New hotel planned for One Exchange Place
Renovation to finish in 2014, will boost city tax revenues
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Jun 17, 2012 | 7953 views | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Plans have been drafted to turn the condemned One Exchange Place into an ‘upscale’ hotel. Current plans include the construction of three additional stories to the building, including a public, rooftop observation deck.
Plans have been drafted to turn the condemned One Exchange Place into an ‘upscale’ hotel. Current plans include the construction of three additional stories to the building, including a public, rooftop observation deck.
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A dilapidated, nearly-vacant office building at Exchange Place will be transformed into a 13-story, 247-room hotel, complete with an observation deck and restaurant with sweeping views of the New York skyline. If current plans for the site stay on schedule, the hotel should open sometime in fall 2014, according to the hotel’s project manager.

At present, the site at One Exchange Place is home to just two businesses after the Jersey City Fire Department issued a vacate order in April 2011 following a ceiling collapse on the ground floor. The city’s Building Department subsequently issued a Notice of Imminent Hazard and a Notice of Unsafe Structure.

Last week the City Council unanimously declared One Exchange Place in need of redevelopment, which clears the way for a massive renovation of the site by the Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company. Concord has acquired One Exchange Place and will spend the next two years renovating the building. The council also introduced the One Exchange Place Redevelopment Plan, which could come up for a vote on June 27.

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The addition of One Exchange Place to the city’s roster of hotels will boost local revenue from the hotel tax.

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Concord owns and manages 84 hotels across the country, including five in northern New Jersey. The company’s portfolio of hotels includes such brands as Courtyard, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, Renaissance, MainStay Suites, Hilton Garden, Doubletree, and Sheraton.

One Exchange Place will be the company’s first site in Hudson County. Christopher Brenner, Concord’s project manager for the Exchange Place project, said last week the company has not yet released which of its brands will open in Jersey City.

From ‘dilapidated’ to ‘upscale’

Originally built in 1920 as a bank, Once Exchange Place had become a run-down 10-story office building at the foot of Montgomery Street by the time it was condemned by the city last year. At present, only two tenants, Dunkin’ Donuts and a Subway sandwich shop, remain in the building on the ground floor.

In a presentation last week, city planner Jeffery Wenger told the City Council that while the “exterior of the [One Exchange] is in good condition, most of the building’s interior is non-functioning and is in need of serious repair.”

The building has active leaks and water damage, there is asbestos which will need to be removed. Several walls have holes, some additional ceilings have collapsed in the year since the initial collapse in April 2011. All of the upper floors, Wenger said, are “completely dilapidated.”

The building will, however, be completed gutted and remade into a new hotel.

According to Brenner, Concord plans to do a substantial renovation of the property.

“The existing building constructed in 1920 is 10 stories. We are adding three stories to the existing building and a story addition at the southeast corner of the property,” said Brenner. “The 13th floor, or roof terrace level, will have…views of the Jersey City waterfront and the Manhattan skyline. The first floor of the existing building will have 10,000 square feet of commercial retail space.”

The entire facility, he added, will have a total of 190,000 square feet.

“Demolition is [already] in progress,” said Brenner, “and will continue through December 2012. We expect to commence construction on the new addition and renovations in January of 2013.”

Exactly which hotel brand will move into the site will, Brenner said, be announced later this summer.

“We are currently in conversations with two of the top global brands to develop an upscale hotel,” he added. “We will announce the brand in the next few weeks.”

New site will boost hotel tax revenues

The Concord project will be Jersey City’s sixth reputable hotel. The city currently has a Westin, a Doubletree, and a Courtyard Marriott in the Newport neighborhood. The Hyatt is just two blocks from One Exchange Place. And there’s also a Ramada Inn on Tonnelle Avenue in the Journal Square area.

The nearby Hoboken waterfront also includes a W Hotel that is not far from Jersey City’s Newport community.

A long-planned mixed-use Hilton development at the end of Marin Boulevard, near Liberty Harbor North, has yet to break ground. In 2010 the city approved an $8 million loan for the $118 million development, which was supposed to include 342 hotel rooms and 470 residential units.

Still, the addition of the Concord property to the city’s roster of hotels will boost local revenue from the hotel tax. Municipalities throughout the state of New Jersey receive a tax from each hotel room booked within their city. The hotel tax charged is not uniform, and varies from one city to the next. Jersey City currently receives a hotel tax rate of 6 percent from every hotel room booked at the city’s hotels.

Jersey City currently gets between $4 million and $5 million annually from the hotel tax, according to the administration of Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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