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Monday, February 25, 2008

PATH Turns 100

Today marked 100 years of PATH service connecting Manhattan and New Jersey through tubes under the Hudson River. Devised as a service to connect passengers arriving on the banks of the Hudson River with destinations in Manhattan, the original Hudson and Manhattan Railroad linked up with terminus stations of the Lackawanna, Erie and Pennsylvania railroads. In 1962, the Port Authority took over from the H&M Railroad, rechristening the tubes as the PATH system. The NYTimes has some interesting images from the history of the system.

Fares today were free, but the reprieve is short lived with one way trips jumping to $1.75 on March 2. More infuriating though is that Port Authority is now pushing their Smart Card system, a payment method incompatible with the MTA Metrocards. Riders can get free Smart Cards today at the PATH stations, but otherwise will need to pay $5 for the privilege. MTA pay-per-ride Metrocards will continue to work, but Smart Card riders enjoy a greater discount on fares.


Weekend Photo Update

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bits & Briefs

Free PATH Rides Monday
The Port Authority will provide free rides on Monday celebrating 100 years of service, strange smells.

Transformer Explodes at Grove Street
A transformer reportedly blew up on Grove Street around 1pm today.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Bits & Briefs

Renting Beats Buying (Or Not)
The Times wants you to buy an apartment because its super cheap.

Cops Smell Leak
Diesel leaks from a tank at the Marina in Newport.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Rats Infest 213 Newark Avenue

As noted yesterday, union members have erected a giant rat in protest of non-union labor at 213 Newark Avenue, a Fields Development property. Construction equipment was in the lot today while union members and a giant rat looked on.

Union Rat erected on Newark Avenue in downtown Jersey City

213 Newark Avenue is a 6 story building that broke ground a few months ago. Excavation and pile driving had been moving at a fairly rapid pace. Over the past weekend, the heavy equipment was removed-- whether this has any relationship to the erection of the union rat is unknown.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rat Crosses Hudson?

A post on JCList mentions a somewhat famous union rat may have hopped on the PATH for a bit fun in the sixth borough. The work site in question is almost certainly 213 Newark Avenue.

UPDATE: New York rats are black, New Jersey Rats are Yellow


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

J.J. Reports AXA Signs Lease in Newport, Wonders What This Internet Thing Is

Two weeks after AXA Insurance announced leasing 245,000 square feet at Newport Tower in Newport, the Jersey Journal reminds us once again why newsprint is so last century. Next week, Dewey defeats Truman.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

110 First Street Renderings Surface

110 First Street made a sudden appearance last month with pre-construction and a rushed approval from the planning board. The Jersey City reporter has a rendering online of the proposed tower. The building includes a tall "L" shaped tower to the west of the lot along Warren Street and a midrise portion along the park and light rail line east of the building. Presumably, the midrise section is a parking deck extending out from the tower, design similar to other downtown towers, or similar to a cancerous tumor. Buyers in the adjacent Athena "A" Tower will likely have their western views eclipsed by the tower shortly.

Via Wired JC


Monday, February 11, 2008

Hamilton Square "Selling Well"

Hamilton Square, the redevelopment of the old Saint Francis Hospital adjacent to Hamilton Park is "selling well" according to a press release from Exeter Property, the developer, with twenty percent of units sold.

The most interesting bit of information though is that the 28,000 square feet of retail space is nearly leased out. While specific retailers were not named, Exeter has said in the past they intend to lease to local businesses, not national chains. So far, the retail includes "an Equinox style gym, restaurant and bar, noodle shop, bakery, wine shop, ice cream parlor, bike store, pharmacy and a bank branch." Certainly the bank branch probably fails the test of "local business," but local restaurants will llikely be welcomed additions to the neighborhood.

For recent construction updates, visit the photoblog.


Bits & Briefs

Winds Rip Roof
Hudson Now reports high winds blew off the roof of a warehouse in the powerhouse district.

Art Developers, Now Hear This
The Times cries about how much it sucks to be a unsuccessful hip artist priced out of a neighborhood that was gentrified by artists.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

NJ Transit Finally to Break Ground on Waterfront Walkway

Hoboken Now is reporting that NJ Transit will officially break ground on the long overdue connection between Hoboken and Jersey City waterfront. The walkway, a grand park along the Hudson River that one day could theoretically connect Bayonne to the foot of the George Washington Bridge is being built in pieces. Private developers are compelled to build out their section of the walkway when seeking development approvals for construction along the water.

The NJ Transit portion of the walkway would bridge southern Hoboken with Jersey City at Newport. The Lefrak organization has built their portion of the walkway up to the currently under construction Aqua rental tower. The NJ Transit portion of the walkway will lead to no where until the Lefrak organization completes about a thousand feet of walkway in the northern quadrant. While the northern quadrant may not be built out for several years, the Lefraks have pledged to connect the existing walkway with NJ Transit's portion ahead of the planned high rises.

NJ Transit's portion of the walkway is seen as a critical link. The property, owned by NJ Transit could easily have been overlooked by an agency more concerned with operating buses and trains than building parks.

At present, there are a few holes in the walkway. At second street, construction of Crystal Pointe has temporarily closed a previously finished section of the walkway. The walkway continues through Exchange Place to Veteran's Park where a short segment of Essex Street is also disconnected. The walkway then continues south from the Morris Canal Park up to the under construction Liberty Harbor North.

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Bits & Briefs

New Bar On Newark Avenue
A post on JCList points to construction permits issued for 284 First Street. The retail space, which essentially faces Newark Avenue, "has a permit in it's retail window for construction of a new bar/restaurant." Good news for local foodies, alcoholics.

Fiber Optics Creeping South
Verizon crews have been scurrying around the Hamilton Park neighborhood recently. Rumor has it they are laying fiber optic cables for FiOS service. Today crews on Jersey Avenue were as far south as 4th Street. Don't cancel your Comcast service just yet, it could be several more months before anyone is even offered a hookup.

Local Sports Teams Seek Registrants
ZogSports NJ, an adult recreation sports league, has opened up registration for spring sports.

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Tightening Office Markets Could Spur New Towers

The Real Deal reports that Manhattan's Downtown office market is tighter than Midtown's for the first time since September 11th. This could be good news for Jersey City's commercial real estate market, a mere five minute subway ride from the downtown.

While midtown office rents steadily rose over the last few years, Jersey City benefits less directly from a shortage in midtown office space; downtown Manhattan is a mere five minutes from the Jersey City waterfront, but midtown nearly twenty.

In August, Jersey City's office market tightened to 90% occupancy. Office tower construction took a backseat in the last few years to residential towers such as 77 Hudson Street. The original plan for 77 Hudson Street included two large office towers before developers realized more money in building residential units. But with the residential market cooling, commercial space may be a more attractive investment.

Low vacancy rates in lower Manhattan and Jersey City could accelerate construction of the long planned Harborside Plaza 4, an office tower that resurfaced before the city planning board last spring. The site currently is a parking lot.

Less likely to begin anytime soon is a remodel of 2 and 30 Montgomery Streets, two midrise towers bought out last year for $106 million. The new owners intended then to demolish the existing towers and rebuild two new, modern high rises similar to midtown's Time Warner Center. The status of this project is still unknown.

Also worth noting, Goldman Sachs has long planned a tower adjacent to their existing skyline centerpiece. Unlike other investment banks, Goldman has maintained relatively steady earnings as credit markets collapsed. Anecdotally, the upper floors of the existing towers, long left dark, have increasingly been lit, perhaps indicating the tower continues to fill.

Still, despite shrinking availability in the short term, plenty of office space is planned for lower Manhattan over the next few years. The World Trade Center reconstruction will bring another 2.5 million square feet of space to the market as well as drive up construction costs throughout the region. Developers also are probably weary of creating a glut of new space as happened in the late 1980's.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Unicorns Attract Attention

A JCLister posted a photo of the Fourth Street Unicorn. This in turn lead to semi-relevant blog Boing Boing picking up the story. This in turn lead us to those responsible for the unicorn, a seemingly hipsterific community of artists, The Agitators. The Agitators described themselves as "a collective of vibrant individuals setting out to engage the Jersey City community as a creative asset."

Who knew?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

AM New York Comes to Jersey City

AM New York has a bit on Jersey City. Really. Its the sort of article you would expect from a free daily paper.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekend Photo Updates

Friday, February 01, 2008

Athena Tower Officially Opens

Multi-Housing News reports that the Athena Groups condominium tower, A, has officially opened. The 250 unit, 33 story tower on Washington Boulevard sits on the edge of the Powerhouse Arts District. The 10,500 square feet of retail space is not yet occupied, and the public park, west of the tower and mandated by the city, is not yet completed.

Residents of the Athena tower will be overlooking three construction sites. The Trump Tower sits to the south east. To the south is the site of the planned Rem Koolhaus Tower, 111 First Street, and immediately west of the tower a new 35 story building at 110 First Street. In addition, Athena overlooks the old powerhouse, not yet under construction, but eventually that building will be rehabilitated and converted into an amusement of sorts.


Shore Club Suffers As NuVisions Hooks Up Communications Services

NuVision, the communication company contracted to provide services in Newport, announced Shore's 216 South Tower residents can look forward to poor customer service and sporadic outages. Newport's other 4,660 apartments already have NuVision service.


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New York's Sixth is a blog for the forgotten, de facto borough across the river featuring original content, commentary, and information relevant to living in Downtown Jersey City / Hoboken.


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