Power play: Why Jersey City building is ideal spot for companies deep in AI — or other energy-consuming tech needs

LeFrak’s 111 Town Square Place, 15-story, 480K sq. ft. building in Newport section, has power infrastructure to handle 8 times load of typical office building

111 Town Square Place in Jersey City— Courtesy: LeFrak

The Newport section of Jersey City has long offered so much to key business sectors — access to transit, proximity to New York City, attractive rents and access to a tremendous talent pool.

When it comes to serving businesses looking to utilize artificial intelligence or other energy-consuming tech companies, one particular building — 111 Town Square Place — offers something few others can match: access to tremendous power.

LeFrak’s 111 Town Square Place, a 15-story, 480,000-square-foot building in the Newport section of Jersey City, could be a perfect space for a tech startup or other similar operation in need of access to power, because it was built with an infrastructure that has the ability to handle a power capacity that is eight times the load of a typical office building,

That’s certainly the take of Charles Burton, the head of community affairs for LeFrak.

“The building was designed for trading floors, back-office finance or data centers in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Burton said. “It was for companies that just couldn’t find the same type of space in New York City.

“Jersey City was starting to really develop its commercial portfolio, and we said, let’s use this building with great industrial strength and its strong concrete frame to attract those types of businesses.”

Burton feels the famed Newport neighborhood could be at the center of an AI surge, with 111 Town Square Place serving as a centerpiece.

Here’s why.

The original seven-story warehouse’s lower floors include a concrete and steel frame construction with strong, load-bearing floor plates that can handle 300 pounds of load per square foot.  When LeFrak converted the building and added eight more stories, the upper floors were constructed to handle 125 pounds per square foot, along with six 2,000-watt diesel generators and four 830-ton cooling towers.

Today, the building is a little over 90% leased, and there is still an appeal for the new tech companies that need a lot of power and energy along with good building security and facility services.

With the current interest in AI under Gov. Phil Murphy’s leadership, Burton feels New Jersey remains poised to capture the incredible momentum created by this emerging industry.

Because the building’s power load and strength, Burton feels 111 Town Square Place is a prime location for bitcoin, AI and other technology and financial companies that want robust, continuous power in a great location (access to talent, high quality housing, transit, airports, New York City).

“A lot of different things that go into development with AI startups or companies that are really looking to come to New Jersey, because it’s not feasible for them to open in Princeton, New York or other places in New Jersey, so Jersey City is a great place to start,” Burton.

LeFrak has, in fact, engaged brokers and those representing tenants in everything from AI and e-commerce to fintech and cryptocurrency.

“We want to make sure that we’re always positioning ourselves,” Burton said. “All the commercial brokers, people in the real estate industry in a lot of these companies have in-house real estate professionals that know this is a desirable location. That’s mainly been the focus, just to make sure that, as concepts are turned into companies and they come forward and say, ‘I need office space,’ that we’re working with them, and we are nimble enough to give them what they’re looking for.”

Other features of the building include it being equipped with two UPS plants and 36 hours of fuel coverage at current loads.

Also of great appeal is its location within Jersey City. Across from Newport PATH connecting both Midtown and Downtown, there is convenient access to the Holland Tunnel and New Jersey Turnpike, and it is across the street from the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Newport station. Plus, there is an 850-vehicle garage across the street.

The building is the longtime home of tenants such as Morgan Stanley and HSBC, which benefit from its significant power for data operations, Burton said.

They also benefit from a next-generation talent pool.

Between Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, Rutgers University, New Jersey City University, Hudson Community College and the other schools in the area, Burton feels Jersey City is at the crossroads of something special, he said.

“There’s no denying that Jersey City is one of the most desired American cities in which we work, live and play,” he said.