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Tagged: Harrison

2nd Harrison hotel


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide opened its 14th Element hotel in Harrison last Thursday with members of the development team pedal-powering a virtual ribbon-cutting at the new location, 399 Somerset St., just off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. South.

Starwood CEO Fritz van Paasschen told visitors that that the company is “looking to open 19 more” Element hotels “in the next couple of years” in places like the United Kingdom and China. With the Element brand, “we want to tap into a focus on wellness and sustainability,” he said.

Last Thursday in Harrison, the hotel’s builders and managers mounted bicycles attached to bike generator stands and, as they worked the pedals, they generated enough electricity to power a flat screen plasma monitor to create an “official opening’’ message on screen.

The event underscored Element’s commitment to pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for each of its hotels. Element at Harrison is a 138-room modular facility built by a joint venture of Ironstate Holdings LLC and The Pegasus Group and managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts. The hotel, which opened to guests Aug. 21, features a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool and a 1,500 square foot meeting room.

The hotel, steps away from the Harrison PATH station, offers complimentary bikes for guests to borrow, plus complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the facility, breakfast, an evening reception and salon bar carts stocked with wines and beers, soft drinks and snacks available after hours.

About 8,000 square feet of the ground floor space is dedicated to retail use. A 2,200 square foot Dunkin’ Donuts has already opened; AT&T will be leasing a 1,500 square foot retail space later this year; Cork Wine & Liquors will be occupying 2,000 square feet in 60 to 90 days; and a retail food shop is planned for the remaining 2,000 square feet, according to Michael Barry, principal of Ironstate.

Photos by Ron Leir LEFT: Gary Maida, general manager of Crescent Hotels & Resorts, (at podium) is flanked, from l., by Richard Miller (The Pegasus Group), Michael Barry (Ironstate Holdings) and Michael Williams (Crescent VP). RIGHT: Fritz van Paasschen, Starwood CEO, at ceremonial opening for Element at Harrison.

Photos by Ron Leir
LEFT: Gary Maida, general manager of Crescent Hotels & Resorts, (at podium) is flanked, from l., by Richard Miller (The Pegasus Group), Michael Barry (Ironstate
Holdings) and Michael Williams (Crescent VP). RIGHT: Fritz van Paasschen, Starwood CEO, at ceremonial opening for Element at Harrison.


Ironstate and Pegasus have partnered to develop Harrison Station, a three-phase, mixed-use project which, at full build-out, will consist of six residential buildings with ground floor retail and the hotel with retail.

The first phase, at 300 Somerset St., which was completed September 2011, comprises 275 luxury rental apartments with a 24-hour attended lobby, fitness center, residents’ lounge with large screen TVs and ping pong table, landscaped courtyard with outdoor pool and beach volleyball court, all above 12,814 square feet of retail, including Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Pronto Gourmet, Sakura Japan, Pro-Cuts, GNC and Path Cleaners.

Phase 2 is the 138-room Element at Harrison and accompanying retail.

Now under construction, next door to the hotel, is Phase 3, which will consist of four stories of 329 residential units and 8,700 square feet of retail, with an estimated completion by October 2015.

– Ron Leir 

Harrison milling project bumpy for vehicles, local businesses

By Ron Leir

A paving project proved problematic for drivers using the heavily traveled Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard South in Harrison the first week of September due to the milling process that removes the existing road surface by machine to expose the road base. Commuters were confronted by lengthy delays as they attempted to negotiate a bottleneck that stretched for several blocks in each direction, to and from the roadway under the PATH and Conrail bridges. A job that was expected to take no more than two to three days stretched into five.


Harrison posted a notice on its Web site advising residents  “On Monday, Aug. 31, and Tuesday, Sept. 1, construction work will start on F.E. Rodgers Blvd. in the vicinity of the PATH Station (under the PATH Bridge). Expect a heavy volume of traffic.”

Harrison Mayor Raymond J. McDonough said the town asked Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise to see if the county, which has jurisdiction over the road, could do something to improve its condition.

“It’s beat up from wear and tear from truck traffic and it’s got a lot of potholes because of drainage issues under the bridge,” McDonough said. “So the county exec turned it over to Bob Jasek, the county engineer, to arrange for the work and now there’s a contractor doing milling and paving.”

Jasek indicated that there is action on two fronts in that area. A contractor retained by the developer of the Harrison Commons mixed-use project is widening a section of Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard from Cape May Street to the PATH Station, by eight feet to make a four-lane road and installing new underground utilities and that job is about 80 percent complete.

At the same time, Jasek said the county hired AJM Contractors, of Clifton, to pave a several-block-long section of F.E. Rodgers Blvd. South.

The county incorporated the job as part of a $364,000 contract it previously awarded AJM to do various paving projects in Bayonne and North Bergen. He estimated that the Harrison job would cost “about $100,000.”

There’s also money being fronted by the contractor – which the county will have to reimburse – to pay for three Hudson County sheriff’s officers and two Harrison police officers for directing traffic along F.E. Rodgers Blvd. South, between roughly Bergen Street and Taft Street.

“It’s taken a little longer than we expected,” Jasek said, referring to the paving job. “We anticipated a three-day job but the contractor’s milling machine broke – which I know because I was at the job site the second day and nothing was happening for a while – but they’ve since rectified that.”

But as the contractor proceeded, police alternately restricted north-south flow to one lane in each direction. Because of that, and long lights traffic was periodically backed up to Harrison Avenue to the north or to Middlesex Street to the south. Roadside businesses had a few things to say about the predicament.

Nirmal Patwalia, who runs NCK Fueling, a service station at 507 F.E. Rodgers Blvd. South, said on Tuesday, Sept. 2, – the second day of the paving job – that, “Normally we pump 9,000 gallons a day but yesterday, we did only 5,000 gallons so we lost a lot of people.”

Just south of the gas station, at the Harrison Car Wash, manager John Hincapie was equally frustrated.

“It’s killing us. You have part of the road closed, and all the dust and confusion, so people just jump on (Route) 280 and go home,” Hincapie said. “We do 60 to 70 cars a day. (During the milling process,) we did four cars. Normally we close at 8 p.m. – yesterday, I closed at 4 p.m. I’m just hoping they do the work faster.”

Still, Hincapie acknowledged that the work needed to be done.

“Underneath the bridge, it’s all potholes,” he said. “Driving my big truck, I can feel it.”

Meanwhile, at the nearby Harrison Commons project site, the developer is getting closer to starting environmental cleanup/remediation and infrastructure improvements in the area at Middlesex Street and Somerset Street where the first 253 rental apartments are slated to rise. Potomoc-Environmental, Inc., of South Amboy, has placed a construction trailer at the work site.

Dave Esposito, construction supervisor for Applied Development Co., a partner with the Pegasus Group in the development company, said that the developer will likely tear down two empty homes on South Third Street and the big house at the corner of South Third and Middlesex in about a month to clear more space for the first phase of the project.

Esposito said the Harrison Commons project will be modeled after Pier Village, a 500-unit development under construction in Long Branch.

Harrison Commons is targeted, at full build-out, for more than 400 apartments, from studios to three-bedrooms, to be contained in two four-story clusters, along with some ground-floor retail, several large courtyards, an outdoor pool and an indoor fitness facility.

Minno & Wasko, of Lambertville, is the architect for the project.