LOOK INSIDE FORT LEE'S TOWERING NEW LUXURY APARTMENT BUILDING.
Victor Cividini, senior vice president for SJP Properties, focuses on two things when he gives tours of the Modern, the 47-foot glass tower casting its shadow on the George Washington Bridge.
The first is views. At night, if games are going, you can see the lights from both MetLife Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
While it may not be the tallest building in the state, Cividini believes the Modern's foundation, on the 300-foot-tall Palisades Cliffs, makes it the highest. The second is amenities. The Modern recently hosted a Super Bowl party for residents in a first-floor lounge with two big-screen TVs, surround sound and a dining area. There's an Internet lounge with another TV, a conference table and and a plethora of USB and electrical outlets. Residents can send documents to two wi-fi enabled printers from anywhere in the building.
"We're trying to create a soul for this building." There's a video game room, a movie theater a golf simulator, a spa, a covered dog run, a pet wash, a bike room and a gym. And while it was covered in snow when Cividini gave a tour Tuesday, outside there's a pool, a basketball court and a grassy area with another giant screen (on Tuesday playing "Gravity" to an audience of no one).
"We're trying to create a soul for this building," Cividini said. "It's one thing to have bricks and mortar, but it's another to have the residents interact and creally create a life in the building."
The Modern has filled a quarter of its 450 apartments since leasing started in October. Monthly rents start from $1,925 for studios up to $7,300 for the three-bedroom penthouses on the 47th floor--luxury prices for sure, but low enough to lure New Yorkers looking for more space, Cividini said. Residents can take a free shuttle from the apartment to George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal.
"All they're paying for is the subway ride," Cividini said.
From the 47th floor, one can see the activity on the ground below. A second tower will start to rise in the next year, and Hudson Lights, a residential and retail project, is already under construction on a lot that sat fallow for more than 40 years.
The history of the the 16-acre lot has been marked with stops and starts, including a mob attempt to bribe former mayor Burt Ross to approve a plan for the site. Long considered one of the most valuable undeveloped properties in the state, it was a boondoggle long before Xanadu.A tour of the Modern in Fort Lee The Modern in Fort Lee. (Myles Ma | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
"It was just very, very big and very, very expensive, and the bigger the property and the more challenging the property and the more expensive the property, your pool of qualified developers shrinks," Mayor Mark Sokolich said.
The latest attempt to develop the property succeeded in part because Fort Lee required prospective developers to subdivide the property into two more manageable 8-acre parcels, Sokolich said.
The next challenge will be to prepare the borough for the coming influx of new residents. Fort Lee and traffic problems are now probably synonymous, but Sokolich said that was no reason not to develop.
The borough is a conduit for thousands of commuters looking to the George Washington Bridge. Development in Fort Lee won't change that, he said. In anticipation of the new developments, Fort Lee has realigned its streets and plans to install an adaptive traffic signal system, similar to that in use on Route 17. "If we develop in a smart way and we put in the appropriate safeguards we'll be fine," he said.