If You Build It, They Will Come, Says Harrison NJ Mayor

“After 15 years, his vision to transform this long-forsaken industrial town into a bedroom community for single, young professionals is finally taking shape,” writes Ronda Kaysen. Hopes for redevelopment center on the town’s commuter rail station.

November 3, 2012, 7:00 AM PDT

By Erica Gutiérrez


Despite facing numerous redevelopment obstacles over the last 15 years, including delays due to September 11th, the economic crisis, and a million dollar tax dispute, developers and Harrison mayor Raymond McDonough remain steadfastly hopeful that the town will be the next best alternative for New York City commuters priced out of more traditional and trendier housing markets nearby.

The main catalyst for the town's redevelopment is a $256 million upgrade of its PATH commuter rail station, slated to start this year. "The jewel here is the train station. That's your raw material," says developer Jeffrey J. Milanaik. The town, thus, expects to see an increase in ridership in the next 10 years, from two million riders in 2011 to 2.4 million riders in 2022.

"We're creating a neighborhood from whole cloth and trying to give it a sense of place," says developer David Barry.

Aside from building new, and comparatively affordable rental housing with average rents priced at $1,863 (at least $1,000 less than in the competing communities of Jersey City and Hoboken), developers are also breaking ground on the 138-room Element Hotel, a 50,000-square-foot research and technology center for Panasonic, and thousands of square feet in retail space, reports Kaysen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in The New York Times

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