The Ivy at 2 River Road in Chatham — All photos courtesy: BNE Real Estate Group
By Joshua Burd
BNE Real Estate Group has opened the doors to its new upscale multifamily property in Chatham — one that’s a far cry from the boutique project it envisioned just a few years ago.
As the firm’s Jonathan Schwartz notes, early plans called for no more than 46 units on one acre at the busy corner of River Road and Watchung Avenue. But a series of acquisitions paved the way for what stands there today, a striking and architecturally distinct complex with 245 homes and an impressive footprint that greets drivers as they approach from neighboring Summit.
“We were able to slowly assemble the five acres, and the town wanted to see something that was going to be meaningful here and create some scale,” said Schwartz, a partner at BNE. “It’s a great corner heading into probably one of the best areas of the state.”
Designed by Minno & Wasko Architects and Planners, the project was on display this week as BNE welcomed local officials and other guests for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The property known as The Ivy has already drawn significant interest since hitting the market last month, Schwartz said, noting that the 2.4-square-mile borough was effectively built out and had seen no new multifamily development in decades.
Much of that traffic has come from an expected source.
“The empty-nester need is huge,” Schwartz said. “People sell their homes in Chatham or Summit or Short Hills and want to downsize to something where they can get a lot of space, a lot of amenities.”
The Ivy is also attracting “some young professionals who either grew up in Chatham or want to wind up in Chatham,” meaning they will likely rent for a year or two before looking for a home in the town, he added.
The project at 2 River Road has revitalized a series of underutilized industrial parcels, which the borough designated as an area in need of redevelopment, banking on a location that’s minutes from downtown Chatham and its train station. BNE has taken advantage of the larger assemblage with above-average unit sizes and more than 34,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity space, including three outdoor courtyards, a resident lounge with a private dining room and catering kitchen and a sleek fitness center with a yoga studio and virtual fitness technology.
The firm has also embraced the empty-nester pool with a dedicated mahjong room and two golf simulators, in a nod to the roughly two dozen courses within a few miles of the site.
“Today marks a significant milestone for Chatham as we welcome The Ivy, a distinguished addition to our residential landscape,” Chatham Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz said in remarks for the Dec. 5 unveiling. “This sophisticated rental community not only reflects the appeal of our borough but also symbolizes a commitment to elevating the living experience for our residents. BNE Real Estate Group has been an outstanding partner throughout this journey, delivering an exceptional new purpose for a previously underutilized property. We look forward to the positive impact this development will have on our town.”
BNE is offering shuttle service to the nearby train station, while residents are also minutes from several major highways and the downtowns of Summit and Morristown. Other amenities include a coworking lounge with private offices, a media screening room, a children’s playroom and a game lounge with a resident bar, billiards and shuffleboard
Outdoors spaces total roughly 18,000 square feet across the three courtyards and include a swimming pool, a host of seating and dining areas, an outdoor movie lawn and a covered outdoor lounge.
Rents at the collection of one- and two-bedroom units, where interiors were curated in partnership with Miami-based ID & Design International and Chicago-based Mary Cooke Associates, start in the $3300s. Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP served as redevelopment counsel for the borough, with Topology developing the redevelopment plan.
“From the very inception of this development in this exceptional Chatham location, BNE set out to surpass all expectations,” Schwartz said. “Today, as we stand in this remarkable building, I am confident that we have achieved just that. We have collaborated with top talent partners and customized every element to ensure that The Ivy will not only offer an unparalleled residential experience, but will also serve as a symbol of elegance, sophistication, and a commitment to enhancing the traditions of this well-established community.”
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Author: Joshua Burd