The couple recently closed on a $1.5 million, 1,900-square-foot, three-bedroom condo at Nine on the Hudson, a K. Hovnanian Homes development in the Port Imperial neighborhood of West New York. And while they had some misgivings about buying in West New York, which lacks the amenities of Hoboken, they are convinced that it, too, will transform over time.
“We know how limited space is here, and we wanted to get ahead of the curve,” he said. “As living in the city becomes more unattainable, I think more people will come to New Jersey, and its waterfront will become as untouchable as Brooklyn’s.”
While Weehawken and West New York are not on the PATH train, the light rail and ferry offer alternatives to driving or taking a bus to the Port Authority. Amenities are also coming, including a Whole Foods Market 365 and a waterfront park with a pool and ice skating rink, creating a vibe that is more Battery Park City than Lower East Side.
“It’s a more mature demographic,” said Bruce Sturman, a managing director of the Maxal Group, which is part of the development team for Harbor 1500, a mid-rise luxury rental on the Weehawken waterfront.
Many still do prefer the suburbs, of course. And far from being ghost towns, closer-in suburbs with walkable downtowns and train lines have also seen population gains in recent years, albeit smaller ones, said Mr. Evans, of New Jersey Future. The counties that are bleeding residents are car-dependent exurban ones with large, detached houses, convenient to suburban office parks but not much else.
“In the 1980s and 90s, jobs were suburbanizing as well, so people could live close to work,” he said. “But now many jobs have moved back to the cities.”
Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, a real estate investment trust, is emblematic of that shift. Until a few years ago, Mack-Cali was the state’s biggest suburban office park landlord. Now it is one of the most active developers on the Jersey City waterfront, a pivot made largely at the urging of its new chief executive, Michael J. DeMarco, a Jersey City native.