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Wall Street Journal / Biz - Money

A New Jersey Development Offers Sweeping Views of Manhattan—and More for a Buyer’s Money

One developer in West New York, N.J., is hoping a new penthouse apartment with a view of Midtown from the shore of the Hudson River can command $8 million. Brokers and analysts say there is growing demand for expensive apartments on the New Jersey waterfront as Manhattan prices climb.


By

Josh Barbanel

What is a Manhattan view worth?

One developer in West New York, N.J., is hoping a new penthouse apartment with a dead-on vista of Midtown from the shore of the Hudson River can command $8 million.

Brokers and analysts say there is growing demand for expensive apartments on the New Jersey waterfront as Manhattan prices climb. The demand comes mainly from New Yorkers looking for more space for less money and views with bragging rights, as well as young pioneers lured to the New Jersey riverfront over recent decades who now are raising families and looking for larger homes in the area.

The latest entry is a top-floor, three-bedroom penthouse with 4,000 square feet of space, a Japanese-themed design, a large private terrace with a lawn at Nine on the Hudson, a new development near the river in West New York.

So far, the top condo prices per square foot along the New Jersey shore have come in Jersey City, which has become a magnet for younger renters and buyers. The record price per square foot for a condominium was the January 2017 sale of a condo at the top of 77 Hudson St., a high rise overlooking New York harbor in Jersey City, for $3.4 million, or $1,624 a square foot. That was 25% more than what the condo sold for in October 2015, according to real-estate data site propertyshark.com.

The asking price for the penthouse at Nine on the Hudson works out to $2,000 a square foot.

Alexander Hovnanian, who is overseeing the development for K. Hovnanian Homes, said a contract has been signed on another unit that ranks as the third most expensive condo sale along the river in New Jersey by price per square foot: a 12th floor unit in contract for $2.45 million, or $1,535 a square foot.

Since the project went on the market in April 2017, nearly 30% of the 278 apartments there have gone into contract, Mr. Hovnanian said.

“There is no place in Manhattan where you can see all around Manhattan,” said Eitan Ajchenbaum, the chief financial officer of an insurance company in Manhattan who is in contract to buy a two-bedroom apartment at Nine on the Hudson.

The development is situated on a quiet stretch of shoreline near a riverfront walkway and a short walk or bus ride to the Port Imperial/Weehawken ferry stop. From there it is an eight-minute ferry ride to Midtown Manhattan.

Nine on the Hudson is part of a large expanse of former warehouses and railroad terminals along the river at the base of the Palisades, a line of cliffs overlooking the Hudson River. Since the 1980s, the industrial zone has been replaced with new communities of townhouses and apartments.

The building has a U-shaped design to maximize views of New York harbor. On the north side, there is a conventional 13-story building with glass walls and metallic trim. On the south side, a second wing, with white cast stone and floor-to-ceiling windows, steps down floor by floor toward the river with landscaped terraces. From the Manhattan side, it looks like a gigantic staircase to the river’s edge.

Between the buildings is a platform built over a parking garage with an edgeless pool with Manhattan views, a hot tub, fire pits, a lawn and children’s play area. In all there are 32,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities.

Mr. Ajchenbaum said his new apartment has views facing north and east, giving him a panorama of Manhattan extending from the George Washington Bridge to Battery Park to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

He said he moved because he wanted “the best life, and part of it is the apartment and the environment.” He also cited the lower cost of living, a property-tax abatement on the condo and lower income taxes.

Unlike his previous residence in a Midtown Manhattan rental tower, he said the new area was quiet and family oriented and “you can’t see too many tourists.”

“If you go out to parties every night, live in Manhattan,” he said. “I can understand why you want to live in Manhattan.”

As Manhattan prices rise, however, some buyers are expected to migrate west.

“To a large extent what we see playing out now in Hudson County are developers looking to cash in on the high real estate costs in Manhattan by providing an alternative,” said Jeffrey Otteau, an appraiser and president of the Otteau Valuation Group Inc.

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