Jersey City’s Urby Residences

by Garrett Fleming

Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge

Increasing rents sure aren’t going anywhere. You know who is going somewhere though? The people paying those skyrocketing rents. They’re going everywhere: out to eat, movies, traveling abroad, etc. In a nutshell,  they’re a group unapologetically on the hunt for new experiences, connection and fun, even if that means not saving money with their choice of living space and sacrificing a little square footage.

One company that’s heard the cry of young renters looking for affordable, yet stylish, housing is Urby. Offered in three sizes, the units they’ve created are absolutely more streamlined and quaint than similar housing options. But that’s a-ok with those who live there. What they lack in square footage, they make up for in communal spaces and opportunities to experience new things.

It all starts in the building’s lobby. Upon stepping inside, residents and guests are immediately enveloped by a café bustling with neighbors and creatives collaborating and laughing together at communal tables. Explore the building further and you’ll find community kitchens where the house chef teaches residents the art of cooking his or her favorite delights. If chatting over coffee or cooking isn’t your thing, simply hit up the resident artists or musicians. Both are eager to impart their wisdom on those who call Urby “home.”

I think you’ll agree after taking a peek at its interior and facade that Urby is a playful space, but by the sounds of it, they take one thing very seriously: enriching the lives of their residents. Affordability and enrichment? I’m in! Where do I sign? Scroll to take a further peek at the colorful and purposeful design of Jersey City’s Urby. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Ewout Huibers 

Design by concrete

Managed by Ironstate Development

Image above: The second in Urby’s set of residences, the Jersey City location, boasts communal kitchens that not only offers residents a spot to meet and chill with their neighbors, but an in-house chef who hosts weekly cooking classes. The opportunities to learn don’t stop there though. Urby also employs a music teacher, artist and a farmer that will happily teach any resident their trade.

Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
Urby's collection of buildings were designed "... to create natural opportunities for neighbors to meet and interact." For example, each resident must bop through the same main entrance and the café beyond it in order to get home.
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
This has to be the sleekest mail room I've ever seen. Residents can use the building's app to track packages.
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
One of many communal spaces throughout Jersey City's Urby.
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge

The second location of 9 Bar Café, the first of which became a New Jersey hotspot, sits in the Jersey City location’s lobby. It’s named as such because, “in order to extract a perfect 25 second shot of espresso a nine-bar of pressure is necessary.”

Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
Communal tables and fabulous decor make 9 Bar Café both a friendly and fabulous-looking place to work and play.
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
The units come in size small (studio), medium (one-bedroom) and large (two-bedroom).
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
Streamlined sliding doors that don't take up much space and expansive views do wonders for making the units feel larger.
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
The salted pool area plays host to movie nights, resident parties and morning meditations.
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
Standing 713 feet tall, Urby is the tallest residential structure in New Jersey and houses 762 units. The site's look embodies the Urby brand's true nature: "playful and organic."
Jersey City's Urby Residences, Design*Sponge
Trainers and instructors of all sorts lead classes are available at the building's gym. Playing into the "playful" attitude of Urby, the floor was designed to resemble gymnasium flooring.

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    • Hi Alyce

      No, this is not a paid post. If it were, it would be disclosed above the title of the post and at the top & bottom of the post itself. This is simply an article on a new type of communal living taking off across the country.


  • The concept is really cool, but I’m not sure how this counts as “affordable.” Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about prices in Jersey City as I don’t live there and don’t intend to, but it just seems to me like you could probably do a lot better on prices via Craigslist or similar. As a working millennial, I can say that I’d rather spend less on apartment rent (as long as I’m not living in something unreasonably tiny…those 300 square foot places would not be for me!) and more on stylish furnishings, clothing, and experiences like travel.

  • I think that the on-site community concept and services available for food/fun/and interaction are awesome. This will hopefully become a leading edge in re-thinking apartment living. However, I was disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be any features for a working parent with child (day care? playroom? on site school? etc). Did I miss something here? By not considering their needs while lavishly meeting the needs of others, it seems that this concept has taken a position that any sort of family would not be welcome here. In doing so, it becomes an artificial community not fully integrated or populated by a realistic range of individuals (no parents, no children). Needless to say, I’m personally bothered by age discrimination at either end of the spectrum.

  • It’s like a really chic retirement home for young people, which I don’t necessarily mean as an insult, but I’m left cold. Granted I’m on the older, and more working class end of the millennial spectrum, but I’m not sure about such a scheduled and curated lifestyle, it reminds me of, as I said, a retirement community, or another comparison, an all inclusive vacation ala club med. I prefer to design my own experiences. That said, I could see this being good for a younger, fresh out of college millennial starting over in a new city without knowing the area or any acquaintances.

  • This ‘post’ reads like an ad. There is no writer’s voice or viewpoint, and the writing makes little sense. I reread the first paragraph several times and still do not understand its intention. That is to say nothing of the social implications of this type of living arrangement. What ‘young hip’ person can afford these rents when they are not subsidized by their parents?

  • Affordable? What 1 percenter fantasy land do you live in? Most millennials I know are struggling to make ends meet. If they could afford those prices they’d be better off investing in a multifamily home.

  • At first I thought that was a kitchen in a single family home, and was horrified at the size. Relieved to see it’s a communal kitchen!

    The idea is interesting and the execution very lovely, but as others have noted this seems like an adult dorm for rich 20-somethings. It’s actually quite like the luxury student apartments being built all over the college town where I live. For me, a communal living experience without diversity (in age, social status, family makeup, etc., as well as race, religion, and nationality) isn’t worth it. I worry that people moving out of college and into these adult dorms (as I assume this is) will all the more easily isolate themselves from society and never have to learn what ordinary people are like.

  • If you’re going to pay a lot of money for an apartment, why would you live in Jersey City?

    • Jersey City is actually a fantastic place to live with great bars (Dullboy Shout out! dullboybar.com ) and shops (Kanibal & Co. shout out! kanibalhome.com ) with a shorter commute than most people who live in Brooklyn :) I was a nonbeliever until I moved there 8 years ago and haven’t looked back. (That said, Urby is overpriced for the ‘hood…)

    • Stuart

      Our sponsored posts and paid opportunities are clearly labeled and this is not an ad.


  • Maybe I’m just the target demo for something like this as a 28-year-old creative but I love this idea and I want to live there! I live in southern California and rent is pretty much on par with this. Maybe this isn’t cheap but if you had to choose between spending a lot of money on a crappy apartment and this, this is clearly the better option.

    • Thanks for sharing this Zoe. Having lived in NYC for over 17 years, I know the prices and what you generally get for “a fortune” in rent. I’ve since moved back home to WV, but this set-up is interesting to me after having spent similar amounts for horribly maintained apartments and buildings.


  • Your hard work, love, dedication, and style just pour from your creation! It’s beautiful, new yet charmingly old (or reverse that) I would love to visit your store and hang out. Sounds incredibly friendly and fun. You have built something really special and it’s working for many people. You can’t be everything to everyone. You did a great job building a community and I hope it expands under your care. Congratulations on a job well done. Was undone with the negative comments. Your place is gorgeous. If it’s expensive – so be it. I imagine you have poured not only your heart and Soul into it but also a ton of money. I applaud you! And there is nothing wrong with being rich. :) Sincerely, Lora in Texas

  • I live in a building like this right outside of Washington, D.C., and I’m not a fan! I’m actually moving in a couple of weeks. The common areas are beautiful and the amenities are great, but I’m over it– I just want my own private space. For people, especially those new to a city, who are looking to meet people and likely won’t care about sharing kitchen with 50 other people and go out enough that they’re not spending time in their shoebox apartments, I get the appeal.