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What's Inside a Neighborhood in a Box?

On the outskirts of New York City, a new housing model aimed at Millennials asks: What is city living?
Urby Staten Island, a new 900-unit housing complex, offers a curated city-living experience. Kind of.
Urby Staten Island, a new 900-unit housing complex, offers a curated city-living experience. Kind of. Ironstate Development

The peaked wooden eave jutting from the facade of the charcoal glass tower is trying to tell you something. So is the neon sign over the entranceway that says “home sweet home.” But it takes a beat to realize that the light-box sign reading Urby is not for an upmarket extended-stay hotel. You’re supposed to live here.

The new mixed-use residential development on Staten Island’s crane-studded north shore is the first in a proposed chain of apartment projects from New Jersey-based Ironstate Development, which has a record of building large luxury developments on the “Gold Coast” of the New Jersey waterfront. Other locations in the works include Jersey City (one of three towers completed), Harrison, New Jersey (now renting), and Stamford, Connecticut (underway). Each complex comprises ultramodern living units, ground-level retail, amenities such as heated outdoor pools, fitness centers, and keyless entry via phone app.