STAPLETON — A luxury apartment building years in development that took over a former Staten Island Navy base opened for leasing this month — with rents starting at $1,735 for a studio.
Urby Staten Island, at 8 Navy Pier Court, opened its first batch of 104 apartments — a mix of studios to two-bedroom units — this month, with 20 people already signing leases, said Greg Russo, principal of Ironstate Development.
"The culture is just communal spaces, getting people together, urban farms. It's not pretentious. it's about convenience, having fun," Russo said.
"We're really focused on the young people that are fleeing the borough because there aren't any real cool housing options available."
The $150 million LEED-certified development has a "bodega" store in the lobby, a communal kitchen and the next phase of the project will include a location of coffee-chain Coffeed, restaurants and a farmer-in-residence to tend to an urban garden inside, Russo said.
Prices for studios start at $1,735, one-bedrooms at $2,165 and two-bedrooms at $3,310 the first phase, with 20 percent of the total units set aside for affordable housing.
Russo said Ironstate first looked at the borough after it completed a development in Long Beach, N.J., and had a lot of Staten Islanders rent apartments there.
Seeing a need, the development company found unused waterfront property at the former Navy Homeport off Front Street in Stapleton.
"We have a long history of redeveloping waterfront throughout New Jersey and other areas as well," Russo said. "We realized that we can do something special and help to turn that area around."
Ironstate broke ground on the project in 2013, a decade after the city put the land up for development.
They hired Dutch-architecture firm Concrete — which previously designed the Hotel W in London — to create smaller, more efficiently designed apartments with an emphasis on communal spaces, Russo said.
The first phase of the development has another building with about 571 apartments inside, which Russo said will open for leasing in the coming months.
The second phase is expected to break ground in the summer and have another building with more than 300 apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail space, Russo said.
Ironstate has already started other projects under the Urby name in Jersey City and Harrison, in New Jersey, and plans to break ground on a fourth in Stanford, CT.
And while Russo has heard feedback from some that the prices in the development are high for Staten Island, he expects other rentals to follow and the building to be leased by the spring of next year.
"With the newest building in the area, we’re always at the top of the market," Russo said.
"Even within Jersey City and Hoboken, that has a lot of new product, the newest guy on the block is always kind of pushing the market."