Hanover’s River Park Town Center to Transform 88 Acres into Municipality’s First Walkable Downtown District

Hanover’s River Park Town Center to Transform 88 Acres into Municipality’s First Walkable Downtown District 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, Redevelopment Consultant and Partner for DMR Architects.  “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.

Making Work From Home…Work

Making Work From Home…Work 960 540 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 in NJBIZ Conversations

Kurt Vierheilig Talks Pandemic Related Residential Shifts in NJBIZ Conversations 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 and 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.

Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA Honored with 2019 NJBIZ ICON Award

Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA Honored with 2019 NJBIZ ICON Award 789 444 DMR Architects

We are excited to share that our President & CEO, Lloyd Rosenberg, was among the honorees this week at the 2019 ICON Awards presented by NJBiz.

Lloyd is the driving force behind the phenomenal growth and success of DMR Architects, a firm with New Jersey roots, strong relationships with the business community and a passion for advancing the facilities and communities where we live. Lloyd founded the firm in 1991, and continues to lead the firm today as President & CEO.

When Lloyd founded DMR Architects, it was a three-person operation with no office, no staff and no clients. Originally committed to designing exclusively educational facilities, over the years, Lloyd steadily added expert talent and responsibly diversified the firm’s capabilities, resulting in a firm today that employs a staff of 40, consistently ranks among the top architectural firms in the state, provides a diverse range of services and completes an average of 100 projects a year across all market sectors. For its entire history, DMR has called northern New Jersey home, with all employees working from the office’s sole northern New Jersey location and the majority of the firm’s projects being located within the state.

Lloyd was a leading architect who enjoyed a more than 25-year, award-winning career with plenty of professional highlights prior to the founding of DMR. The physical environment of his professional work ranged from projects close to home to around the globe.

Despite a storied career prior to the firm’s founding, Lloyd’s greatest career accomplishments have come during the last 28 years, where he has grown DMR Architects into the team it is today, a thriving professional service firm that employs a uniquely qualified staff; architecturally serves all market sectors; and has also positioned itself as a leader in pioneering redevelopment planning and sophisticated sustainable design services. As part of a strategic and responsible diversification program, today the DMR team also includes professionals with backgrounds in economic development and community outreach, municipal government, real estate, project finance, engineering, and land use, as well as in-house general counsel, positioning the firm as a team that provides unparalleled services to its clients.

Lloyd has played a role in overseeing thousands of design and construction projects while leading DMR, a volume of work that represents hundreds of millions of dollars in construction. Among these projects are many that have had a great impact on the landscape of New Jersey, including the State’s first nature museum; the first school for the blind and the first LEED certified public school; Bergen County’s first brewery; the rail station that first brought train service to the Meadowlands; and the new Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, the $150 million vocational/technical high school in Hudson County, one of the most technologically-advanced schools in the country. The thousands of other projects completed under Lloyd’s direction include sophisticated healthcare facilities, elementary schools, luxury lofts, downtown master plans, police stations, parks, modern offices, academic facilities, sports complexes, renovations to an elementary school forced to close following Superstorm Sandy and construction oversight of the much-anticipated American Dream project.

Lloyd is involved and hands-on, with an everyday presence and involvement in the functions of the firm. He is a supportive leader dedicated to the professional growth of employees, empowering them to take on new responsibilities, expand their capabilities and immerse themselves in the business community, without fear of failure.

DMR Celebrates Opening of SB One Banking Center in Weehawken

DMR Celebrates Opening of SB One Banking Center in Weehawken 789 444 DMR Architects

On July 27 DMR joined SB One Bank, clients and the local community to celebrate the bank’s 14th New Jersey location and first banking center in Hudson County at The Avenue Collection luxury condominium complex at Port Imperial in Weehawken.

Following the bank’s rebranding in 2018, SB One Bank (formerly Sussex Bank) hired DMR to create the physical manifestation of SB One’s mission to provide a more personal banking experience without the separation by counters, desks and glass windows that are seen in more traditional banking layouts.

The new concept starts with an airy palette and includes half-moon booths in high end finishes to provide a luxury retail experience in a private and comfortable environment for customers providing personal information. The layout located the conference room at the corner of The Avenue at Port Imperial and City View Drive for meeting participants to enjoy SB One Bank’s view of the waterfront and New York City skyline.

“At SB One Bank, we understand that each customer’s needs are not only unique but they require a personal touch,” Vito Giannola, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer for SB One Bank, said. “This branch design allows us to embrace technology and integrate personalized service.”

Charles Sarlo set to join ExploreNJ event

Charles Sarlo set to join ExploreNJ event 150 150 DMR Architects

DMR is proud to announce that Charles H. Sarlo, Esq. is set to join a panel at this week’s ExploreNJ, a special event designed to attract foreign investors to the state. More than 30 foreign entities looking to expand operations in the United States are expected to attend.

Co-sponsored by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey and Choose New Jersey, the two-day event will take place on Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14. Events on Thursday will be focused on finance and commerce and will take place at New Jersey City University’s School of Business in Jersey City. Friday’s events, which will focus on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, will be hosted at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

Charles is set to join the “Real Estate: Finding the Right Location” panel during Thursday’s finance and commerce portion. A 30-year veteran in New Jersey’s corporate and real estate landscpe, he brings a unique perspective and professional background to the panel.

ExploreNJ is a spin-off event of the annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, an event hosted by the United States Department of Commerce that is already underway this week in Washington D.C. Other spinoff events are being hosted in dozens of locations across the country by local economic development organizations.

Former Annin Flag Factory Transformed into new Standard for Verona Luxury Apartment Living

Former Annin Flag Factory Transformed into new Standard for Verona Luxury Apartment Living 789 444 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.

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.