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The Avenue Collection Brings Urban Waterfront Living to the Big Apple

By Chris Boyle

New York may be the city so nice they named it twice, but for elite travelers who want or need access to the concrete jungle, yet prefer the urban waterfront lifestyle of Sydney, Vancouver, Cape Town or perhaps Marina del Rey, a 200-acre master plan development named Port Imperial may be the right option.

outdoor-spaceSet on what The New York Times referred to as the “Far West Side” or “Left Coast,” the two-and-a-half mile stretch of New Jersey’s Hudson River waterfront runs parallel from 33rd to 85th Street.

Named for Arthur Edward Imperatore, Sr., a trucking tycoon, who bought the land in 1981 from bankrupt Penn Central Railroad and began the long process of converting it from train yards, Teterboro Airport is a short eight miles away, 15 minutes with traffic.

Yet until Lennar bought a tract of prime waterfront land just to the south of the Weehawken ferry terminus in 2008, most of the area’s real estate offerings while affluent, were slightly short of luxury.  Somewhat ironically, the publicly traded, Miami-based company, one of the nation’s biggest home builders with developments in some 20 states, wasn’t involved in the luxury segment until what is called The Avenue Collection.

00708c5Like many of the developments that are coming to fruition today, this one was sidelined by the recession, but now progress is fast and furious.  Craig Klingensmith, a veteran of haute developer WCI Communities was brought in as President of Lennar’s Northeast Urban Division to shepherd the luxury project.

1000 Avenue at Port Imperial is the first of five ultra-luxe buildings in the pipeline with 74 units of the 669 total residences that will be spread over the seven-floor structures.  The concrete and steel construction with floor to ceiling windows, says Klingensmith, should be sold out by the end of the year, and then sales at 1200 Avenue next door will start.  He expects the Lennar’s area to be completed in the next six years, and while ferry service and Teterboro are at the doorstep, so is the Hudson-Bergen County Light Rail, access to the Lincoln Tunnel if you want to drive into Manhattan, or Newark International Airport, with nonstop flights to Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

lobbyOf course, layers of high-end design and amenities will probably mean you won’t want to leave home.  Entry is through a two-story high rectangular lobby with reception and 24-hour concierge desk, anchored by a wall length fireplace and highlighted by what will be a collection of modern art.

“Our goal is that you come in, and you feel like you are coming into a modern, five-star luxury hotel,” Klingensmith said during a hardhat tour. A state-of-the-art gym will include cardio, weights, a yoga studio, sauna and steam room.  A third-floor sun deck will have an outdoor fire pit for chilly evenings and mist spray to keep you cool while sunning on a hot summer day.  1200 will have a pool that both buildings will share, but will have its own amenities such as gym and so forth.  A function room with catering kitchen at 1000 features a large fireplace, bar area and two 60-inch flat screen televisions if you want to host a party.  1200 will offer a library and media room.  There will be Guest Room apartments for owners to use for guests, although a 226-room Renaissance Hotel is being built across the street from the ferry terminal.

Mirroring top hotels, all masters have the five-fixture bathroom pioneered by Regent International Hotels featuring a separated toilet, walk-in shower, tub and double sink.  However, Klingensmith points out even additional bathrooms have high performance handheld showerheads typically only found in masters.  For Lennar’s first go at the top end, finishes take into consideration every detail from granite countertops to General Electric’s high-tech Advantium fast cook ovens.  Extras you don’t see such as direct outdoor vents minimize cooking odors.

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party-roomOne, two and three-bedroom apartments range from $800,000 to $4 million with top units moving quickly.  Spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline may be the best amenity, however the entire area will have a bustling retail and restaurant scene as it develops.  A waterfront walkway along the Hudson River runs from Jersey City to the south and will end to the north at the George Washington Bridge providing an invigorating backdrop for running or riding your bike.

Klingensmith says prices at 1200 and the final three buildings will range higher, and the goal is that small is beautiful.  “New York is huge. We wanted to create that boutique, intimate feel,” he said.

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