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Re: The Beacon
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Just saw this press release online. The Beacon won Project of the Year:


URBAN LAND INSTITUTE’S NJ DISTRICT COUNCIL
NAMES THE BEACON “PROJECT OF THE YEAR”

$350 Million Jersey City Development
Nation’s Largest Historic Residential Restoration Project

JERSEY CITY, NJ -- The New Jersey District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI-NNJ) has awarded The Beacon its 2009 “Project of the Year” honor in recognition of the ongoing transformation of the former Jersey City Medical Center into successful mixed-use development that is currently the largest residential restoration project in the country and the largest in the history of New Jersey. The award was presented to developer Metrovest Equities during the annual Leadership in Land Use Awards held at the Heldrich Center in New Brunswick, N.J. on December 10th.

Previous recipients of this prestigious award include the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City and Pier Village on the oceanfront in Long Branch.

"The award winners exemplify ULI's mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities,” says Lawrence Jacobs, Esq., chair of the ULI-NNJ. “Each of the award winners has taken steps beyond industry norms to advance goals of smart and sustainable development. The winners show a commitment to successful development in New Jersey that is also mindful of societal goals."

Situated on a rise in the center of Jersey City, The Beacon is a cluster of ten art deco buildings built in the 1930’s during Frank Hague’s reign as Mayor. The elaborate complex included such architectural and designer trappings as marble walls, terrazzo floors, etched glass, decorative moldings and glittering chandeliers, and had one of the most famous maternity wards in the country – the Margaret Hague Maternity Ward. Overbuilt and understaffed, the complex closed down in 1988.

Metrovest Equities was designated the redeveloper of the property in 2003, and began a massive recycling and adaptive reuse effort executed under the Secretary of Interior’s Guidelines for Historic Rehabilitation. Today, the developer is well on its way to converting the 14-acre site and federally landmarked buildings into a “City within a City” that, when completed, will contain two million square feet of residential and retail space, including 1,200 luxury residences and 80,000 square feet of retail space.

“The Beacon is perhaps the most important development in Jersey City as it demonstrates that you can successfully redevelop outside of the small band of property along the waterfront,” stated Robert Antonicello, Executive Director of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. “George Filopoulos recognized that these buildings not only possess tremendous historical and architectural significance, but also hold a special place in the hearts of Jersey City residents. As such, he thoughtfully restored them to their original grandeur while also integrated modern amenities and services to create a world-class residential property.”

The Beacon’s initial phase, The Rialto and Capital buildings, feature 315 condominium homes that are more than 90% sold and occupied, as well as 45,000 square feet of completed interior amenities. The second phase, the 17-story Mercury Lofts building, recently opened sales with 25 half- and full-floor lofts offering from 2,994 to 6,665 square-feet. The unique loft building has received a Live/Work designation. Work is also underway on creating 66,000 square feet of onsite retail space which will be devoted to children’s education and recreation including early childhood learning and sports training.

“We’re delighted to receive this prestigious honor from ULI which is an affirmation of The Beacon’s standing as an architecturally- and historically-significant landmark worthy of preservation,” notes George Filopoulos, President of Metrovest Equities.

“This ambitious process, led by our talented and committed project team and a host of skilled professionals and consultants, has resulted in a viable new use for an underutilized property that has already yielded significant economic benefits to the City, helped spearhead new revitalization efforts in the area and created a truly unique living experience for more than 500 residents to date.”

The Beacon’s existing buildings, which are listed on the
New Jersey State and National Register of Historic Places, are the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the state. Metrovest has assembled the finest team of craftsmen and historic preservationists in the region to execute the restoration. The historic grandeur of the interior has been immaculately restored by refurbishing and preserving the original chandeliers, marble, terracotta details, terrazzo flooring, brass elevator door surrounds and windows, and utilizing historic paint analysis to match gold and silver leafing to the original colors schemes.

Former Art Deco theaters, lobbies, and public corridors have
been converted to elaborate private amenity spaces for residents, including a billiards hall with a massive stone Bas-relief chronicling the history of medicine.

For more information on The Beacon, visit www.thebeaconjc.com.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a non-profit education and research institute that is supported and directed by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute today has over 34,000 members and associates representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines. It is comprised of developers, builders, property owners, investors, architects, public officials, planners, real estate brokers, appraisers, attorneys, engineers, financiers, academics, students and librarians.

###

Posted on: 2009/12/15 14:16
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Re: The Beacon
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Cue Mary Barr--I like that--being known as someone who loves and appreciates my home AND yes, even the surrounding area. I mean it's 15 minutes to walk downtown folks and I am an over 50 lady with hip replacements. And if I don't want to walk I can jump on the shuttle to Grove Street. And if I get tired of that four blocks away are other nice restaurants, salons, and VVP is a good excersize walk away in the other direction :). I like Jersey City and I love The Beacon. What?!

Posted on: 2009/12/14 14:13
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How about the areas surrounding the Beacon other than Montogemmery Gardens? What is the adjacent section of Mercer Street like (Mercer and Baldwin)?

Robin.

Posted on: 2009/12/13 5:33
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that's an advertorial... make no mistake, it's a glossy gorgeous 3 page ad (not that it's trying to hide that). I have to say, despite Montgomery Ave not exactly being Park Ave, the CONCEPT of what they're creating with Mercury is quite novel and might actually have a shot.. a work/live situation with this kind of space is almost always going to be in a crummy/industrial/not desirable area and not have anywhere near the views/amenties and likely cost about the same....

Posted on: 2009/12/12 14:17
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JC_Man wrote:
I agree it does look amazing - from the INSIDE perspective. Show some photos of the neighborhood and then you won't be so amazed though.


Oh christ, here we go again....

Cue MaryBarr.....

Posted on: 2009/12/12 13:25
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I just saw the January issue of Architectural Digest at my dentist's office. There is an article and photo spread on the Mercury. Looks amazing.

Posted on: 2009/12/12 12:29
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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More good news about The Beacon--The Northern New Jersey District Council of the Urban Land Institute picked The Beacon, a 2 million-square-foot complex of historic Art Deco buildings in Jersey City, for its Project of the Year award. It credited Metrovest Equities, its developer, as creating “a new neighborhood with market-rate housing and access to mass transit, while restoring the beauty of the original construction.”

Posted on: 2009/12/10 17:14
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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jennymayla wrote:
Quote:

JCSHEP wrote:
...it takes me less time to get to my office in Newport than when I lived in Portside Towers in Paulus hook, and I don’t have a car.


i think you exaggerate. but that\'s cool, i don\'t care where you live, i just find it funny and sort of impossible. but explain if you can.


Umm, sure.

Portside: Walk to essex light rail station, light rail 4 stops to newport mall stop, thru the tunnel to washington and over to my office ~ 25 mins unless i hit the flier gap in service then longer
Now: Shuttle from front door to grove, grove st 1 stop to newport, exit and cross the street. ~20 mins sometimes less

Before I was cutting it very close if not late when i left a half hour before my first meeting. I would absolutely be late if i hit the Bayonne flier train gap at essex. So far here I have never been late to my first meeting by leaving a half hour before. When I first moved here I allowed for more time in case of traffic. At the time i leave i havent seen any traffic so I stopped leaving time for it. Now that i said that of course something will happen.

If you dont believe my account you can believe wibbit’s funny response…or…google pegs the drive at 4 mins (I think it is a bit longer than that at the time I leave) path sched says 3 mins to newport from grove. Before I had a short walk, then njt says a 9 minute light rail ride (which seemed longer to me but its been a while). I think there was also a bus to grove that I opted out of, I cant remember if it was another fee or didn’t run enough…something.

Given all that...now, when it is warmer and i have time I ride to exchange and walk the waterfront walkway to Newport. When i do that i can honestly say i look forward to my commute, that is an awesome walk even if it takes me longer to get to work...just under 30mins.

Anything else I could help clarify? I try my best not to post things that are my opinions and position them as facts.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 3:42
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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Most lofts in NYC are 2200sf rougly, that puts the half floor ones at Beacon in the appreciably bigger camp. I think the main difference is that when you walk out of a Soho, Nolita or Tribeca loft you're in a cutting edge/vibrant spot. Not so around the Beacon.

So yeah there's a haircut to compensate for that. I do think the developer's decision is the right one given the uniqueness of the offering, he just needs to find people that want that kind of space and can deal with the neighborhood... We shall see...

Posted on: 2009/12/9 3:18
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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Xerxes wrote:
I get so tired of hearing the phrase: "in Manhattan this would cost $X" when the offered property is most definitely NOT in Manhattan. People pay Manhattan prices to be IN Manhattan, not a half hour or more away.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama you can get a nice loft at 10% of what you would pay "in Manhattan." But so what?


The commute from Jersey City is shorter.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 2:47
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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marybarr wrote:
That is a short sale---the person owed that much in mortgage and is just trying to recoup that.


Incorrect.

A short sale is when the lender or owner allows a property to be sold for less than the amount owed on a mortgage and takes a loss.

Posted on: 2009/12/8 23:06
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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That is a short sale---the person owed that much in mortgage and is just trying to recoup that. And don't forget how much the units in downtown are costing---we went over that already but compared to The Beacon the places now going for 370,000, like Crescent Court, aren't nearly up to our standard of amenities or construction.

Thanks for getting back to me Brewster. I really don't care if others like The Beacon or not, I just get steamed when they exaggerate or berate it because of WHATEVER reasons.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 18:02
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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margel wrote:
Anyone know what the maintenance fees for these behemoths will be? A typical 1000-sq ft condo in the Beacon has fees of ~ $900/mo, so I shudder to think what it would be for 6000 sq ft.


I saw what looks like a half floor unit (3700sf) on craigslist selling fro $1.2 million with a maintenance of $2500 which means a whole floor would have to be 4 or 5,000 a month in maintenance fees.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/jsy/reb/1495213914.html

Also saw a 1BR for sale for $175k on a unit that was originally $370k:

http://newyork.craigslist.org/jsy/reb/1498790207.html

Posted on: 2009/12/7 17:25
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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sjcarolan wrote:
....I have a million to spend on a condo but I want to live far from transport and modern amenities...is this the place for me?


Sorry to say that given what you are looking for this definitely wont fit your profile Sean. I am sure Binghamton was a much better fit for you when you lived there. Since you just moved to JC last year and might not know...it takes me less time to get to my office in Newport than when I lived in Portside Towers in Paulus hook, and I don’t have a car. Try somewhere else for your need to live far away from things. Unfortunately for you we also have “modern amenities” like electricity...we are working on this whole running water thing that we keep hearing about;)

So Sean – I just glanced at your profile…your all-time JCLIST history is:

17 negative posts about the beacon (71% of all your posts)
7 posts about other topics (29% of all your posts)
I suggest you start a new username here and mix in some more random posts about other things. This way people might not be able to tell that you are losing something to the Beacon and trying to smear…good luck!

Posted on: 2009/12/7 15:04
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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heights wrote:
Who are they looking to sell to ? Perhaps thay only want corporate ownership so they can in turn rent it out. I believe the new condos on Grove near the PATH is mostly sold to St. Vincents Hospital so their staff has a place to live.


There's not really any big businesses close buy other than the high school. They're "looking to sell to" any buyers they can find willing to pay the price :)

Seems like a smart move by the developer to change plans and sell whole floors rather than dozens of smaller condos. I wish them the best.

And why do I get the feeling this is going to devolve into another Beacon-bashing thread? sjcarolan has us well on our way...

Posted on: 2009/12/7 2:54
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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....I have a million to spend on a condo but I want to live far from transport and modern amenities...is this the place for me?

Posted on: 2009/12/7 2:20
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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margel wrote:
Anyone know what the maintenance fees for these behemoths will be? A typical 1000-sq ft condo in the Beacon has fees of ~ $900/mo, so I shudder to think what it would be for 6000 sq ft.

Who are they looking to sell to ? Perhaps thay only want corporate ownership so they can in turn rent it out. I believe the new condos on Grove near the PATH is mostly sold to St. Vincents Hospital so their staff has a place to live.

Posted on: 2009/12/6 22:18
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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Anyone know what the maintenance fees for these behemoths will be? A typical 1000-sq ft condo in the Beacon has fees of ~ $900/mo, so I shudder to think what it would be for 6000 sq ft.

Posted on: 2009/12/6 19:03
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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marybarr wrote:
Brewster you obviously have no appreciation for the art deco era these buildings were established in. The names of all the buildings are after famous art deco theaters. Look 'em up. Rialto, Capitol, Mercury and more to come.


I LOVE deco! I just think the short memory is funny. Mercury+Loft doesn't equal "deco design" in my mind, but "poisoned residents". The story was a really big deal back then. What next, the Triangle Shirtwaist Lofts, or the Columbine Preschool?

As for the property itself, everybody makes their own choices along the space vs location continuum, the combat here among people who make different choices is silly. Not everyone here would choose to live in Manhattan if they could, but I sure would. But I can't get what I consider livable space there so I made my choice for Downtown at a time we could afford it (couldn't now). However I wouldn't choose to live in the Beacon, an island of luxury in a relatively inconvenient and unsafe neighborhood. But for others like you it's perfect and works, so enjoy. But don't get worked up that it's not for everybody.

Posted on: 2009/12/6 18:04
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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Brewster you obviously have no appreciation for the art deco era these buildings were established in. The names of all the buildings are after famous art deco theaters. Look 'em up. Rialto, Capitol, Mercury and more to come.

Bill463 you obviously haven't checked out the prices for other condos in JC that don't have the ambience or amenities of ours--some one bedrooms that are BORING going for $370,000. These lofts have 3,600 to 6,000 squre feet, private elevators, and can be customized.

Xerxes you can't find these ANYWHERE. Not in NYC, which can be as little as 15 minutes away by car and less than that by path, not with these amenities, this style, and this size. If I had the bucks I'd definitely go for one.

AND I'm a bit sick of the JC dwellers that sound as if they are ashamed of JC. All NYC has is overcrowding, ridiculously inflated real estate prices, and everything good about it I can get by jumping on the path. I save a hell of a lot of money and I get views of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty. NYC mostly has views of other buildings or dirty streets. Oh and absolutely NO CLOSET SPACE. That's why I moved to Jersey from Midtown.

Posted on: 2009/12/6 17:19
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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Sign me up! I'll offer $400,000 for one!

Posted on: 2009/12/6 15:09
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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wtf is with the fluorescent lighting?

na-sty!

Posted on: 2009/12/6 14:49
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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I get so tired of hearing the phrase: "in Manhattan this would cost $X" when the offered property is most definitely NOT in Manhattan. People pay Manhattan prices to be IN Manhattan, not a half hour or more away.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama you can get a nice loft at 10% of what you would pay "in Manhattan." But so what?

Posted on: 2009/12/6 13:47
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Re: New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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Okay, that name is hysterical. Clearly no one involved was in the business long enough to remembered 96 when a Hoboken loft building was found to be swimming in toxic mercury and poisoning it's tenants. Oh Irony, you really know how to party!

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/29/nyr ... -poisoned-by-mercury.html

Posted on: 2009/12/5 17:51
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New York Times: Mercury Lofts at the Beacon, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo
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In Jersey City, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Condo

New York Times
By ANTOINETTE MARTIN
Published: December 4, 2009

Resized Image
Resized Image
NEW PROJECT Mercury Lofts at the Beacon offers 25 loft condos. The model unit covers 6,600 square feet and has 24 extra-large windows.

“I KNOW there is something I would rather be doing than trying to sell another 104 condos in this market,” George Filopoulos recalled saying to himself drearily last winter, as work on the third tower at the immense Beacon complex approached the halfway point.

Then, suddenly, he saw it: There was something radically different that could be done, and it might be worth the gamble; the project instantly changed shape in his mind.

It is now 10 months later and that third tower is on the market, but offering just 25 units — really huge live-work loft units, all with panoramic views and private or semiprivate elevators.

Metrovest Equities, the development company that Mr. Filopoulos heads, has completed work on a full-floor model apartment at the building, which is now called Mercury Lofts at the Beacon. The apartment is 144 feet long, has 6,600 square feet of space, 24 extra-large windows, and a 2,300-square-foot terrace. Half the unit was finished as living space and half left to be customized as possible work space with a separate entrance.

The building has three banks of elevators, which had already been installed when the Mercury Lofts idea took shape, so each single-floor unit has three possible entry points.

The lofts went on the market in late October at the top of the price range for New Jersey’s Hudson riverfront area. A half-floor loft is priced at $880,000; a whole floor is $1.76 million.

With the condo market still generally considered to be limping along, are there buyers out there for these soaring spaces at sky-high prices?

“It’s a gamble,” Mr. Filopoulos said. “But we wanted to do something fresh and exciting. And compared to Manhattan, this pricing is an amazing bargain. If you could even find something like this in Manhattan, and that is certainly problematic, the cost would be double, or maybe more.”

The developer, whose company is based in Manhattan, estimated that a one-bedroom apartment in the city would cost about the same as one of the eight 3,000-square-foot half-floor lofts being created at the Mercury. And in Manhattan, such space would not possess equivalent amenities. The Beacon has a large theater, restored in historical detail; a spa with his-and-hers steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and fitness and dance space; and valet parking for all residents.

Mr. Filopoulos and a few other area developers assert that high-end buyers are returning to the market. They also say that while the supply of midprice condos is swollen, there is less of a surfeit at the top end.

After Lehman Brothers collapsed a little over a year ago, said Benjamin D. Jogodnik, a director of Toll Brothers’ City Living division, sales “pretty much ceased” for a couple of months at his company’s high-end developments in Hoboken: Maxwell Place, Hudson Tea and Harborside Lofts. In March, the pace of sales began to pick up slowly for the lower-priced units, in the $600,000-to-$700,000 range.

By June, he said, the “million-dollar buyer was back,” and just recently, both the model apartment at the first building in the Maxwell and the penthouse at Harborside Lofts sold. “Sixty percent of our sales in the last six months have been for prices of $1.1 million to $1.6 million,” Mr. Jogodnik added.

At the Beacon, which is set back from the riverfront on a hill off Montgomery Street, prices have until now been set well below those at riverfront buildings in Hoboken, although maintenance fees tended to be higher.

The first tower in the 10-building conversion project, completed in 2006, sold out rapidly. The sales pace at the second tower, completed in late 2007, was also brisk, the developer recalled, until “hitting a wall.” Actually, several walls: the housing finance debacle; the Wall Street debacle (especially the collapse of Lehman, which had a significant presence here in a city then known as “Wall Street West”); and, ultimately, severe recession.

Admittedly in some desperation to get sales moving in the early months of this year, Mr. Filopoulos decided to sell units at the second tower, called the Rialto, in a “close out” auction — with minimum bid prices set at about half the original asking prices.

More than 30 units sold in a few hours at the auction held in July, fetching prices that MetroVest found “respectable.” A half-dozen other area developers quickly copied the auction idea.

It was around that time that Mr. Filopoulos decided to scrap his initial plans for the Mercury. “The walls were up,” he said, “and my construction manager and I were standing there in the structure, and suddenly he said: ‘You know what? You keep saying you don’t want to be putting any more regular condos on the market right now. How about some really incredible lofts?’ ”

Something clicked. Looking up at the 13-foot ceilings, gazing around him at enough space on a single floor for a small warehouse or retail store, Mr. Filopoulos seized on the notion.

It would cost much less to finish the 17-story building as lofts rather than conventional condos. If artists and entrepreneurs were attracted to the lofts for live-work space, it would add “liveliness” to the Beacon community of more than 500 residents.

This month, Mr. Filopoulos said, he has talked with two potential buyers interested in full-floor units, even though the lofts have been fitted out only up to the fifth floor so far.

One buyer asked to have plans sketched out for an apartment with an adjoining fitness spa and entertainment center, including a simulated putting green. Another expressed interest in using some portion of the space to house a gallery for private customers.

http://www.thebeaconjc.com/mercury/

Posted on: 2009/12/5 15:45
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Re: New York Times: They’re All Connected -- www.BeaconOwners.com
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VVP_Ralph wrote:
That place creeps me out. It still looks like a hospital, smells like a hospital, and everything else hospital. Inside and out.


Hey Ralph, my hobby is photography, I spend a lot of my free time exploring the metro area. Can you clue me in to any locations you know about that are historical, ornate, and look like the Beacon? I would love to explore a place like that.

I've been to Wilzig, been to St Vincent’s in Manhattan, my mother works for the St Clair’s system of hospitals in NJ. I have photographed abandoned hospitals and infirmaries from the period in Queens, Staten Island and Maryland. Is Christ Hospital worth a visit? Doesn't look like much from the outside...I have never seen a hospital remotely similar to the Beacon...terrazzo floors, carved wood, stone carved freezes inside and out, theaters, ornate fixtures, balconies, etc, etc. I always figured it was from the one of a kind way it was built. A powerful corrupt mayor with a crazy vision, the president he got elected (FDR), and therefore the millions in federal funding...

Posted on: 2009/11/25 14:26
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Re: New York Times: They’re All Connected -- www.BeaconOwners.com
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when i'm there, the only thing that still reminds me of a hospital is the corridor when you are going from the main area to the great lawn with the bend in the hallway. that's very hospital.

Posted on: 2009/11/25 5:01
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Re: New York Times: They’re All Connected -- www.BeaconOwners.com
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That place creeps me out. It still looks like a hospital, smells like a hospital, and everything else hospital. Inside and out.

Posted on: 2009/11/25 2:19
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I must say the Beacon's floors/walls are probably the shiniest and most well kept I have ever seen. I almost feel like I'm committing a mortal sin walking dogs through the first floor when the downstairs carpet is being cleaned!

For appearance, The Beacon wins, but for layout/space, Canco Lofts would be my choice as of now if I had the money to buy.

BTW James emailed me and explained why my PMs are blocked. Makes sense since it sounds like the site probably got hit with a lot of bots and spam.

Posted on: 2009/11/25 0:00
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Re: New York Times: They’re All Connected -- www.BeaconOwners.com
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Because Verizon used our hallway as an ad for thier service with the two boys who walk down the long hall :) They picked it for being the prettiest and shiniest hallway. The Beacon is the bomb! Don't go there about our building just because of an unofficial website.

Posted on: 2009/11/24 23:25
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