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Wednesday, June 23, 2010 / Hoboken Brownstone Company

Congressman Albio Sires and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy joined state, county and local officials recently at an event signifying the start of a sustainable Brownfield Transformation Project on the site of the former Van Leer Chocolate Factory at 110 Hoboken Avenue in Jersey City, N.J.

Hoboken Brownstone Company principals George Vallone and Daniel Gans are transforming the seven-acre brownfield site into a sustainable urban mixed-use community of more than 400 homes and 7,500 square-foot of retail space. The project will utilize groundbreaking, energy-efficient building science that is expected to set the bar for the future of environmentally-responsible development in the northern United States and beyond.

“This project shows what can happen with a vision from Mayor Healy, Jersey City and private developers,” Congressman Sires commented.  “Not only does Van Leer Place help Jersey City advance with responsible, energy efficient development, but it also fits the master plan of our country.  I predict this development project is going to be a model not just for New Jersey but for energy efficient projects across the United States.


Jersey City Mayor Healy added, “This is a great project for Jersey City and exemplifies our City’s ongoing transition from our industrial past to our future as a responsible urban center.  Jersey City is the gateway to the financial center of the world and Van Leer Place is right off the water front of that. We congratulate George Vallone and Dan Gans, investors, elected officials and the planning department and the many others that were a part of finding the money and funds to put together such a great project.”


The day consisted of a technology briefing and an exhibit area graphically describing the innovative energy saving technologies being incorporated into the project, also on display will be the mass wall concrete system,(called Autoclaved Aerated Concrete), that will form the thermally efficient building enclosure.

Called Van Leer Place, the trailblazing project will be developed with assistance from PSE&G's Energy Efficiency Economic Stimulus (EEE Stimulus) Program.  A $3.6 million grant was awarded to the developers by PSE&G as part of the EEE Stimulus Program, approved by the NJ Board of Public Utilities to promote energy efficiency and to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

“Over the past several decades, residential and commercial buildings have emerged as the largest consumer of energy and carbon emissions, using more energy and emitting more carbon dioxide than either industry or transportation,” Mr. Gans points out.  “This is particularly evident in dense urban areas such as Jersey City.  As a result, government on the Federal, state and local levels have made a conscious effort to encourage and promote programs and development practices that lower energy consumption in  mixed-use buildings in City settings. That is the goal for Van Leer Place.”

Mr. Vallone adds, “We’re incredibly excited to mark the start of our project.  Van Leer Place, which fulfills many of the policy and planning initiatives of the State of New Jersey Energy Master Plan and is supported by the Federal Government, the state and the City of Jersey City; will set a new standard for urban development in the northeast and provide design insight and guidelines on best practices that conserve and integrate energy efficiency and alternative energy in a whole building approach.  We will test, report and data log all relevant aspects of our energy demand reduction efforts and make the results available to PSE&G, the BPU, Rutgers, NJIT and other appropriate groups or agencies upon request.”

In addition to the geothermal test well at Van Leer Place -- which will demonstrate the energy potential and efficiency of a well as an integrated alternative energy delivery system in dense urban settings -- the building will be designed to demonstrate Insulative Mass Wall Technology (IMW), energy recovery ventilation (ERV), and renewable energy, all integrated harmoniously in a holistic design.

The IMW building technology is an approach to green and high-performance buildings in which energy use avoidance, particularly during peak periods, is the primary objective. “Energy use avoidance” means dramatically reducing the need for energy and consequently reducing the combustion of fossil fuels, which dramatically reduces carbon emissions.

To achieve a high-performance building, three critical elements will be included in the design, a Mass Wall construction which creates a super-insulated and low air-infiltration building enclosure capable of thermal storage, a balanced ventilation system with energy recovery capabilities and appropriate alternative energy sources, especially solar hot water and geothermal technologies. When all three elements are integrated harmoniously, they can produce buildings capable of 50% to 90% energy savings when compared to standard buildings.

Homes at Van Leer Place will be housed in two six story buildings situated adjacent from one another.  In addition to the buildings themselves, the transit-oriented community will feature a New Jersey Transit pedestrian walkway to the 2nd Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station in Hoboken.  The City of Jersey City will be the beneficiary of a new park that will be built by the developers adjacent to the Van Leer Place South site.

About Hoboken Brownstone Company

Based in Hoboken, The Hoboken Brownstone Company is a multi-faceted real estate development firm which has been active along New Jersey’s Hudson River “Gold Coast” for 30 years.  The company takes a socially conscious approach towards development and is committed to community enhancement endeavors by introducing new home communities in urban locations that respect their surrounding neighborhoods and keep alive their historical validity. For additional information on The Hoboken Brownstone Company, please call 201-792-3814 or visit

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