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Megan Apostol

DMR-designed Grande at Metropark Welcomes First Residents

DMR-designed Grande at Metropark Welcomes First Residents 789 444 DMR Architects

Residents have starting moving into the first phase of the 355-unit, DMR-designed The Grande at Metropark, and when completed, its units will bring the firm’s portfolio to 3,000 rental and condo units in more than 20 communities in New Jersey.

Developer SAMTD Acquisitions Woodbridge Urban Renewal LLC retained DMR in 2016 for the four-building community of one- and two-bedroom units and two-story loft-style units with mezzanines.  The plans also include 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

“Woodbridge’s position at the nexus of great shopping, major automotive arteries and public transportation makes it a very appealing place to live, with the number of people wanting to live there outpacing the residential housing options,” Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner and Director of Design, said. “The Grande at Metropark expands the number of homes to choose from while offering a modern luxury rental option that was not previously available in this market.”

DMR’s design incorporated luxury amenities including a club room and movie theater for all buildings to use, family dining rooms with warming kitchenettes for party rentals, and fitness centers in each building.  Outdoor spaces throughout the property include a pool, gazebos and outdoor seating areas, as well as a roof top terrace with landscaping, barbeque grills and fire pits.  Pet-friendly options include a dog run and dog washing stations at each of the buildings.

Hackensack Redevelopment Summit Celebrates Milestones and Sets Vision for its Future

Hackensack Redevelopment Summit Celebrates Milestones and Sets Vision for its Future 789 444 DMR Architects

Elected Officials and leaders from the public and private sectors including Hackensack’s Mayor John P. LaBrosse, Jr., Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino and representatives from Hekemian & Company Inc., Russo Development, HornRock Properties, Claremont Companies, Heritage Capital, Waypoint Residential, Lighthouse Living, and DMR Architects celebrated Hackensack’s revitalization accomplishments and set a vision for its future at the recent Hackensack Redevelopment Summit.

At the event, hosted by the City of Hackensack and the Performing Arts Center, developers were invited to continue to fulfill the vision outlined in the City of Hackensack’s Downtown Rehabilitation Plan, which includes improvements to transportation alternatives, parks and open spaces, retail, restaurants and biosciences.

“The success of the City’s revitalization efforts is based on the public and private sector’s ability to work together to create a vibrant mixed-use downtown,” Francis Reiner, partner with DMR Architects and Redevelopment Consultant for the City of Hackensack, stated.  “This was an opportunity for the City, and its partners to set new goals and a vision for the next eight to 10 years.”

The transformation of the City of Hackensack, which began in 2012 with the conversion of an underutilized parking lot into the Atlantic Street Park and the construction of adjacent Performing Arts Center, has advanced to include more than 20 redevelopment plans with more than 3,000 residential units with an estimated half billion dollars of private investments within and surrounding the downtown.

The City continues to implement its visions with the conversion of Main Street back to two way, which is set to be completed by the end of summer 2019.  These improvements will include new streetscape to go along with opening of several mixed-use projects on Main Street.

“The ideas that were set forth at the Summit by the City and the developers will help shape the future for the City,” Reiner stated.

Projects like Heritage Capitals conversion of the former Bank of America Building, Russo Developments redevelopment of the former Record Site, HornRock/Russo’s redevelopment of Lot C adjacent to Foschini Park, as well as Claremont Companiesand Waypoint Residentials projects on Main Street represent the next group of developments that are under construction to offer downtown living within the City.


DMR Redesigns School Spaces to take preK-12 Education into 21st Century

DMR Redesigns School Spaces to take preK-12 Education into 21st Century 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR’s extensive K-12 roster includes new, redesigned and repurposed educational spaces in four districts in three counties, all set to open for the new school year.

The projects located in Hudson, Passaic and Hunterdon counties include:

Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, Secaucus

Classes will begin in September at the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus in Secaucus, the new, 340,000 square foot school completed on behalf of the Hudson County Schools of Technology. DMR served as the architect of record on the project which replaces the undersized and aging space the school previously occupied in North Bergen. The advanced facility will provide progressive educational spaces in support of the career-prep curriculum of the school’s four academies: Culinary Arts, Design & Fabrication, Applied & Environmental Science, and Visual/Tech & Performing Arts.

The college-level facilities will also include geo-thermal heating and cooling, solar panels, wind-generated turbines and a green roof. The project will be submitted for LEED Gold certification.

North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District & Hunterdon County Vocational School District, Allendale and Glen Gardner

As architect of record to the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, which includes North Hunterdon High School in Allendale and Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, DMR completed several projects which will provide new spaces for students, including a new team room and a new gymnasium at North Hunterdon High School.

Another project, completed on behalf of the Hunterdon County Vocational School District but housed within Voorhees High School, will provide a modernized computer science lab.

The space will accommodate a new program offered by the Computer Science and Applied Engineering Academy of the Vocational School District, which offers college credits through Fairleigh Dickinson University. To accommodate this program, DMR transformed a former office into a flexible learning environment which also includes a makerspace, a collaborative work area adjacent to the main classroom which is dedicated to hands-on educational opportunities. The makerspace will support the curriculum of the program which focuses on modern computing and robotics, and requires student to build a small, functioning robot.

“New Jersey’s school systems have always been one of the State’s top selling points,” Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO, said.  “When municipalities and counties invest in their education facilities, they are contributing to New Jersey’s future growth.”

Passaic Public School System, Passaic

In response to a district-wide grade restructuring, DMR-designed spaces are also set to open within the Passaic Public School District.

At Public School #20, which previously housed only grades K-5, will also welcome students in grades 6-8 in September. In response to the expanded needs required by a middle school educational program, DMR redesigned an existing utilities storage room to accommodate a music classroom, while also redesigning and expanding the gymnasium space.

DMR also renovated classrooms at Holy Rosary School to provide additional educational space while the district completes new construction projects. The space will reopen in September as an annex to Public School #8.

“In modernizing so many schools, we are seeing improvements extend far beyond physical appearance and are instead really improving the educational experience of the students,” Lloyd Rosenberg continued, “We are often seeing this through prioritized subjects and enhanced spaces that may have previously been overlooked due to budget constraints, such as music and physical education.”

DMR Supports SB One Bank Rebranding with Interior Design of its Weehawken Location

DMR Supports SB One Bank Rebranding with Interior Design of its Weehawken Location 150 150 DMR Architects

SB One Bank recently retained DMR to design their new banking center in Weehawken, the bank’s 14th New Jersey location. The banking center is located within The Avenue Collection luxury condominium complex at Port Imperial, and when complete, will be the first new location to open since the bank formerly known as Sussex Bank rebranded in early 2018.

DMR was commissioned to design the banking center, which will serve as a prototype design for future banking center renovations. The design supports the bank’s focus on providing a private, intimate experience for employees and customers to collaborate on higher-level needs, a break from a more traditional banking interactions which often are more transactional and impersonal, and where customers and bankers are frequently physically separated by counters or desks, and in some cases, windows.

“While online banking can address many customers’ needs, financial investment and saving is still a very personal matter,” Vito Giannola, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer for SB One, said.  “DMR created a welcoming environment where our team members can create on-on-one relationships with clients and customize their banking needs.”

“While many might think that customers are turning away from physical banking center locations, recent research into customer preferences actually found that despite the impact of technological advances, customers still value and desire human interactions when dealing with higher-level concerns. This, coupled with security concerns, is leading to a trend in people returning to the banks,” Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO, said.  “The SB One Weehawken banking center renovation is a prototype space that supports an experience that customers can’t get online or in other banking institutions.”

Six Factors to Consider When Making Healthcare Build/Retrofit Decisions

Six Factors to Consider When Making Healthcare Build/Retrofit Decisions 960 540 DMR Architects

Finance leaders in the healthcare sector should be aware that the actual budget for adding to an existing building can far exceed the contractor’s bid once additional costs are added.

by Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, President & CEO

Many hospital administrators find themselves contemplating if they should build on campus or retrofit or move physicians into new spaces in response to the many changes in healthcare today, including hospital mergers and expansions, technology implementations, value-based care, and changing patient demographics and needs.

That decision involves many factors, from obvious issues such as cost to more obscure considerations such as hospitals’ and health systems’ reach in their communities. Here are six areas hospital leaders should consider when deciding how to expand their facilities.


The architect should provide examples of costs for similar facilities so that hospital leaders can consider all costs, not just the price per square foot for construction.

The actual budget for adding to an existing building can far exceed the contractor’s bid once additional costs are added, including permits, new heating and cooling systems to accommodate the extra space, and other costs associated with construction. Hospital leaders should talk with all the experts—the contractor, architect, electrician, lawyer—to determine what other costs are involved and what items might not be part of the bid.

The architect may not be able to provide a standard check list, because every project comes with its own unique challenges, but hospital leaders should expect that the assigned team of architects has experience on similar projects.


Many hospitals are feeling the need to compete for patients throughout the state, making reach into other counties a necessity. For example, Hunterdon Healthcare’s main hospital is in Flemington, N.J., Hunterdon County, but hospital leaders were interested in expanding the health system’s services into neighboring Somerset County. They recently opened a renovated 55,000 square foot, three-story building that provides the services of Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates, Hunterdon Heart and Vascular Center of Bridgewater, Hunterdon Urological Associates, Hunterdon Healthcare Center for Endocrine Health, and Hunterdon Healthcare Physical and Occupational Therapy.  The result is convenience for current and new patients who live in Somerset County needing services and treatments closer to home.


With many procedures that once required overnight stays now being done on an outpatient basis, some hospitals have surplus space that can be repurposed.

One example is St. Peters Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., which recently refurbished its dialysis lab into admissions, financial advising, and phlebotomy. The relocation and consolidation of these three departments next to the main lobby offers convenience for patients because they typically access those services at the beginning of their hospital stay. In addition, the change allowed for more space and patient privacy, adding to patient satisfaction.

Similarly, new technologies often take up less space, giving hospitals room to reorganize. Even the equipment that was designed around a few years ago has become obsolete. For example, after 15 years, Robert Wood Johnson Health System redesigned a project to accommodate newer, updated technologies.

Interconnectivity of Practices

New construction or retrofit decisions should also include consideration of which practices and administrative services should be together, and which might function more effectively away from the rest of the main building. Placing administrative staff who work directly with patients in the same building as the practices they serve offer convenience and efficiency to patients and staff.

Similarly, providing space for complementary practices, such as housing physical therapy and neurology staff with orthopedists in the same facility, makes it easier for patients to get to their appointments and for physicians to work together to handle patients’ health needs holistically.

Robert Wood Johnson recently redesigned the 3,500 square foot first floor of its Somerset Street medical office building in New Brunswick, N.J., in order to better serve patients by relocating the obstetrics/gynecology and orthopedics offices from the main hospital. Since these services are done on an out-patient basis only, giving them their own space removed the need for patients to find parking and walk through the main building for short visits.  The new facility will include a reception and waiting area for patients, five exam rooms, an X-ray room, and physicians’ and staff offices.

Relationship with Community

Because of increasing life spans, more people are in need of geriatric care, bringing medical practitioners and caretakers out of the hospital and office environment and into the communities. Off-campus space can play an important role in a hospital’s commitment to continue to be part of the healthcare team for this demographic.

These spaces are often off-site and can be in different counties and regions, adding new buildings and staff to the budget.

Transportation and Parking

Once a hospital decides that it is time to expand off-campus, location, as with any real estate decision, is the most important feature of a building. The architect and planner are great resources to help hospital leaders find a location that patients — current and new — can get to easily, either on their own or via public transportation.

This article originally appeared in the Healthcare Financial Management Association Strategic Financial Planning newsletter.