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Project Overview

"The Modern" at Fort Lee is a new mixed-use residential development at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey. It is a major landmark for Fort Lee and a catalyst for significant future growth in the surrounding area. The construction began in 2014 and was completed in 2018. 

Location: Fort Lee, New Jersey
Developer: SJP Properties
Master Planning, Building Design, Interior Architecture: Elkus Manfredi Architects

Located on a site totaling 7.7 acres in downtown Fort Lee, The Modern’s two 47-story glass towers contain a total of 900 luxury rental apartments. Rising from a podium above the Palisades and the Hudson River and clad in sleek glass curtainwall, the two structures make a striking statement, clearly identifiable from Manhattan and the west, that speaks of the clean, classic lines of timeless design and the drama of their natural setting. Magnificent views and the promise of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in a mix of residences with unmatched private amenities, in combination with easy access to Manhattan, make "The Modern" a highly desirable destination along New Jersey’s Hudson River waterfront.

The Modern at Fort Lee

The Modern at Fort Lee - Each tower contains 450 apartments and four levels of structured parking, ancillary facilities, and extensive amenities for residents’ use.
© Robert Benson

Ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units, the apartments are each a warm, sophisticated home with floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, the Hudson River, and the monumental George Washington Bridge. In both buildings, amenities for tenants become each resident's extended "living room." These include indoor/outdoor dining, entertainment, and fitness venues, plus large outdoor pools, spas, private barbeque areas, and more.

At ground level, the parking structure of each tower is buffered by the lush park plantings of the Central Green, a 1.75-acre park located between the two towers. The roof of each parking structure is a landscaped deck overlooking the Central Green. Providing a park landscape for all of Fort Lee to enjoy, the Green features a central pond, rain garden, and pedestrian walkways. A signature restaurant with an outdoor dining terrace will be an architectural focal point and destination on the Central Green at Park Avenue. 

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The Modern at Fort Lee, a new mixed-use development at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, is already a major landmark for Fort Lee and a catalyst for significant future growth in the area. Located on a 16-acre site in downtown Fort Lee, The Modern’s two 47-story glass towers contain a total of 900 luxury rental apartments.
© Evan Joseph

Project Components

The project consists of:

  • Two residential towers, the North and South Towers (800 and 100 Park Avenue), with a total of 900 apartments and four levels of structured parking, ancillary facilities, and amenities related to residential use in each building
  • Exterior and interior materials used in each tower are the same, with only slight variations
  • A 1.75-acre Central Green located between the towers
  • A 7,000-sf restaurant located at the Central Green on Park Avenue
  • An 11,000-sf combined museum and specialty theater named The John Barrymore Theater located at the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street for use by the public. Many of the earliest silent movies were made by Barrymore in studios in Fort Lee, and the new theater commemorates Fort Lee’s role as the birthplace of American film.

Design Relevance

The 47-story Modern towers are taller and more prominent than any other buildings in the area and clearly visible from Manhattan. With 900 luxury rental apartments, an unprecedented array of indoor and outdoor lifestyle amenities, a high-profile location with ease of access to Manhattan, and incomparable views of New York City, the Hudson River, and the George Washington Bridge, "The Modern" is truly a stand-out residential development positioned to compete not only with properties on New Jersey's “Gold Coast,” but in Manhattan itself.

Project Background

The development of the site of "The Modern" is the culmination of one of the longest and most storied sagas in the history of New York-area real estate. Many high-profile developers vied for the opportunity to develop the site, including a zealous group in the 1970s who enlisted an organized crime representative to try to bribe the borough’s Mayor. But, the Mayor wore a wire, the developers went to prison, and the episode was immortalized in the 1976 book “The Bribe” by Philip Ross. Developer Harry Helmsley later purchased the parcel, but his vision for a complex he hoped to call Helmsley Palisades never materialized after his wife, Leona Helmsley, was sent to jail in 1989 for tax evasion. In 2005, Town and Country Developers bought the tract from Helmsley’s estate, but its plans for a hotel and condo complex were abandoned during the 2008-2009 economic downturn. Ultimately, SJP Properties, developer of "The Modern" and also developer of the western half of the site won the rights to develop the land.

Design Challenges

  • Selection of curtainwall vision and spandrel glass to create uniform monolithic appearance
  • Difficult foundation design/construction due to high elevation and challenging quality of ledge across site
  • Creation of sufficient open surface area of parking garage to satisfy natural ventilation requirements while minimizing floor heights
  • Creation of “seamless” transitions across six-inch seismic joint between tower and garage/amenity deck. 
The Modern at Fort Lee

The lobbies of both towers, 800 Park and 100 Park, feature original sculptures and upscale furnishings.
© Adrian Wilson

The Modern, Fort Lee, NJ

On the 4th and 5th floors of each tower, common amenity spaces include a computer cafe for residents. Other indoor amenity spaces in each tower include a large, flexible lounge space with fireplace and pool table, a meeting/ dining area, a children’s playroom, and a suite of fitness rooms. The 800 Park Tower offers slightly older children a special “Tween Room” as well.
© Adrian Wilson

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The fifth floor of each tower contains a variety of active and passive amenities, including a large, flexible lounge space and an area that can be used by residents for business meetings or entertaining.
© Adrian Wilson

The Modern, Fort Lee, NJ

Each tower offers a children’s playroom for very young residents.
© Adrian Wilson

800 PARK AVENUE: THE NORTH TOWER

Design Details

800 Park Avenue, the North Tower, contains 808,193 gross square feet (gsf), 226,177 gsf of which comprise the parking structure. The tower rises 47 stories to a height of 471.75 feet, above which the building façade rises an additional 26 feet to screen the mechanical penthouse and equipment located at the roof level. The lower portion of the tower is partially wrapped with a low-rise podium structure containing the building service functions and four levels of parking with exclusive parking for residents as well as patrons of the restaurant. To provide a visual buffer for the south side of the parking garage, a portion of the Central Green landscape work was included in the North Phase of the project.

SOUTH PHASE: 100 PARK AVENUE

Design Details

The South Tower contains 811,245 gsf, 694 gsf, 223, 551 gsf of which comprise the separate parking structure. The height of the tower is the same as the North Tower at 471.75 feet. Similar to the North Tower lobby in materials and feel, the South Tower lobby features an aquarium instead of a fountain. 

The South Tower features its own amenities, which total 16,600 gsf and are located on the fourth and fifth floors for its residents. Like the North Tower, the fifth is the main amenity floor with 12,400 gsf, and connects to a fourth-floor amenity deck of 4,200 gsf. The South Tower’s amenities that are similar to those in the North Tower include extensive fitness areas, spa, a screening room, computer café, children’s playroom, and a game lounge that can be leased out for parties by residents. Different from the North Tower are a two-lane bowling alley and two golf simulators, one wide-screen. The South Tower’s outdoor amenities include 53,239 gsf and offer residents the same features as the North Tower’s outdoor spaces, including a large lawn with a Megatron, a pool with views to Manhattan, private landscaped barbeque niches, sports courts, play areas, and a variety of lounge seating.

The Modern at Fort Lee

The large pool at The Modern offers residents ample deck space for lounging and beautiful views.
© Adrian WIlson

The Modern at Fort Lee

The fifth-floor amenities open to the expansive landscaped roof deck exclusively for residents’ use. To the west, family dining and barbeque areas are separated with landscaping and walkways from individual private barbeque spaces.
© Adrian WIlson

The Modern at Fort Lee

The great lawn amenity area is equipped with a Megatron screen, lounge seating, and an outdoor fire pit.
© Adrian WIlson

THE TEAM

Developer: SJP Properties
Planning & Design:

Master Planning, Building Design, Interior ArchitectureElkus Manfredi Architects
General ContractorAJD Construction
Interior Furnishings of Model Units and Resident Amenity RoomsKim Depole Design & Reger Design, Inc.
Structural EngineeringDeSimone Consulting Engineers
Window Wall ConsultantVidaris
Mechanical EngineeringCosentini Associates
AVJD Audio & Visual Solutions
CodeMadonna Designs
Civil EngineeringPaulus Sokolowski and Sartor, LLC
Landscape ArchitectureMelillo + Bauer Associates
Geotechnical EngineeringMueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
ParkingDesman Associates
Soils/EnvironmentEcolSciences
Façade MaintenanceEntek Engineering
SurveyStires