Jersey City’s Multifamily Boom: Q&A with Mayor Steven Fulop

Jersey City currently has 5,000 residential units under construction with another 18,000 that have been planned or approved. MHN recently had the chance to catch up with Mayor Steven Fulop to get the scoop on Jersey City’s multifamily boom.

Jersey City, N.J.—Jersey City currently has 5,000 residential units under construction with another 18,000 that have been planned or approved. The City of Jersey City recently launched the first phase of a $1.2 million regional marketing campaign to help attract new residents. As population growth currently stands, Jersey City will surpass Newark as the state’s largest by 2016. MHN recently had the chance to catch up with Mayor Steven Fulop to get the scoop on Jersey City’s multifamily boom.

MHN: How has the renter demographic changed in Jersey City over the past decade?

SteveFulop.425.333Fulop: We have a lot of new residents coming in the city. The city is growing at a rate faster than almost any municipality in the State. We continue to have a very diverse community, with about 70 languages spoken in our school system. At the same time, we are getting a lot of people coming in both as empty nesters and from New York.

MHN: The office sector also finds Jersey City attractive, with Forbes being just one high profile company that is in the middle of relocating. What other major moves are in the works?

Fulop: J.P. Morgan has announced that they are moving 5,000 jobs, and RBC is moving 1,000 jobs starting December. VF Corp., which is Nautica’s parent company, moved a couple hundred jobs across the river. So we are seeing a lot of different types of companies moving in. It is not only financial services. I think that speaks well to the advantages of Jersey City.

MHN: What is your approach working with developers on new multifamily projects?

HWKN_JournalSquared1 (1)

Kushner Real Estate Group broke ground on the first phase of Journal Squared—a 1,840 unit development designed by HWKN and Handel Architects—this October.

Fulop: We have a great planning department with a lot of experience. Most of the developers are longer term players that have been involved in Jersey for some time, so there is familiarity there. We also really value open space. So as we grow, we also know that open space is crucial. We always try and fit it into the plan that comes before us. We also try to be flexible on zoning and planning, but also make sure that there is substantial give back to the community—and open space is a big one.

MHN: What types of open spaces are these new projects incorporating? 

Fulop: Well, the Toll Brothers project, Provost Square, has a theater attached to it, and there is also a public pedestrian plaza. If you look at Journal Squared, we are redoing a lot of the infrastructure around the project to make it more pedestrian friendly. Each project is case by case, but certainly we push to include open space.

AECOM Capital and Toll Brothers Apartment Living are partnering on Provost Square, a 417-unit luxury community in the city's Powerhouse district.

AECOM Capital and Toll Brothers Apartment Living are partnering on Provost Square, a 417-unit luxury community in the city’s Powerhouse district.

MHN: Is there a concentrated area where these towers are going up?

Fulop: It is kind of scattered. Most of it is in Journal Square and downtown right now. We are trying to incentivize people more to move towards Greenville.

MHN: The new marketing materials will have a heavy presence in Manhattan and Brooklyn. How would you categorize the target market?

Fulop: The creative class that is finding it difficult to live in Manhattan and is looking for alternatives. We are certainly also looking for those families that are getting priced out of Manhattan and are looking for alternatives that are close to the city. And we are also targeting empty nesters in North Jersey. Their kids are off to college, and they are looking to be closer to an urban center.

MHN: What is driving the population growth in Jersey City?

Fulop: The population growth is being driven by good planning, good mass transportation access and proactive policies. I think all that stuff is coming together nicely.

MHN: Are there any misconceptions about Jersey City that you would like to clear up for someone considering making the move? 

Fulop: I think that the biggest misconception would be that it is a bedroom community. It is really not. There is a community that is choosing to live and work here. It is a very, creative and diverse community, so I think that we have a lot to offer for people looking to make a long term move.