Revealed: Vermella Harrison, New Jersey

Vermella HarrisonVermella Harrison, rendering from Russo Development

On Friday, YIMBY contributor John Petro brought us the news that while building permits are way up in New York City over the past year, the four most urban counties in North Jersey are still beating the five boroughs by a long shot, in terms of per-capita housing authorizations. That growth is coming largely in Hudson and Bergen Counties, with projects like the Vermella Harrison, in Harrison, New Jersey, contributing to the more than 10,000 units permitted in the four west-of-the-Hudson counties over the past 12 months.

Carlstadt-based Russo Development is building, and the five-story rental project at 1100 Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard South will join two siblings by the same builder in North Jersey, marketed under the same name – one called Vermella Crossing in Kearny (on the other side of the Passaic River from Newark and Jersey City), and the other called Vermella Lyndhurst (two towns northeast of Kearny).

The Harrison project has a more modern design than the other two (which have gabled roofs and other traditional touches),  reflecting its more urban context, a few blocks south of the town’s PATH station. The project is surrounded by other multifamily development sites, with buildings sprouting like weeds on old industrial land around the PATH station and the Passaic riverfront, which sit some distance from Harrison’s traditional downtown.

Russo’s Harrison project will bring 326 rental units to the market, plus 10,000 square feet of street-facing retail. The apartments will be wrapped around a parking podium, shielding the unsightly stalls from public view.

No pricing details have been released for the project, but a company representative told YIMBY that the amenities will be similar to those of Vermella Lyndhurst, where the one-bedrooms that are still available start at $2,095 for 900 square feet, and the last remaining three-bedroom is asking $4,375 for 1,900 square feet of space.

In general, Harrison – just one PATH stop from Newark, and well past the pricier Jersey City stations – is the cheapest PATH-accessible area that’s seeing new large-scale market-rate residential building. According to Cushman and Wakefield data given to the New York Times in 2012, average rents in new developments in Harrison were just $1,863 a month, compared with $2,900 in Hoboken and $3,067 in Jersey City.

While all market-rate construction ultimately lowers the price of housing, new rental units delivered at lower price points will contribute most rapidly to an area’s affordability, since research tells us that they’ll filter down quickest to those in need, as the decades pass.

Construction on the residential portion of the project has already begun, with the first 100 units set to be delivered in July 2015.

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