SJP Properties Breaks Ground on $500M Redevelopment of Historical The Modern

SJP Properties will officially break ground today on the redevelopment of the infamous The Modern site, which dates back to the 1900s and includes uses for silent films, bribery scandal involvement and Helmsley ownership.

Construction is beginning on two, 47-story luxury apartment towers in Fort Lee, N.J., decades after the site near the George Washington Bridge was first cleared for development. The $500 million redevelopment project will feature 900 rentals on an eight-acre parcel along with a public park, theater and museum.

The Modern is being developed by Fort Lee Redevelopment Associates, a partnership of SJP Residential Properties, Bergen County attorney James Demetrakis and real estate investment firm Palisades Financial. Each glass tower will hold 450 rental apartments with a mix of studios, one-,two- and three-bedroom units. Located at 100 and 800 Park Avenue, formerly called Martha Washington Way, the development will also include 70,000 square feet of upscale indoor and outdoor amenities, including an infinity pool for each tower and golf simulation area. The park will be located between the two towers and will have room for a 7,000-square-foot restaurant.

Residents should be able to start moving in during the summer of 2014. Rents should range from $1,600 to $6,500, the Wall Street Journal reported.

FLRA will also construct a 13,000-square-foot building that will be donated to the borough of Fort Lee for use as a public theater and museum.

The site’s history dates back to the early 1900s, when it was home to several silent movie studios. It had been a vacant eyesore since the 1960s, when nearly 16 acres was cleared for what was to be a large mixed-use development. That project was tabled after a bribery scandal. In the 1980s, hotel magnate and developer Harry Helmsley tried to build offices and housing on it. The site changed hands again before the current team received approvals from the borough earlier this year.

Tucker Development Corp., an Illinois-based retail and mixed-use developer, received site plan approval in June to build a separate 1 million-square-foot mixed-use project on the western portion of the original 16-acre parcel. If the project moves forward, Hudson Lights would feature about 200,000 square feet of restaurants and retail, up to 477 residential units, and possibly an office building and hotel.

Meanwhile, Fort Lee and Bergen County officials were scheduled to attend a Wednesday groundbreaking at The Modern site with attorney James Demetrakis; Allen F. Goldman, president of SJP Residential Properties; Steven J. Pozycki, CEO of SJP Properties; David McLain of Palisades Financial and Howard Elkus of Elkus Manfredi Architects.

The Parsippany, N.J.-based SJP Properties is known on both sides of the Hudson River for residential and commercial developments. In Manhattan, the residential arm of the company developed 45 Park, a $140 million luxury condominium at Park Avenue and 37th Street in the Murray Hill section, and Platinum, a$230 million, 43-story luxury condominium at 8th Avenue and 46th in the Theater District. Also in Manhattan, the firm built 11 Times Square, a 40-story, 1.1 million-square-foot office tower. It opened in 2011 with Jones Lang LaSalle as its leasing agent and law firm Proskauer Rose L.L.P. taking about 400,000 square feet. Earlier this year, SJP Properties signed Pearson, a global educational and media publisher, to 200,000 square feet of office space at its Waterfront Corporate Center in Hoboken, N.J.