Ever since the pandemic began in earnest in March, we’ve heard a lot about New Yorkers exiting the city for distant places like Florida, or not-as-faraway spots like the Hamptons. With the city entering its latest reopening phase, emigres aren’t journeying nearly so far. Neither are renters. While intent on sidestepping apartments in Manhattan, the outer boroughs and Jersey City, they still want quick, convenient commutes to Manhattan, and wouldn’t mind a place boasting infrastructure enhancements and a lengthening roster of eateries and shops.
The answer? For many, it’s Bayonne, N.J. The former manufacturing mecca has been reborn as a prime location for fresh new residential communities providing amenity-rich experiences not unlike their New York City peers. The one big difference offered by Bayonne – aside from a far more palatable price point — is one highly prized in the COVID-19 era. That is lots of interior and exterior space in which to safely distance from other members of homo sapiens.
Moreover, now that it’s been conclusively proven many wage earners can work remotely as well as in an office, paying premium prices to shelter in New York City makes far less sense than it did just four months ago. It’s all helped place this burg on many renters’ pandemic-era Gold Coast radar screens.
“We’ve been bullish on Bayonne for several years now,” says Jonathan Kushner, president of KRE Group, which is developing the heavily-amenitized, 200-unit Bay 151, its first apartment community in Bayonne. “The city has all the makings of a desirable residential destination. It’s an established community that offers a growing list of restaurants and retail, a coveted waterfront location with skyline views and a variety of transportation options that allow for ease of access to New York City – all at an attractive price point for renters.”
Room to roam
Bayonne’s upsides begin with pricing. Its one-bedroom apartments rent for an average $1,741 per month, two-bedrooms for $2,196. Comparable New York City apartments rent for an average $2,909 and $3,662 respectively, according to recent data from Rent Jungle. Over a year’s time, that kind of savings could keep five figures worth of cash from exiting renters’ pockets.
Second, Bayonne offers something many other near-in suburbs don’t, and that’s an assortment of transportation options. By car, it’s approximately 20 minutes from Lower Manhattan and about 30 minutes from Midtown. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail from Bayonne can speed commuters to Jersey City, where they can hop the PATH trains from Exchange Place to Lower Manhattan, or from Newport to Midtown. A number of new residential developments provide complimentary shuttle service to the PATH station.
For those desiring a view of the blue, Bayonne offers the kind of waterfront living that’s helped make crowd pleasers out of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and DUMBO, Queens’ Long Island City and New Jersey’s Hoboken and Jersey City. The city not only offers harbor views, but will soon join the communities above in inaugurating ferry service. Bayonne’s service will travel from the former Military Ocean Terminal to Manhattan.
As mentioned above, a lowered level of density compares nicely to both New York City and Bayonne’s neighbors to the north, Hoboken and Jersey City.
That has helped earn the city many new fans during the pandemic. Folks who fled shoulder-to-shoulder Manhattan and the outer boroughs can find the elbow room they crave in Bayonne. The extra benefit is that those with ties to New Jersey can stay closer to family, without straying too far from Manhattan.
Among the new developments in Bayonne are Lofts Two22, Archview Flats and Sky Lofts South. The aforementioned Bay 151, located at 151 Centre St. on Bayonne’s waterfront peninsula, is one of the reasons Bayonne is garnering attention.
With a location steps from the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the three-building, four-story development offers large floor plans, almost 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities and its scenic New York Harbor setting. How popular are such qualities in this era of distancing? Since launching virtual leasing in May, half of Bay 151’s units have already leased. That, said Kushner, “is a major testament to the neighborhood’s appeal.”