Similar to the development of Queens and Brooklyn, Jersey City gained traction in the '80s when artists moved into the area for cheaper rent. Today, the coast is dominated by high-rise rental and condo towers, such as Crystal Point, which passed the 98 percent sales mark in March, according to The Marketing Directors. And, not unlike the east coast development of Long Island City, several large-scale communities, including Liberty Harbor and Newport, mark the waterfront in Jersey City.
These communities, which mostly attract renters, are hoping that their luring amenities and spacious units will keep residents happy and that the convenience of the PATH train -- 50 cents cheaper than the subway, with a stop right inside the Newport community -- will bring more of their friends from Manhattan.
"Eighty-five percent of Newport residents work in Manhattan, many in the financial services field with offices downtown," explains Mario Gaztambide, head of Residential Asset Management for Newport. "We have a lot of people coming from other parts of Jersey looking for a shorter commute, as well as people relocating into the New York area for the first time. The biggest growth is from people looking to escape Manhattan looking for a better value."
While neighboring Hoboken has earned its reputation as a hub for young professionals, new zoning laws may extend the ability for Jersey City to develop a stronger nightlife scene, and trendy restaurants such as Thirty Acres (from a former Momofuku vet) are breathing life into the area for when its finance residents come home across the river. For those who fear prices will be driven up and the area will become "Manhattanized," it should be mentioned that Jersey City was the home of a "Jersey Shore" spin-off for five weeks -- and if it's Jersey enough for Snooki, it's Jersey enough for anyone.
Ones to watch
One notable new project coming to the market soon is the recently announced 99 Hudson St., a 1,000-unit residential complex that will be the largest rental in N.J. (and one of the Top 5 tallest buildings in the state). More rentals, such as a 422-unit building known as 18 Park or The Laguna, will be coming in 2013.
NJ's own High Line
The High Line has been a source of burgeoning tourist and real estate activity with views of the Hudson -- and N.J. -- and it's looking like Jersey City could be building something similar on the other side of the river. A 27-foot-high, 100-foot-wide structure, the Harsimus Stem Embankment on Sixth Street, is planned as the potential site of a landscaped park to run to the shores of the river.