Mike DeMarco has no problem with being known as an agent of change. In less than two and a half years at Mack-Cali Realty Corp., the CEO has changed the direction of the real estate investment trust away from suburban office parks and emphasizing its growth in urban centers.
And in an effort to continue to grow Jersey City and Harborside’s connectivity to Manhattan, Mack-Cali and Roseland Residential Trust held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the commuter ferry terminal outside of Harborside 1. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and members of the executive team at NY Waterway, including 92-year-old founder Arthur Imperatore Sr., participated in the ceremony and congratulated Mack-Cali for its investment and success at the campus.
“Investment in transit and finding alternative means of transportation has been a focus of our administration since Day 1,” Fulop said. “Whether it was creating 22 miles of bike lanes, adding a 24-hour bus route to and from New York City and now this commuter ferry terminal at Harborside, not only are we giving our residents more mass transit options, but we are allowing visitors another avenue in which to fully experience Jersey City’s rich cultural scene.”
DeMarco said Mack-Cali sold the water rights to NY Waterway for 75 years. NY Waterway then made an investment of roughly $500,000 installing the port. DeMarco said this will, hopefully, realize the firm’s vision to create a transportation center at Harborside.
“This building acts as a terminal,” he said. “You’ll have the light rail on one side of it (Hudson Street) which is one of the biggest stops in the system. We have 3,600 parking spaces in the complex, we own the street so we can own bus service or shuttle service if we wanted, and there are a lot of amenities in the building. There are restaurants, there are pop-up vendors and we have a whole seating area for 400 people. You can sit there when it’s snowing or raining, wait for the ferry to get there and go.
“(Harborside 1) was a building that was very sleepy. It was only open form 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and now it will be open from 5:30 in the morning until 2:30 at night.”
The commuter ferry routes out of the Harborside began operating on Oct. 2. The ferry will link to West 39th St. in Midtown Manhattan in less than eight minutes and to the Brookfield Place/Battery Park City Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan in six minutes.
With the addition of the ferry, Harborside is fully linked to all means of transportation in Jersey City. The Hudson-Bergen light-rail serves the station at 210 Hudson, while the PATH connects to the campus at Exchange Place and NJ Transit’s bus system links through routes 80 and 82.
“There is a tremendous future here,” Imperatore Sr. said. “Mike DeMarco and Marshal have made a wonderful experience. Jersey City is exploding everywhere and we have many routes already. This is going to be one of our premier routes alongside Goldman Sachs and Liberty Harbor. We look forward to servicing the people who live here, work here, visit here to make their lives more pleasant.”
Looking into the future, DeMarco said Mack-Cali and SJP Properties have planned to build a 1.4 million square feet built-to-suit office building at Harborside, Harborside Plaza 4. Mack-Cali and Ironstate Development are currently working together on two more towers at Harborside to finalize the Jersey City Urby complex. DeMarco said the company has enough land for five towers in total at Harborside.
NY Waterway has three commuter ferry terminals in Jersey City at Paulus Hook, Liberty Harbor and Port Liberte.