taxes stable and invest in resident services.”
The project is situated in an Opportunity Zone and two additional buildings with amenities are approved for the site.
“It has been an incredible opportunity to work with our partners, Russo and Fourth Edition on this project,” The Hampshire Cos. President and CEO James Hanson II said in a statement. The company has a special dedication to the city, where its history dates back nearly a century. “We came together with a vision for Hackensack that not only will provide luxury living lifestyles to its residents, but also opportunities for retail and commerce at Print House that will benefit all those living and working in the city,” Hanson added.
Fourth Edition is run by the Borg Family, which also has long-standing ties to the community, having owned and operated The Record and other assets under the North Jersey Media Group Inc. before its 2016 sale.
“The property has been in our family for generations, and we are glad to continue to have a presence in Hackensack,” said Fourth Edition President Stephen Borg. “The transformation of what was once a approximately 20-acre dormant industrial lot into a vibrant community, is the perfect example of how we envision the future of Hackensack.”
The Print House is a 271-unit apartment building coming to the former site of the Bergen Record newspaper in Hackensack. On July 18, G.S. Wilcox & Co. announced it arranged $60 million in financing for the project for a partnership comprised of Russo Development, Hampshire Management (Hampshire Cos.) and Fourth Edition Inc.
G.S. Wilcox President Gretchen Wilcox and Principals David Fryer and Al Raymond arranged the 10-year term loan.
“These luxury apartments are a great addition to Hackensack and we are thrilled to be able to assist our clients in financing their vision for Hackensack’s urban renewal,” Wilcox said in a prepared statement.
The project – a mix of luxury studio, one- and two-bedroom units – is the first residential phase at the property that is set to top 650 residences in all. Resort style amenities accompanying the homes include a swimming pool and sundeck, a private dog walk and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Situated on nearly 20 acres bordering the Hackensack River – and offering direct access to its new Riverwalk – the site will also house around 30,000 square feet of retail space. NAI James E. Hanson was tapped to lease Phase One of that, consisting of 36,529 square feet, last May.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:24 a.m. EDT on July 19, 2022, to remove a sentence identifying G.S. Wilcox & Co. as the only female-founded commercial real estate mortgage banking firm in the U.S. as it could not be confirmed.
Developers KRE Group and Russo Development announced that Rock Pointe, a brand-new luxury rental community in Rockaway Township, reached the 50% leased milestone.
The Morris County community boasts a combination of residences, resort-style amenities and prime location. Located at 1 Rock Pointe Place, just off the Green Pond Road, Rock Pointe offers a convenient location near shopping and dining, just 2 miles from the entrance to Route 80.
Move-ins are well underway with young professionals upgrading to the luxury community, recent home sellers looking for a more manageable living space and out-of-state renters moving to the area to live and work in Morris County.
Monthly rental rates for the 345 one-, two- and three-bedroom residences start from $2,250.
“We’re proud of how quickly Rock Pointe has reached the 50% leased milestone,” said Jonathan Kushner, president of KRE Group. “Residents are embracing the well-balanced lifestyle we’ve created here, which has come into greater focus now that the warm weather is here, and our outdoor amenities have been unveiled.”
Those amenities include a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, featuring a state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga room, resident lounge with sitting areas, fireplace and a bar, conference room, screening/game room, and more. Outside features a pool, pool house, landscaped terrace with fire pit, sun loungers, televisions, tot lot, a walking path, a fitness area, a central BBQ area, and more.
Rock Point is the newest addition to KRE Group’s “Garden Collection” of luxury apartments. Commuters are well-connected to main roads, such as Routes 80, 287, 15 and 46, as well as the nearby NJ Transit Denville station.
Marking the first acquisition of Russo Development and PGIM‘s partnership, CBRE said Jan. 31 that the pair purchased a Bergen County site that will see the construction of a new, Class-A industrial building.
CBRE‘s Jeffrey Dunne, Jeremy Neuer, Steve Bardsley, David Gavin, Rich Gatto, Fahri Ozturk, Travis Langer and Zach McHale of the Institutional Properties group worked with the firm’s Matthew Saker and Patrick Cavanagh to represent seller TD Bank in the $17.5 million sale of 1000 MacArthur Blvd. in Mahwah.
The team also secured the buyer, which CBRE said has approvals to build a 200,000-square-foot industrial facility at the property.
“Russo separated themselves early on in this process and worked through a very challenging approval process,” Dunne said in a statement. “We are delighted to be a part of their first project with PGIM as we expect this will be the first of many deals together.”
According to the commercial real estate services and investment firm, demolition of the site’s current 60,000-square-foot building is expected imminently, with construction commencing thereafter.
“We continue to see antiquated office buildings be redeveloped for higher and better uses and 1000 MacArthur will become Russo’s newest Class A industrial development,” Neuer said. “We are confident this will be another in a long line of successful developments for them.”
CBRE Institutional Properties said it has several other investment opportunities on the market, including the 98%-leased Studio Park in Hamilton; 25 Hanover Road in Florham Park; 80 Park Plaza in Newark, which serves as PSEG’s headquarters; and 211 Mt. Airy Road in Basking Ridge, which is 100% leased to Daiichi Sankyo Pharma for its U.S. headquarters.
On Jan. 19, JLL Capital Markets announced it arranged $80 million in pre-stabilized permanent refinancing for Vermella at Garwood Station, which includes nearly 300 apartments and 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities adjacent to its namesake city’s New Jersey Transit rail station.
JLL said it secured a 10-year, fixed-rate, non-recourse loan through a national life insurance company at a low-2% coupon rate, including a nine-month forward component, on behalf of the borrower, Russo Development LLC.
Vermella at Garwood Station is located at the intersection of South Avenue and Center Street in Garwood, providing access to downtowns including its own, and those of nearby Westfield and Cranford. Approximately 19,500 square feet of street-level retail space at the community will bring a café, restaurant and other convenience operators to the property.
The JLL Capital Markets Debt Advisory team representing the borrower was led by Senior Managing Director Thomas Didio, Senior Director Thomas Didio Jr. and Associate Gerard Quinn.
“JLL is pleased to work alongside Russo in securing pre-stabilized permanent financing that will allow the borrower to complete construction and lease-up of this beautifully designed, transit-oriented community,” the younger Didio said in a statement. “The life company market met this opportunity with tremendous interest, and we are thrilled for the Russo Development team.”
A new luxury community in Rockaway Township is ready for residents.
Kushner Real Estate Group and Russo Development recently announced the launch of leasing for Rock Pointe‘s 345 rental residences, with occupancy slated for January 2022.
Rock Pointe offers a ridgetop location at 1 Rock Pointe Place and is less than 2 miles from the entrance to Route 80. Monthly rental rates start from $2,100 for the community’s one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
The property is a part of KRE Group’s “Garden Collection.”
“We are delighted to start leasing apartments at Rock Pointe which blends well-appointed living spaces and modern amenities with a desirable Morris County location convenient to local highways, parks, shopping, dining, and employment centers,” said KRE Group President Jonathan Kushner in a statement.
Homes at Rock Pointe feature open layouts, in-unit washers and dryers with central AC and gas heat/hot water. Beyond the individual residences, the community offers indoor and outdoor amenities with activity and social spaces including a resident lounge, bar, conference room, a walking path, barbecue areas, and more.
Residents have access to package lockers, the partners said, with individual mailboxes and parking garages for each building, onsite EV charging stations, a dog park and a dog wash station.
Commuters benefit from nearby access to Routes 287, 15 and 46; the Denville New Jersey Transit station is a 5-mile drive; and bus service is available via NJ Transit and the Lakeland Bus Line. Nearby attractions include Rockaway Townsquare Mall, Lake Hopatcong, the Split Rock Reservoir and Farny State Park.
Russo Development LLC and Onyx Equities are planning to bring big changes to a portion of Novartis Corp.’s 202-acre U.S. headquarters in East Hanover.
On Dec. 13, the partners announced purchasing 62 acres from the pharmaceutical company at Route 10 and Ridgedale Avenue. There, they’ll eliminate 900,000 square feet of vacant office space to build up 826,800 square feet of industrial space.
As the sector experiences historically low vacancies, Russo and Onyx said the development will be one of the largest new industrial projects in Morris County.
Work will begin early next year, with groundbreaking for two buildings ranging between 300,000 square feet and 500,000 square feet before the end of 2022.
“This project reflects Onyx’s strong track record of repositioning large corporate campuses and growing industrial pipeline, and will bring new jobs, businesses and commerce to East Hanover,” said Onyx Equities Co-founder and Managing Principal John Saraceno. “Morris County is a jewel for commercial uses of all types because of its extensive highway system and pool of highly qualified, skilled labor.”
The initiative is the second joint venture for Onyx and Russo.
The first is a part of Russo’s Vermella series: the mixed-use Vermella Woodbridge project, which will bring 500 apartments and 23,000 square feet of retail space to 26 acres of land acquired from Hess Corp. in 2020.
“We are excited to redevelop a portion of one of northern New Jersey’s premier sites into a first-class industrial project,” said Russo Development CEO Edward Russo. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with East Hanover Township and Novartis as the company transforms its East Hanover campus to a more flexible and collaborative workplace design.”
Across the state, Russo and its partners have more than 6 million square feet of industrial projects in the works, ranging from 200,000 square feet to 3 million square feet. Onyx, as well, is developing industrial square footage numbering in the millions throughout the Garden State and Long Island.
With nearly 300 apartments and 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities, Russo Development launched leasing at the newest luxury rental in its statewide lifestyle community brand in a Union County borough that clocks in at under a mile in area nestled between Westfield and Cranford.
Vermella at Garwood Station is now leasing studios, one- and two-bedroom residences at its commuter-friendly locale adjacent to a Raritan Valley Line NJ Transit station, Russo Development announced Nov. 18. A website for the property was also launched for prospective residents to find additional information or book a private tour of furnished model homes and amenities.
Initial occupancy is slated for December.
“Garwood is a wonderful, close-knit community with a walkable downtown and great access to a myriad of shopping, dining, and community services, as well as public transportation,” said Russo Property Management President Adam Pasternack. “Vermella complements the existing appeal of the neighborhood with a lifestyle-driven experience at an exceptional value.”
Located at 450 South St., the building will feature approximately 19,500 square feet of street-level retail space with a café, restaurant and more, Russo said.
According to an announcement, the Garwood property aims to achieve the perfect life-work-play balance. Outdoor amenities include a resort-style pool, sundeck and movie wall, al fresco dining areas and a dog run. Inside, a two-story lobby, clubroom, business and coworking area, fitness center, private dining space and additional features are available to residents.
According to Pasternack, the amenity package is one of the characteristics that sets the Vermella collection apart from other suburban apartments. “It is a hallmark of the … brand and reflective of our commitment to elevate our residents’ lifestyle experience,” he said.
Monthly rents at Vermella at Garwood Station start from the $2,300s, with limited time Grand Opening incentives including one-month free rent.
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