16 Bennett
Cryptocurrencies,  Innovators

Jersey City development tries to lure renters by allowing crypto payments

Will allowing tenants pay in crypto get them to move to the West Side?

A new development in Jersey City is trying to entice tech savvy renters by giving them the ability to pay rent with cryptocurrencies.

The 63-unit building, located at 16 Bennett Street, is set up with Coinbase Commerce. According to the listing agents, Dan Silverman and Michael Reichel of Liberty Realty, residents have the option of setting up their own wallet specifically designated for their unit. When it’s time to pay up, the account automatically deducts the equivalent in bitcoin, ether, Bitcoin Cash, or Litecoin.

Silverman told Modern Consensus that the building was planning to use Litepay but that was obviously scrapped. Silverman also said the building’s owner would probably keep about half the rent in crypto and convert the other half into fiat as it’s received.

Monthly asking rent at 16 Bennett runs from $1,725 for a one-bedroom/one-bath unit all the way up to $3,600 for three-bedrooms/three-baths, noted real estate site Jersey Digs.

The building, developed by Jeffrey White, is located on Jersey City’s West Side, an “up and coming” (read: gentrifying) neighborhood. It’s far from the PATH train that whisks Jersey City commuters to Manhattan in a dozen minutes. Those hoping to use public transportation to get to work in “the City” can take a light rail train about half a mile from 16 Bennett and then get off at a PATH station 15 minutes later. Silverman said there will be a shuttle bus service in place sometime soon to take residents to the nearest light rail stop.

That sort of commute often doesn’t sit well with ex-Manhattanites and ex-Brooklynites used to a one-seat commute. What’s more, that part of Jersey City is far from the downtown busy nightlife. And, 16 Bennett is by Route 440, a road that hugs the Hackensack River and is better known for giant malls and environmental cleanup projects. The city even gave White a 20-year tax abatement to encourage the project.

So how does a landlord lure young tenants with decent income? Why, with technology, of course! Besides being able to pay rent in crypto, renters can look forward to a keyless locking system (via the ButterflyMX app) and a virtual doorman.

Thus far, no tenant has taken up the offer to pay in crypto. It only has 10 units rented out so far; the certificate of occupancy was granted just last week. Still, as Silverman pointed out, “this isn’t about now, it’s about the future.”

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Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA was the founding editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.