Hartz Mountain Industries has been developing an area of Weehawken Township along the Hudson River waterfront for decades.
In an interview with the Hudson Reporter, COO and President of Hartz Mountain Gus Milano discussed the past and future of the company’s redevelopment at Lincoln Harbor.
Generations of development
Hartz Mountain has been active in developing Lincoln Harbor since it acquired the site in 1982 from SeaTrain, when it filed for bankruptcy, and Hartz has been there ever since, according to Milano.
When Hartz acquired the site, it was slated for commercial office space and hotels.
In the mid-1980s, the Union Bank of Switerzland leased office space on the site that kick-started commercial projects. Today there is one million square feet of office space at Lincoln Harbor.
Contemporary commercial projects on the site include the 350-bed Sheraton Hotel and Whole Foods, among other businesses.
As time went by, Milano said plans for Lincoln Harbor began to change. Residential projects reemerged.
Now the site is home to 1,300 residential units, with the construction of multi-family buildings beginning around five years ago.
Hartz completed the 589-unit luxury apartment complex The Estuary around 2014. According to Milano, this was the start of the construction of more modern, multifamily residential projects.
After the Estuary came Harbor 1500, another multi-family residential development, opened in 2019 with 236 units. Following that was Hamilton Cove with 573 units.
More recently, Hartz Mountain received approval from the Weehawken Planning Board to build a residential mid-rise complex with two towers at Lincoln Harbor’s Atir site.
The board initially denied the application due to height issues. After multiple lawsuits, ordinances, resident complaints, and a plethora of planning board meetings, Hartz resubmitted an application for a shorter building that was eventually approved.
Milano said that the 14-story complex at the Atir site will break ground within the next nine months.
The future of Lincoln Harbor
According to Milano, the site is becoming “mature in terms of development opportunities.” However, Hartz does have a few more projects.
There are two sites that Hartz will develop, according to Milano. One includes 180 units as part of the Estuary project. The other is a site on the parking lot area of the Sheraton Hotel.
Hartz also capacity for another 230-bed hotel. Milano said that hinges on the market condition which “isn’t exactly great right now for a hotel.”
After that, Lincoln Harbor would be “built out,” Milano said. He estimates this to happen within the next three to five years.
The COVID factor
COVID-19 hasn’t put a damper on anything. Milano said Hartz is on schedule to complete all the projects onsite. Aside from lost occupancies due to COVID-19, the overall the market has been “pretty solid given the circumstances.”
Residents now take virtual video tours of units before leasing them.
Milano said the site has 15 acres of open space due in part to the Waterfront Walkway Hartz built. Milano said Hartz constructed an exercise park on the north side of the site, among other parks. He said Hartz intends to build another waterfront park on the eastern end of the Sheraton parking lot.
Milano said Hartz has no plans for residential developments besides those at Lincoln Harbor.
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