Mack-Cali unveils $75M capital transformation of Harborside district

Another rendering of the Harborside complex in Jersey City. – Mack-Cali Realty Corp.

Jersey City’s waterfront got a multimillion-dollar investment promise this week.

Mack-Cali Realty Corp., which develops office and multifamily properties on the Waterfront, announced a plan to invest $75 million to transform Harborside into a cultural district.

It is the most recent step in Mack-Cali’s plan to modernize Harborside’s existing Class A office buildings, which span 4.3 million square feet, along with upgrading its public and retail spaces.

Mack-Cali launched the Harborside plan in 2015, with a goal of making it a walkable and easily accessible cultural district that will give life to the waterfront’s continued evolution.

New York City-based SJP Properties is the project’s development manager, overseeing and executing the architectural overhaul, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects.

Earlier this year, Mack-Cali announced its plans to develop a new 1.2 million-square-foot, build-to-suit office tower at Harborside in partnership with SJP, adjacent to its current Harborside complex.

The initiative started with Harborside Atrium, which now doubles as a cultural space that hosts music, dance, art performances and “foodie” fests.

This follows the May opening of Lutze Biergarten, an outdoor venue offering a variety of craft beers, cocktails, food, games and views of Manhattan.

Next month, Piggyback Bar at Harborside will open. The restaurant is owned by famed New York Chef Leah Cohen and partner Ben Byruch, serving a menu of elevated American bar fare fused with Asian flavors.

This phase of Harborside includes revamping of the buildings’ lobbies and adjoining internal passageways to the Harborside Atrium, overhauling the current food court into The Marketplace, a European-style food hall, and installing new interior design features to make it more open and efficient with collaborative meeting spaces featuring modular, modern furniture.

“Together with the addition of a new NY Waterway ferry terminal, serving the Hudson Yards and World Trade Center, coming this fall, the capital improvements will facilitate far greater connectivity at Harborside,” Mack-Cali CEO Michael DeMarco said. “In order to activate the Waterfront and energize the neighborhood, it’s integral that we create a seamless experience for residents, workers and daily visitors.”