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Cover Story - August 2006
Suburban Developer Adds a New Urban Residential Tower
by Adrian MacDonald
A national suburban homebuilder is
wrapping up 700 Grove Street, a 230-
unit condominium building in Jersey
City, N.J., that will offer unobstructed
views of the Manhattan skyline.
Work started in early 2005, and the
building topped out in May with full
enclosure expected by summer's end.
Toll Brothers City Living, the urban
development unit of Toll Brothers, a
homebuilder based in Horsham, Pa.,
plans for occupancy in late November.
The views of Manhattan are thanks in part to a New Jersey Transit rail line that runs
adjacent to the site. While the rail line creates noise and borders an entire side of the
building, it also runs for a mile to the waterfront, leaving an open space unlikely to be
obscured by development.
"In urban development, we continually find that the challenge of a site can also be an
advantage," said Chris Chang, assistant project manager for Toll Brothers.
The company started its urban unit in 2003, when it bought Manhattan Building Co. of
Hoboken, N.J., and its Park Avenue Design Group subsidiary. It picked up several
existing projects, including 700 Grove and Sky Club, a condominium building in
Hoboken that was already under construction and completed in 2005.
"More and more people want to live in a city environment," said Dennis Devino, director
of design and construction for the Toll Brothers division. "It used to be that people lived
in the city because they couldn't afford to live in the suburbs. Now, it's the other way
Another advantage to the location is its designation by Jersey City as an urban
enterprise zone, which means the development benefits from a "payment in lieu of
taxes," or PILOT, program. For the first 20 years, residents pay no property tax but
instead pay the city directly at a lower rate.
The development rush in Jersey City of the last several years owes in large part to the