DMR Architects’ multi-family designers have delivered thousands of units across New Jersey.

34 Eden River Park exterior.

DMR-Designed 34 Eden River Park Offers Renters Luxury, Nature and Proximity to Commerce

DMR-Designed 34 Eden River Park Offers Renters Luxury, Nature and Proximity to Commerce 789 444 DMR Architects

Robust leasing activity at 34 Eden River Park in the Whippany section of Hanover is an indication that DMR Architects’ design for the 81-unit boutique rental community has hit the right chord in a housing market that mostly consists of larger single-family homes.

DMR planned the community’s one-, two- and three-bedroom as well as one- and two-bedroom plus den units to be some of the most spacious available in Morris County and appointed them with high-end finishes and appliance packages complemented with large windows to take in the community’s natural surroundings.

“As the latest new residential rental product available in Morris County, it was important for it to stand out through its amenities package that includes spacious interior common areas, along with the luxurious outdoor communal plaza spaces,” said Kurt Vierheilig.  “Today’s rentals need to be designed as immersive experiences that feel like a vacation getaway. The location is close to amazing restaurants, work, and shopping, a critical benefit.”

34 Eden River Park’s opulent gathering spaces that include a lobby level residents lounge and clubroom, an outdoor lounge with sundeck, pergola, water feature and fireplace are complemented by an outdoor pool with hot tub and a 1,000 SF, state-of-the-art fitness center.

34 Eden River Park connects directly to Route 10 and 287/80 making it convenient to travel via car or public transportation.

34 Eden River Park is the latest DMR multi-family project to open, following The Vale earlier this month and The Residences at Upper Saddle River and the Ted R. Green Senior Residences in 2023. The Mural in Orange, NJ is expected to open later in 2024.

The exterior of the Ted R. Green Senior Residences, near the entrance to the East Orange Housing Authority's offices which are located inside the building.

DMR Takes Unique Approaches to Affordable Housing

DMR Takes Unique Approaches to Affordable Housing 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR has worked within numerous municipalities in New Jersey to design affordable housing solutions that become points of pride, including two projects that have recently opened: one with the East Orange Housing Authority and its partners and another in Upper Saddle River for the Bergen County Housing Development Corporation.

At the Ted R. Green Senior Residences in East Orange, DMR worked with the East Orange Housing Authority, Genesis Companies and The Metro Company to construct a 60-unit, 61,000 SF facility, with 15 units set-aside and marketed to homeless persons, in addition to 8,000 SF of administrative offices and indoor and outdoor community space.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to affordable housing or for inviting senior residents to age in place,” said Fernando Robledo, AIA. “In this case, we created an attractive and engaging facility that also addresses this population’s need for special services.”

The project, constructed on an assemblage of four parcels, was constructed in one of New Jersey’s most populated areas. The process required acquiring adjacent properties and determining what type of program – new construction, renovation or additions – would best serve the needs of the community.

It’s the second DMR-designed affordable housing project to open in one month, following the ribbon cutting of The Residences at Upper Saddle River in May.

“The affordable housing obligation is not to the state, but to the residents in each community, those who want to remain local, age in place or have other special needs,” said Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “Our projects respond to this commitment in a way that reflects each community, the architecture around them and welcomes the residents who will live there.”

The Residences at Upper Saddle River is a 70-unit residential community for senior citizens and special needs households situated on an eight-acre site, adjacent to undisturbed wetlands. The design prioritizes gathering and interaction that draws on the features of the site.

DMR’s multi-family experience also includes another ongoing affordable housing project in Middletown.

River Park Town Center to Transform 88 Acres into First Walkable Downtown

River Park Town Center to Transform 88 Acres into First Walkable Downtown 789 444 DMR Architects

Construction has begun on the first phase to transform 88 acres in the Whippany area of Hanover Township into the DMR Architects-designed River Park Town Center, a downtown destination featuring 967 residential units, 80,000 SF of retail, two 125-room extended stay hotels, an outdoor amphitheater, and the completion of the Patriot Trail along the Whippany River. The first phase includes the construction of building one of eleven, and will offer 81 residential units, a pool, a fitness center and community amenities.

DMR’s plans for the first town center in Hanover Township’s 220+ year history will completely transform the way that people and businesses interface with the area that is currently largely populated by corporate office campuses.

“The creative challenge in Hanover was to design something that served a lot of functions that are completely new here while still preserving the community character and existing physical and natural landscaping,” said Francis Reiner, PP, LLA.  “This is a great example of pro-active municipal planning and placemaking and the successful collaboration of a municipality, developer, planners and architects. This project will promote smart growth with elements that will appeal to residents, shoppers, employers and their staffs.”

When completed, River Park Town Center will also feature more than 20 acres of public recreation space including an amphitheater and park, generous convocation areas for community engagement, and deck, curbside and surface lot parking options. More than 40% of the land will be left in its natural state.

DMR and Genesis Join Celebrate Together Again

DMR and Genesis Join Celebrate Together Again 789 444 DMR Architects

Just a few days after celebrating the groundbreaking of 60 affordable housing units at the new East Orange Senior Residences, DMR again joined Genesis Companies in celebration, this time to mark the completion of 180 units at Vista Village, also located in East Orange.

Developed by Genesis Companies in partnership with the East Orange Housing Authority, Vista Village is a 180-unit, 100 percent affordable residential building dedicated to seniors and adults with disabilities.

DMR designed the renovations to the building at 70 South Burnet Street. The 9-story former public housing development was approved for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, under which all residential units in the project will be subsidized through the Project-Based Section 8 program. The government- funded program provides rental housing to low-income households in privately-owned and managed rental units.  Renovations to the building encompassed system updates, kitchen and bathroom renovations, new windows and flooring, among other capital improvements.

“Across the tri-state region affordability remains a critical issue, particularly with residents who require additional services and support. This public-private partnership provides a framework for future developments,” said Karim Hutson, Founder and Managing Partner at Genesis Companies. “We are proud that this maintains the long-term affordability of the Vista Village Apartments and furthers our mission of keeping urban communities accessible for everyone, including New Jersey’s senior and adults with disabilities populations.”

The exterior of the 30 Court residential development in Morristown shows that the building was constructed on a steep, 60 foot grade change.

With Opening of Expansive Courtyard, 30 Court is Complete

With Opening of Expansive Courtyard, 30 Court is Complete 789 444 DMR Architects

The DMR-designed 30 Court is complete. The building, which began welcoming residents at the end of 2020, recently unveiled the private courtyard, the final element of the luxury development, located in the heart of downtown Morristown, NJ.

The 58-unit project is a four-story building, with two partially underground levels of parking below. The units are comprised of two-bedroom and two-bedroom plus den units, each offering generous square footages.

The 3,700 SF outdoor courtyard, one of the largest offered locally, provides shaded seating and dining areas, firepits, pergolas, an outdoor kitchen area and a water feature.

Upscale features and amenities inside the building include 9’ ceilings, full and Juliette balconies, a club room and a fitness center.

PCD Development of New Providence, NJ, is the developer of 30 Court.

Image source

DMR Joins Genesis Companies in Breaking Ground in East Orange

DMR Joins Genesis Companies in Breaking Ground in East Orange 960 540 DMR Architects

Above: Henry Ossi, third from left and Kurt Vierheilig, fourth from left, of DMR Architects join representatives from Genesis Companies, The Metro Company and the City of East Orange, including Mayor Ted R. Green, at the groundbreaking of the East Orange Senior Residences on May 11. Photo courtesy of The Metro Company.

On May 11 DMR joined local dignitaries and project stakeholders in celebrating the groundbreaking of the East Orange Senior Residences located on Halsted Street in East Orange, NJ. Developed in partnership with Genesis Companies, the East Orange Housing Authority and The Metro Company, DMR designed the project which will ultimately provide a new, 61,000-square-foot senior supporting housing development.

Addressing a critical need for affordable senior residences, the 60-unit building will be 100% affordable and comprised of 52 one-bedroom and 8 two-bedroom residences, with 15 units set-aside and marketed to homeless persons and several units designed to accommodate the needs of residents with disabilities.

“This redevelopment, part of our ‘Building Homes, Changing Lives’ program, will greatly enhance the quality of life for the property’s residents and provide services that are too often overlooked,” said Wilbert Gill, Executive Director of the East Orange Housing Authority.

“Just as we know there is a critical need for affordable housing in New Jersey, we know that there is an overwhelming desire among adults to age in place, and continue to live in the communities they grew up in” said Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “This project is especially meaningful as we are doing our part to provide a safe and attractive place to call home to many who need it.”

The building also includes 8,000 square feet of administrative offices for the East Orange Housing Authority, 1,755 square feet of indoor community space and 1,400 square feet of outdoor space for the residents.

A residential unit with a portion of the counter used for working from home and the author's photo.

Making Work From Home…Work

Making Work From Home…Work 2560 1450 DMR Architects

By Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Maybe at first it was your kitchen counter. Or your living room with the TV on mute. Or even your bedroom using your bookcase as background for a Zoom Meeting. This is the new normal – working from home during the COVID Pandemic.

Another COVID wave is here. We’re still working from home, still on Zoom calls, still attempting to find the quietest corner of the home to grind out the latest project. After more than eight months – DMR Architects is learning how to adapt. Not only how to modify your current space – but how to plan and build for a future where your home IS your workplace.

It’s a difficult task. Half of the developers DMR works with expect a return to normal. The other half are planning for a future where we work from home permanently. Either way you look at it, even before 2020—through technology—our workplaces have been folding into our everyday lives; the pandemic was the tipping point that pushed us to where we are today.

As a multi-family apartment designer – DMR Architects is all about flexibility. The big issue everyone has is separating your personal and professional space. For a one-bedroom apartment it is usually a single person or a couple. In these circumstances, distractions can usually be mitigated. For a two bedroom or more, it can be more challenging but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options.

With two bedrooms it probably means there is a child in the home. But that also means you still have two rooms and that gives you the ability to have a little more separation. Build out a nook for your work area. If you do have extra space,  designate a desk for working or home schooling.

In new concepts, DMR has been incorporating a nook in the living space, reconfiguring the floor plan and creating an indented area where you can have a desk, shelf, and space for multiple computer monitors. Incorporating that into the floor plan essentially adds an additional space inside either a one- or two-bedroom apartment.

In the past DMR has incorporated dens into many of our designs. Traditionally those dens are located near the rear of the unit and not optimal for working from home while co-existing with your family. DMR is exploring the possibility of orienting the door differently to let the natural light filter into that space. In some designs DMR is looking at giving priority to the den and moving it towards the front of the unit, allowing for more light since it would be up against the exterior wall. While these concepts are still evolving and DMR is gauging developer feedback, it is a direct response to the demand of a working environment inside a dwelling unit.

That being said, there are other ways to modify your current space to work from home and maintain the public/private aspects of this new normal. You can screen off your work area with bifold or pocket-style doors. This provides the availability of natural light when you’re not working (remember getting your daily exposure to natural light is equally beneficial to how much sleep you get) but also allows you to gain privacy when you’re focused on a work project or on a conference call with colleagues.

One of the more interesting developments that is being discussed is the use of technology – specifically touch-free technology. Apps to call elevators, apps to open doors, automated entrances into the lobby of the buildings, and even hologram interfaces to minimize contact points. Even with best sanitization procedures, residents want the least amount of touch points as possible, especially because these are multifamily dwellings with lots of people coming and going.  The great thing is that this technology already exists, it just needs to be incorporated into the current infrastructure.

DMR is focusing on this new work environment with the emphasis on the improvement on your everyday health, wellbeing, and overall work/life balance. Often a building might be designed with minimum sized windows for light and ventilation according to building codes. At DMR we are exploring how we can maximize that exterior wall to bring in as much light as possible. Along with that – the use of balconies. These balconies become the outdoor space, and in a multi-family project – especially for people under quarantine – we are seeing a resurgence in these spaces along with ground level units with larger patios.

DMR knows that these things contribute to tenants’ wellness with work at home situations becoming the standard. That five-foot by eight-foot piece of real estate outside, access to natural light and flexible spaces all a huge difference in a person’s life – and that’s what our mission is. Making your life better.

Kurt Vierheilig Talks Pandemic Related Residential Shifts

Kurt Vierheilig Talks Pandemic Related Residential Shifts 1644 925 DMR Architects

On the Aug. 31 edition of NJBIZ Conversations, Kurt Vierheilig joined editor Jeffrey Kanige to discuss how today’s largely at home workforce might influence the next evolution of residential design.

As DMR’s lead designer, Kurt has seen DMR’s portfolio of nearly more than 10,000 residential units through design, beginning with projects such as Metropolis Towers, designed in the early 2000s to Annin Lofts, which opened in 2018. During that time has seen the sector take several turns, most recently a largely amenity-focused approach that focused on impressive packages that brought people out of their units and into common areas.

However, today, with an unprecedented number of workers working from home, Kurt discusses how DMR’s commitment to creating functional, comfortable, and accommodating spaces to call home has taken on a new challenge – and offers some insight that might be helpful to those right now particularly eager to improve their home workspace.

Watch the full conversation or read a summary on our blog.

Video Release Celebrates Building 3 Opening at The Grande at Metro Park

Video Release Celebrates Building 3 Opening at The Grande at Metro Park 789 444 DMR Architects
Tonight DMR will join the Township of Woodbridge and developers and residents of The Grande at Metro Park to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Building 3, the third of four buildings at the residential development which will ultimately be a 355-unit rental community. Today we are also celebrating the building’s opening with a video release highlighting a key feature of the development, its expansive amenity package.

Former Annin Flag Factory Is new Standard for Luxury Apartment Living

Former Annin Flag Factory Is new Standard for Luxury Apartment Living 150 150 DMR Architects

The rehabilitation of the former Annin Flag Factory and completion of a new sister building at 151 Bloomfield Avenue into Annin Lofts marks a new standard for luxury rental options in Essex County.

Joint venture partners Russo Development and Dinallo Construction Corporation used the original building’s industrial history and façade as inspiration incorporating exposed brick, beams and duct work, shiplap accents, industrial lighting, high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows into the design of its 52 loft-style apartment homes and common areas.

The 60 apartment homes in the second building complements the first with large windows and expansive floorplans but with finished walls and ceilings for those going for a more traditional vibe.

“Annin Lofts is the only residential rental option in the area that offers homes in a rehabbed historic building and a brand-new build in the same place,” Edward Russo, CEO of Russo Development, said.  “Our design team seamlessly married the vintage industrial vibe with modern conveniences to meet the market’s desire for diverse and unique living spaces.”

“Converting a 100-year old industrial building into modern, diverse living spaces always presents unique challenges,” Donald N. Dinallo, President and CEO of Dinallo Construction Corporation, who built the project, said. “Each apartment home has something special—a private outdoor space, original materials, or an imaginative floorplan—providing a distinctive canvas for residents to make their own once they move in.”

DMR designed the project, which includes a sixth floor penthouse structure to the Annin building to accommodate a large indoor club room and two outdoor entertaining spaces that residents of both buildings can use. The design also included four penthouse homes with wrap-around porches and 180-degree views of the surrounding valley.

The name of the project was chosen to respect the legacy of Annin, the largest and oldest flagmaker in the United States. The Annin Flag Company occupied the property from 1919 to 2013 where it made numerous flags of historical significance including those flown atop Mt. Suribachi during World War II, on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, and during America’s bicentennial celebration in 1976.