Maids, Spas and Sweeping Views
HIGH STYLE Rendering of the W Hotel planned for Hoboken.
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By ANTOINETTE MARTIN
Published: November 5, 2006
WHILE virtually all signs point to a housing market gone limp, sales at two opulent projects in Hoboken and Jersey City indicate that there is still vibrancy at the very high end
At the 55-story Trump Plaza condominium tower rising in Jersey City, more than 100 of 445 units priced from $425,000 to more than $2 million were sold in the first 10 days. At the W Hotel under construction beside the Hudson River in Hoboken, 22 of 36 condos offered at prices from $775,000 to $4.5 million were sold in three weeks.
The Trump building, the first of two planned towers that will be the tallest residential structures in New Jersey, has only dirt, foundation, scaffolding and cranes right now at its site at Washington and Bay Streets, a block from the Exchange Place PATH station. The W, which will be the first of its brand in New Jersey, currently has a similar look at its site on River Street in Hoboken.
Nevertheless, both projects have sales offices near their construction sites, with scale models, streaming video, detailed floor plans and mockups of finished rooms.
At Trump’s lavish sales office on the 13th floor of an office building on Montgomery Street in Jersey City, condo shoppers can get a bird’s-eye view of the construction site and the panoramic view across the river that many tower occupants will enjoy.
The sales office has the same back-lighted onyx walls, Macassar ebony portals and French limestone floors that are planned for the two-story lobby of Trump Plaza, as well as kitchen, bath and room models in the two interior styles that will be offered — one more “glamorous,” the other more “contemporary,” according to the sales agents.
The amenity package includes maid service, valets, porters and the use of Zipcars — Mercedes Benzes available for hourly rent. In addition, 41,000 square feet of “lifestyle attractions” have been built into the project, including a Roman-style spa, a golf-game simulator, a children’s playroom, an outdoor pool, a rooftop green-space and a landscaped plaza.
One-, two- and three-bedroom units at Trump Plaza will range from 750 to 2,050 square feet.
A majority of the condos — about 300 — will be one-bedroom units, according to Dean S. Geibel, managing partner of Metro Homes, a partner in the project. All of the one-bedroom units at the W in Hoboken were quickly sold, leaving the larger units, priced at $1.85 million and up.
Mr. Geibel’s company, based in Hoboken, originally proposed the two-tower project in Jersey City and sometime later joined with Trump to build it.
“We determined there is a strong market for young professionals, especially those working in Jersey City’s ‘Wall Street West’ and the Wall Street across the river, who want the Trump lifestyle of on-the-go urbanity,” Mr. Geibel said. Many of the amenities are pitched directly to such a buyer, he noted — the ultra-modern stainless-steel washer-dryer unit tucked under the kitchen sink, for example.
Mr. Geibel acknowledged that the common charge was higher than at other waterfront properties — $560 to $611 for one-bedroom units, $811 to $1,050 for two-bedrooms, and more for three-bedroom top-floor units — but added that this was because the amenity package was “unprecedented” in New Jersey.
He said the strong pace of initial sales justified the decision to build so many units at a time when inventory had swollen and prices had begun to drop across the state and nation. “The Wall Street economy is bullish,” with the Dow Jones industrial average recently setting record highs, Mr. Geibel said.
“Plus, when you are offering a world-class building with outstanding views, the highest-quality service and unbelievable amenities — all with the Trump name on it — buyers are going to show up,” he said. “We didn’t really have any doubt.”
At the Hoboken W, the one-, two- and three-bedroom condos on the top nine floors of the 225-room hotel and the two 26th-floor penthouse units with four bedrooms are all higher than neighboring buildings in the Waterfront Corporate Center, giving them unobstructed views from floor-to-ceiling windows and from balconies.
The glass-and-zinc-faced tower was designed inside and out by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates, an architecture firm in Manhattan known for innovative modernist style that will stand out amid Hoboken’s traditional squat brick structures, according to the builders, the Applied Development Company of Hoboken.
“This is going to be so different and special for Hoboken that some people have been waiting anxiously to buy homes ever since word got out a couple of years ago that we were going to build it,” said Michael Barry, a principal at Applied Development.
Home buyers at the W will have access to the hotel’s planned high-end restaurant, the Living Room lounge and bar area with a view of the Manhattan skyline, the Bliss Spa, 24-hour room service and the chain’s concierge service, which is dedicated to fulfilling whims.
“You can call downstairs and say you’d like to arrange a four-course dinner for a party of 12 in three hours, and have it done,” Mr. Barry said. “You can be seized with the desire for Beluga caviar and Champagne at midnight, and the staff will scurry around and find just what you want.”
Condo residents can also pay extra for daily housekeeping and laundry service, pet walking and grooming, houseplant maintenance, in-home spa service and so on, Mr. Barry said.
The condo units feature 10-foot ceilings — as do those in the Trump building — and bamboo floors, granite floors and counters in the kitchens, built-in wine coolers, and soaker tubs and glass-tile walls in the baths.
The W condos will be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2008, according to Mr. Barry, and the Trump Plaza building is slated to open in late 2007, Mr. Geibel said. Construction of the second Trump tower, which will be 50 stories, will begin once a large percentage of units in the first tower have been sold, Mr. Geibel added.