The new Fort Lee, NJ, rental tower The Modern was some 40 years in the making. To hear resident Larry Sharpe describe it, it was worth the wait.
“You have every amenity in the world,” Sharpe says of the building, where he shares a two-bedroom with his wife and their three-year-old twin daughters. “There’s a concierge, a doorman, a fitness center, a spa — it’s like living in a hotel.”
Built by SJP Properties, the 47-story, 450-unit high-rise began leasing in September and opened to residents in November, but the story behind the development — which, when complete, will include another 47-story, 450-unit rental tower as well as a 2-acre public park — stretches back decades.
Most recently, Town and Country Developers acquired the site in 2005 with plans for another mixed-used project named Centuria. That project, though, never managed to get off the ground — a casualty of the 2008 recession.
After that last failure, the city went back to the drawing board, issuing a request for developer proposals for the site. In 2012, it approved SJP’s plans for The Modern. It also approved plans from Tucker Development for a complex on the site’s other 8 acres. Named Hudson Lights, that development — which Tucker is undertaking in partnership with KRE Group — will feature 478 rental apartments, a 175-room hotel and roughly 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Compared to Garden State development hot spots like Jersey City, Fort Lee is a well-established community with relatively little open land for building, notes Adrienne Albert, CEO of real estate firm The Marketing Directors, which represents The Modern and Hudson Lights.