Developer Yuval Shram said he fell in love with the site at first sight.
Not because it was right off Interstate 280. Not because it was facing Main Street. And not because it was a three-block walk from not one, but two train stations.
Shram, the founder and CEO of TAY Investments, said he fell in love with the lot at 1 South Burnet St. because of the municipality in which it was located: East Orange.
Shram, who has hundreds of units in both Jersey City and Newark and has hundreds more in his pipeline, said he feels East Orange is the “next big thing.”
That’s why he was so excited Thursday at the groundbreaking for Hue Soul, a six-story, 116-unit market-rate multifamily project that will come with 8,200 square feet of retail, 2,000 square feet of amenities and — get this — a parking spot for every tenant.
“We see big potential with everything that’s going on in West Orange and Orange — and we’d like to continue the growth on this side,” he said. “We really like the city.”
The fact that it is close to both the East Orange and Brick Church stations is a plus, too.
“We really like the location,” he said. “We understand it’s a transportation hub because of how close it is to downtown Newark, downtown Jersey City and, of course, downtown New York.”
The building, which aims to be complete in the first quarter of 2025, will be 20% studios, 20% two-bedrooms and 60% one-bedrooms. Shram feels it will attract young and old, students and professionals, singles and families.
And, while the pricing (yet to be determined) surely will be lower than some of his Jersey City locations, Hue Soul still is being built with those looking for quality in mind, Shram said.
“There’s a good population here that wants to see new developments and new units that are on the luxurious side — that’s what we aim to bring here,” he said.
Those amenities include a small day care center and a gym.
That doesn’t take in consideration the retail (both in the building and on Main Street) and it doesn’t account for all that’s going into the Crossings at Brick Station, the massive $500 million, 812-unit mixed-use development that’s going up just down the street.
Shram doesn’t see it that way.
“I think it’s a great collaboration and helps create a market,” he said. “There is a lot of demand for accessible, new and reasonably priced units in the area. If anything, I believe more developments coming are just pushing the area forward.”
That push, Shram said, starts with the local government. Mayor Ted Green and the city council have been behind the project from the start.
“They were very accommodating,” he said. “They also had an ear for us, helping us with whatever we need.”
That includes a 20-year tax abatement. And the fact the project is located in an Urban Enterprise Zone is a bonus for retailers.
Shram feels the big winners will be the local residents.
“We hope that people will see the opportunity to have what I would call luxurious accommodation with reasonable pricing, in an area where you can park your car and take the train to get to anywhere that you want,” he said.
You can call it a new East Orange — but that doesn’t mean Shram is forgetting about the city’s past. That comes through with the development’s name: Hue Soul.
The building will be set on a plot of land that used to house a popular soul food restaurant, Hue Soul. Shram said he is using the name on the project as a nod to the area’s history — something he has done with past developments.
Of course, being the forward-thinking developer that he is, Shram hopes what’s old can be new again.
“We hope that, by the time it finishes, maybe we could have (a restaurant) of that sort,” he said. “That would be really great.”