With Manhattan real estate at all all-time high—hitting a record $1,497 per square foot (psf) last year—and with Brooklyn inching upwards of $1,000 psf, real estate investors and tenants are, as always, on the search for the Next Big Borough.
Though a lot of eyes tend to reflexively look northward toward Bronx, or even eastward toward Queens, perhaps the most savvy of real estate pros have set their sights westward, past the “forgotten borough” of Staten Island and across Hudson River entirely.
Real estate investors: Welcome to Bayonne.
The northern New Jersey coastline—often referred to as “the NJ Gold Coast”—has long been a real estate developer’s paradise, a euphemism that is also used by the discerning tenants and homeowners who reside in the new luxury developments in Bergen and Hudson Counties. From Fort Lee by the George Washington Bridge down to the Lincoln Tunnel’s entrance in Hoboken and the Holland Tunnel’s home in Jersey City, living on the western shores of the Hudson is a commuter’s dream, and is increasingly profitable for real estate owners and property managers.
Today, even the territory south of Frank Sinatra’s hometown is steadily on the rise. Beyond simply being adjacent to New York City, the economy of a post-industrial Hudson County is booming, with companies like JP Morgan receiving a $225 million tax credit to create 1,000 jobs in Jersey City alone. As Fortune Builders reported last year, “Tax incentives have made it possible for Jersey City to attract financial powerhouses like RBC Capital Markets, Principis Capital, New York Life Insurance Co., Brown Brothers Harriman Co., Fidelity Global Brokerage Group and Jackson Hewitt Inc.”
Bayonne, the port city across narrow waterways to Staten Island and Newark, is also poised for unprecedented growth over the next few years. Real estate developers such as The L Group are building like crazy: the mixed-use Park Bayonne opened their doors this year, raking in over $4,000 a month for three-bedroom apartments, with plans to erect a nine-story, 88-unit building at 46th street and Broadway, as well as a 22-story mixed-use building on North Street.
Though legal controversies have mired the two-mile long Military Ocean Terminal in years-long stasis, groups like Fidelco Realty Group and Kaplan Companies have plans for thousands of residential units, hotels, offices, an outdoor retail center, extensions to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, and thousands of condominium and rental units along “the Promenade,” a long-abandoned Texaco site that is thirsting for new life.
So forget the tired jokes and stale quips by New Yorkers thumbing their noses at anything west of 12th avenue. Let them smirk as they squabble for the last of the crumbs to be squeezed out of an already saturated Manhattan market. The shrewd real estate investor who puts his money on the stomping grounds of Bruce Springsteen, Steven Spielberg, and Peter Dinklage (just to name a few of thousands) will be smiling, too—all the way to the bank.