residentialprojects

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.

With opening of expansive courtyard, 30 Court development in Morristown is complete

With opening of expansive courtyard, 30 Court development in Morristown 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.

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DMR Joins Genesis Companies and the East Orange Housing Authority in Breaking Ground on Senior Supportive Housing Development

DMR Joins Genesis Companies and the East Orange Housing Authority in Breaking Ground on Senior Supportive Housing Development 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, Director of Design and Partner for DMR Architects. “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.

Real Estate NJ’s 2021 Market Forecast

Real Estate NJ’s 2021 Market Forecast 2000 1125 DMR Architects

(Excerpt)

After a year like no other, New Jersey’s commercial real estate industry is eager to turn the page. But many believe the pandemic’s impact will be felt for months if not years to come.

As always, we’re here to help you make sense of it all with the help of some top developers, service providers and thought leaders. You can find their predictions for the year ahead and more in our special 2021 Market Forecast.

Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, President and CEO

The migration that started before the pandemic will continue through 2021 with renters willing to trade the conveniences of living in Manhattan for the lifestyle, sense of community and luxury amenities packages they can enjoy in urban and suburban markets throughout North Jersey. A tight for-sale market that has driven housing prices up, along with the desire for maintenance-free living, could also speed up the timeframe for empty-nesters looking to downsize. These and other demographics are looking for things like private outdoor add-ons like outdoor cooking and dining, pools and interesting rooftop terraces along with well-appointed apartment homes that have flexible spaces for multiple uses and ample storage, but at a reasonable price point. We’re currently designing rental communities in Woodbridge, Morristown, Edgewater, New Brunswick and Jersey City to fulfill these lifestyle needs while also being near NJ Transit and all of New Jersey’s major road arteries.

(201) 288-2600
lloyd@dmrarchitects.com
777 Terrace Ave., Suite 607
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

 

This is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RE-NJ

Making Work From Home…Work

Making Work From Home…Work 960 540 DMR Architects

by Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Design/Partner

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.

DMR’s Culture of Collegiality and Use of Technology Keep 150 Projects Valued at Nearly $1 Billion in Construction on Track During Pandemic

DMR’s Culture of Collegiality and Use of Technology Keep 150 Projects Valued at Nearly $1 Billion in Construction on Track During Pandemic 789 444 DMR Architects

Despite the challenges we are all facing due to COVID-19, today we are happy to share some good news: nearly all of the 150 projects that make up our nearly $1 billion pipeline have remained actively under development or construction throughout the pandemic.

These projects include significant progress in projects across all sectors. Construction is near completion on The Residences at 30 Court, a luxury apartment building in Morristown and the design of Wyndham Place at Ridgefield Park is underway, bringing our rental unit count to 4,500. The DMR team is also currently working at 80 schools, including renovation projects at 44 facilities in New York City, and new schools in Carteret, Plainfield, and Paterson in New Jersey. Our team also continues to marry functionality and aesthetics at public facilities throughout New Jersey and is currently working on municipal building projects for Monmouth County and the municipalities of Montgomery, Ridgefield, and Red Bank. DMR’s municipal planning team is now working as the municipal planner in Dunellen and Roselle.

“I’m very proud that across all our practice areas we’ve maintained our culture of collaboration despite our staff being physically separated by shelter-in-place directives,” Lloyd Rosenberg, President and CEO, said.  “Each of our team members are trained in the most innovative planning and communication tools available, and take personal pride in each project to ensure that the long-term goals of our clients are met in the same way they would without a quarantine and its complications.”

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 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.

Past (and future) glory: In real estate, older can be better

Past (and future) glory: In real estate, older can be better 789 444 DMR Architects

by Martin Daks

When folks move into Annin Lofts, a 52-unit edifice at 163 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona, the apartments will have that just-built scent, but the building—an Annin Flag factory for 94 years—is anything but new.

The Annin Lofts project keeps historic design features while updating others, such as the addition of energy-efficient windows. – (AARON HOUSTON)

Russo Development and Dinallo Construction Corp. took the nearly century-old structure and updated it for residential use, with move-ins to start this year.

The project is part of a well-established trend: Some 43,000 historic rehabs were completed in the past 40 years, with New Jersey projects representing a $500 million slice of the $90 billion in project outlays, according to a study by Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

“We were attracted by the potential of the Annin structure,” said Ed Russo, CEO of Russo Development and a member of the joint venture D&R Verona. “When you’re away from the waterfront urban areas, you don’t see many 100-year-old, high-ceiling, concrete buildings. The opportunity of constructing loft-style units in a suburban area made it stand out, and the town was in favor of it.”

Ed Russo CEO Russo DevelopmentEd Russo, CEO, Russo Development.

When developers rehabilitate an older structure like the former Annin factory, some apply to the National Park Service for an official historic certification and related federal tax credits. Russo and his joint venture partners decided against that.

“We considered that option, but an outside consultant advised against it,” Russo said. “He said it could be done, but it would be more complicated.”

Even without the official designation, the lure of the building was its historic character—and staying true to it meant the project would be challenging in any event

“Even though we gutted the interior, we still had to run electrical lines and mechanical and other distribution systems through concrete floors, which required more than 600 cuts,” Russo said. “It’s not just a matter of cutting through concrete, because preserving the original design meant that in some cases we couldn’t cut through existing floors, and had to reconfigure and coordinate the apartment layouts.”

There were other issues, like remaining true to the window designs. Factories built in the early 1900s tended to have extra-large windows, 20 feet or longer to let in a lot of natural light; they were replaced with energy-efficient ones.

“We had to design the apartment units to work within the confine of the existing windows,” said Kurt Vierheilig, senior project manager, partner and director of design for DMR Architects, which designed the repurposed structure and a new, matching 60-unit building adjacent to it.

“We were able to keep the feel of the older, larger windows,” Vierheilig said. “If this project had been certified as a historical one, we probably would have had to go even further, like matching the thickness of the original [glass partitions].”

Such painstaking planning adds time and costs to the construction process, but it’s all part of building a desirable property, Russo said.

(AARON HOUSTON)

“Of course, it’s got to be in an area that will support the rent, but a historic building is unique and attracts people across demographics,” he said. “Usually the demand for loft-style construction comes from younger people, but here we’re seeing demand from residents who are downsizing but want stay in Verona. There’s not a lot of new product being built here, and Annin Lofts stands out.”

From a bank to a fitness center

A rich tapestry of history and a high foot traffic were the attractions for Paramount Assets in acquiring Ironbound Plaza in Newark, a triangular-shaped, limestone-clad building at 2 Ferry St.

The property started life around 1905 as a bank and later was converted for medical use. After a redesign, it houses a Blink Fitness—the fitness chain’s first Newark location, opening April 27—and a soon-to-open 7-Eleven convenience store.

“Municipalities like to preserve a city’s character,” said Richard Dunn, senior vice president of Paramount Assets. “Knowing Newark and the history of the Ironbound section was a key to preserving the façade of the structure while returning retail to the area.”

Adjacent to Newark Penn Station, an estimated 30,000 people a day pass by the building.

Paramount Assets wanted to preserve the exterior to maintain the building’s history, “but inside people still want modern facilities,” said Dunn. “The challenge was the greatest on the outside, where any repair and maintenance have to match the era’s look.

“Fortunately, Paramount Assets has done a lot of this kind of adaptive reuse, including Newark properties like Halston Flats at 127 Halsey St., where we engaged in an eco-friendly restoration of a historic industrial building constructed at the turn of the 20th century on the banks of the former Morris Canal. That development now includes 16 luxury apartments and 4,000 square feet of street-level retail.”

Said Blink Vice President of Real Estate Bill Miller: “We recognize that the Ironbound Plaza is a historically significant property. We’re looking forward to preserving the space’s history while also providing a service to the local community.”

Some historic properties are converted from private use to a public one.

Rendering of Annin Lofts in Verona. – (RUSSO DEVELOPMENT)

“The building was constructed as a kind of assembly hall more than century ago, when most of the people would be on the ground floor,” said Francis Reiner, a partner and senior project manager with DMR Architects. “Repurposing the former Masonic building as a theater meant opening up and reinforcing below-ground footings and foundations so they could bear the load of crowds on the second floor.”

The firm’s projects have included the HACPAC and the ongoing rehabilitation of a train station in Bloomfield listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The HACPAC’s 224-seat theater space has a second-floor stage with access to first-floor dressing rooms through spiral staircases. While maintaining the look and feel of the building, Reiner and his team had to bring it up to modern safety and accessibility standards with new bathrooms, heating and cooling systems, sprinkler systems, ramps, an elevator and other mechanical and other devices.

“It was a challenge,” he said. “But we had the support of the city and the community, and the first performance was on Nov. 11, 2017. Every weekend since then has been booked by community and regional performers and others.”

All aboard

The Bloomfield train station — at Washington Street and Glenwood Avenue, across the street from a mixed-use development — has its own quirks.

Built in the early 1900s, the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, there are significant restrictions on the restoration, which is still in the planning stage.

“The materials and design for the renovation have to match the original design,” said Reiner. “Fortunately, we found the original architectural drawings, but we had to work with a historic preservation specialist to find matching materials or the best match. For example, the concrete mixture back then used shells, shale, rock and stone.”

But such challenges are worth the effort, he stressed.

“When you’re done, you have an iconic structure,” Reiner said. “They spur activity—new properties have already gone up near the Bloomfield train station—and they enhance an area’s appeal.”

This article originally appeared in NJBiz.