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Jersey City Medical Center
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
New Jersey Register of Historic Places
Beacon, Jersey City is located in New Jersey
Location: Roughly bounded by Montgomery Street, Cornelison Avenue, Dupont Street and Clifton Place, and Baldwin Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°43′20″N 74°3′51″W / 40.72222°N 74.06417°W / 40.72222; -74.06417Coordinates: 40°43′20″N 74°3′51″W / 40.72222°N 74.06417°W / 40.72222; -74.06417
Added to NRHP: November 27, 1985
Designated NJRHP: March 19, 1985
NRHP Reference#: 85003057[1]
NJRHP #: 1515[2]

Beacon is a new mixed-use community emerging from of the historic restoration of the original complex of the Jersey City Medical Center. It is located on a 14-acre site on Bergen Hill, a crest of the Hudson Palisades and one of the highest geographical points in Jersey City, New Jersey. It creates the northeastern corner the Bergen Lafayette Section and is just east of McGinley Square. It will include two million square feet of residential and retail space, approximately 1,200 luxury residences and 80,000. square feet of retail space



The hospital began as the "Charity Hospital" by the Board of Aldermen of Jersey City who bought land at Baldwin Avenue and Montgomery Street in 1882 for a new hospital. The locale was chosen to remove the hospital from the industrial development at Paulus Hook. This building is now the Medical Center building. It was renamed the Jersey City Hospital in 1885 and had expanded to 200 beds. In 1909, the original hospital building was reserved for men and a second wing was added for women. When Frank Hague became mayor of Jersey City in 1917, he planned to expand the hospital. He had the original building renovated and constructed a new 23-story structure for surgery, known as The Orpheum. The new facility opened in 1931, and George O'Hanlon was the first director.

During The Great Depression in the 1930’s new buildings were added as a Works Progress Administration project secured by Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague, The Jersey City Medical Center included such architectural and designer trappings as marble walls, terrazzo floors, etched glass, decorative moldings and glittering chandeliers, and had one of the most famous maternity wards in the country – the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital [2]. The formal dedication of the Medical Center Complex, the B. S. Pollack Hospital, was on October 2, 1936, with Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicating the building. During the 1950s, JCMC was the home of the medical school of Seton Hall University the predecessor to the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry now located in Newark. Oversized and understaffed, the complex closed down in 1988, and the hospital and offices moved to a new complex in 2004. Prior to that, one building of the complex, 591 Montgomery Street had been converted for senior assisted-living residence.

Metrovest Equities was designated the redeveloper of the property in 2003 and officially closed on it in 2005. The developer is converting the ten federally landmarked, Art Deco buildings in the largest residential restoration project in the country and the largest in the history of New Jersey, with an expected cost estimated at $350 million.

Use of existing infrastructure and restoration

The Beacon represents a massive recycling and adaptive reuse effort. The existing buildings are listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and National Register of Historic Places,[3] and are the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the state. Unlike other proposals which called for the demolition of the buildings, Metrovest intends to restore them to their original glory while simultaneously creating a viable new use. Metrovest has assembled a team of craftsmen and historic preservationists to execute the restoration, which is being performed under the Secretary of Interior’s Guidelines for Historic Rehabilitation. This includes rebuilding and restoring the buildings’ entire façades using the strictest of methods and materials, and restoring the protected interior spaces.

Painstaking efforts to re-establish the historic grandeur and character of the interior spaces included refurbishing original chandeliers, plaster, decorative painting, marble, elevator door surrounds and windows that are being gilded with gold leafs. Former Art Deco theaters, lobbies, public corridors, executive offices and meeting rooms were restored, with many of the spaces converted to an elaborate amenity offering for Beacon residents, including Mayor Hague's former office which now serves as a poker room.


The conversion of the first two buildings was completed in 2008. Named The Rialto and Capital after famous theaters, the buildings offer 315 condominium residences and are situated adjacent to each other, joined by a two-story lobby and a 45,000 square-foot amenity core which features an indoor pool, state-of-the-art gym, Grotto lounge with hot tubs, his/her saunas and steam, social sauna, treatment rooms, yoga studio, a juice bar, screening room and a children’s playroom. Located on the second floor is a meticulously restored art deco theater/event space with catering kitchen and a rooftop sundeck. Other spaces brought back to mint condition include a poker room, reading gallery and a billiards hall. Eight additional buildings will be converted to residential and retail use. The next residential phase will open in 2009. Called The Mercury, the building will offer larger work/live spaces from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. There will also be a rooftop bar/restaurant, town center with retail shops and a gourmet market, a Pre-K early childhood learning and daycare facility, an Art Deco Indy Movie Theater and an art gallery.

Pop culture

The Beacon’s existing buildings, particularly Murdoch Hall, have often been used for filming movies, TV commercials and music videos, including the Robert Redford-directed Quiz Show starring John Turturro as Herbie Stempel and Stanley Tucci’s The Impostors.[citation needed]

See also


External links



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