The Iris is a new mass timber building by Gensler slated for Montclair, New Jersey

Garden State

The Iris is a new mass timber building by Gensler slated for Montclair, New Jersey

The Iris proffers 130,000 square feet of office and retail space in downtown Montclair, a New Jersey town just 12 miles from Manhattan. (Courtesy Gensler)

In New Jersey, Gensler is designing a new, mixed-use building in downtown Montclair—a town just 12 miles from Manhattan that was made famous as Tony Soprano’s old stomping grounds. The Iris is a new, 4-story, 130,000-square-foot office building at 641 Bloomfield Avenue that will be partially made of mass timber.

Today, the construction site is home to a prewar, multistory gallery operated by Studio Montclair at 641 Bloomfield Avenue, also known as the Leach Building. This building abuts a series of retail and commercial outlets along this block of Bloomfield Avenue. The Iris will require the demolition of the existing structures, and be sandwiched between Montclair’s Police Precinct and 615 Bloomfield Avenue.

Upon completion, The Iris will supply 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. Atop the podium, there will be 124,000 square feet of office space spread across the top three floors. Below grade will be parking for 277 vehicles.

The 8,000-square-foot podium will have 124,000 square feet of office space above it. (Courtesy Gensler)

Renderings show a brick-clad facade that is broken up into distinguished volumes. A two-story volume protrudes out to the site line, which matches the height of its neighboring, prewar building at 615 Bloomfield Avenue.

Above the two-story volume, Gensler designed a generous terrace that affords views out toward the street. The overall composition was conceived to fit in nicely with Montclair’s historic urban fabric. Meanwhile, the interiors will be predominantly made of mass timber. Renderings show a curved staircase and a mezzanine level made from the sustainable wood material, as well as a large skylight and wide hallways that accommodate lounge and workspace for the building’s future occupants.

The lobby will be partially made of mass timber. (Courtesy Gensler)

The development is rather unprecedented for that part of the Garden State. JLL and BPD Holdings, the project developers, note that there’s been an uptick in demand for Class A office buildings in walkable, prewar parts of New Jersey since Covid, which The Iris seeks to tap into.

“We have worked with numerous stakeholders throughout the community and we know there is tremendous demand for new office space in Montclair,” said David Placek, managing partner at BDP Holdings. “The Iris will offer superior commercial space to the downtown while bringing new patrons to local businesses and strengthening the town’s tax base to benefit the entire community.”

Interior view (Courtesy Gensler)

BPD Holdings and JLL are currently seeking an anchor tenant for The Iris. After finding one, the building will be tailored to the anchor tenant’s specific needs.

The developer hopes to begin vertical construction within 18 months of site plan approval.