Neighborhood News & Beacon Events

Builder touts lease-up of Jersey City redevelopment project


The high-end residential complex in Jersey City known as The Beacon has leased up its sixth and final apartment building, marking the completion of a distinctive, ambitious project that saw developers readapt a sprawling early 20th-century hospital.

The developer of the property, Building and Land Technology, announced the milestone Wednesday, six months after delivering the 241-unit building known as The Hague. The site is now 95 percent leased across its 1,155 rental units, meaning the property is stabilized after a massive historic preservation and renovation effort.

That process goes back more than a decade, when a developer George Filopoulos acquired the former Jersey City Medical Center and began to repurpose it as condominiums. But the 1.5 million-square-foot project was stalled by the economic downturn after just two buildings were converted, causing the firm to sell the remaining six buildings to Building and Land Technology.

On Wednesday, an executive with the Stamford, Connecticut-based firm said it “has been gratifying to play a role in bringing this incredible property back to life” over the last four years.

Jersey City first responders cook off for the title of top chef


About a dozen police officers, firefighters, and EMTs cooked up their best dishes Sunday afternoon with their sights set on being named the top chef among the city’s first responders.

The inaugural First Responders Charity Cookoff was held at the Beacon to benefit the Jersey City Firefighters Distress Fund, the Police Unity Tour and the Code Green Campaign.

Cake Boss Buddy Valastro and New Jersey Devils legend Ken Daneyko were among the celebrity judges who helped taste and judge the first responders’ dishes.

Jersey City Police Officer Mariela Nieves took home two of the top five prizes — the People’s Choice Award and the Cake Boss Award — for her Spanish pork and rice dish. The 11-year veteran and South District officer said she’s looking forward to competing again next year.

“I love things like this,” Nieves said of the event. “You get to talk to the people of the community.”

Jersey City Medical Center EMTs Ernie Rios and Ray Krajovics placed second in the People’s Choice category for their butternut squash pasta with brown butter sauce and grape tomatoes.

First responders charity cook-off set for Sunday in Jersey City


The friendly rivalry between police and fire departments will reach new heights Sunday when Jersey City hosts its inaugural First Responders Charity Cook-off.

The event will be held at The Beacon, 20 Beacon Way in Jersey City, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jersey City police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians will be on hand, and many of them will be cooking up their favorite dishes hoping to win the favor of the crowd.

Those who purchase tickets will be able to vote for their favorite dishes and a special panel of celebrity judges will also help choose winners in various categories. The celebrity panel includes New Jersey Devils legend Ken Daneyko, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, and “Goodfellas/A Bronx Tale” actor Joey D’Onofrio, among others.

The Beacon Jersey City honored with two historic preservation awards


The New Jersey Historic Preservation Office presented Building and Land Technology (BLT) with historic preservation awards for its successful restoration of two 20th-century Art Deco buildings in Jersey City, which have been transformed into luxury multifamily apartments.

The recently completed Criterion and Hague apartment buildings, which are located within The Beacon complex, were recognized during the 26th annual New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards ceremony. The awards honor projects, groups and individuals dedicated to preserving the state’s architectural, archaeological and cultural history. The completion of these properties fulfills BLT’s ambitious effort to thoroughly restore a collection of iconic architectural gems and transform them into a vibrant, urban residential community. Listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, The Beacon’s architecturally significant buildings have been re-purposed as a modern living experience, which today is home to more than 2,000 residents, 1,155 apartments and many amenities.

Today’s renters say ‘More amenities, please’


Yoga classes, spas, organic gardens, billiard rooms, rooftop terraces, indoor pools, concierge service. And, of course, Wi-Fi, everywhere, all the time. These are among the popular and appealing amenities spreading through New Jersey’s rental properties. Gone are the days when a few tread-mills in a dark basement room or onsite laundry facilities qualified as amenities. In today’s luxury rental market, the amenities are so rich and varied that they often become the deciding factor for discriminating renters.

In fact, the NMHC/Kingsley Associates 2015 Apartment Resident Preferences Survey showed that 94 percent of respondents said their top housing priority was high-speed Internet, beating out runner-ups, such as walk-in closets and a patio or balcony. Some common themes emerge when viewing the landscape of amenities — convenience, relaxation, fitness and connectivity.

“Today’s renters have two burgeoning demographic sectors: millennials who have never owned homes and the baby boomers who once owned, sold and now choose to rent,” said Kristina Hedden, vice president of marketing for BNE Real Estate Group, developer of The Waverly, a luxury rental community in Neptune. “While the needs and financial wherewithal of these two groups may differ, what draws them is the same: maintenance-free living with amenities and services that enhance their lifestyles.”