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JERSEY CITY-Developers Athena Group and BLDG Management have unveiled detailed plans for a $400-million, 1.2-million-sf mixed-use high rise on the site of a vacant warehouse here. Located on two acres at 111 First St., the project would consist of apartments, retail space, a hotel and artist studios. The latter component is a concession to local artists who once occupied the former Lorillard warehouse, but were evicted two years ago by owner BLDG Management, citing the building’s unsafe conditions.

The proposed new construction is a bit unorthodox. According to plans unveiled by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the 52-story tower would consist of three blocks stacked perpendicular to one another, sitting atop a structural base. The base would house the building’s parking, retail stores and artists’ galleries. The three building blocks would consist of approximately 415,000 sf of apartments and condos, including lofts and a group of affordable units. Another 210,000 sf would be set aside for the hotel and 160,000 sf for artist studios.

“The time has come to do a building that’s less than typical,” architect Koolhaas said at the unveiling at the Jersey City Museum. “Although the shape is different from what has been happening in Jersey City, we think that it will not be so overpowering that it won’t merge with the environment.”

Koolhaas also emphasized the rooftops on the blocks for the open-air spaces that they would create. His presentation including drawings of people relaxing outdoors at cafes and landscaped areas on the open-air roof areas.

Officials of Athena and BLDG Management estimate it will take upwards of a year to get all of the permits and approvals done. The estimated development time frame is in the vicinity of four years.

For Athena, it’s the second major project slated for the Jersey City market. In 2006, the company formed a partnership with GoldenTree InSite Partners to develop “A” Jersey City, a $110-million, 33-story tower with 250 residential condos, 10,500 sf of retail space and a 238-space parking garage.

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