Ready to move: How Harrison is transforming from an industrial powerhouse

Picture2Once considered a “beehive of industry,” a New Jersey town is gradually reinventing itself.

Over the last few years, luxury apartments have sprung up alongside empty warehouses and factories in Harrison, a Hudson County town once known for its industrial prowess. The vision for a revitalized Harrison has been a long time in the making, hobbled by a number of factors, like recession and Hurricane Sandy. But the town has seemingly hit its development stride, and some experts say it is primed to become a hot spot for people looking for an easy commute at a lower price.

The town is in the midst of a renaissance, Harrison Mayor James Fife said, as old industrial sites are being replaced by commercial and residential buildings. The 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena opened in 2010, and the Element Harrison-Newark hotel opened in August 2014. Nearby, several new projects, such as the mixed-use Vermella Harrison, are well underway.

“Harrison historically was a gritty, industrial town,”  said Michael Sommer, managing director of development at Advance Realty. The company and DeBartolo Development are developing six buildings on three blocks within the town’s Riverbend District, adjacent from the Harrison PATH station. “I think in the next few years, Harrison is going to look like a very different place in a very positive way.”

He said the town is particularly appealing to young renters, who are looking for an easy commute to New York City or Newark but lower rents than, say, Hoboken or Jersey City.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResident Adam Silver said he moved to Water’s Edge in Harrison in January. He’d lived in Jersey City for seven years but found that the rent was becoming too expensive. Harrison proved a fitting alternative. Now he pays roughly $1,000 less a month for the same amount of space, he said, and has a relatively easy commute into midtown Manhattan.

He thinks interest in the town is bound to grow.

“You’re going to see nice stores and more opportunity happening in Harrison over the next few years,” he told NJ Advance Media in a recent interview. “People are going to see value there and start moving.”



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