Jason Halpern of JMH Development on Modernizing Historic Districts While Preserving Historic Integrity

Jason Halpern is an independent real estate developer who has made a name for himself by modernizing old buildings, all while preserving their statuses as historic landmarks. Halpern gets excited about the idea of taking old buildings and refurbishing them for the modern era, with new amenities and modern technology. However, Halpern and JMH Development distinguish themselves by not only modernizing these old buildings, but mainly by doing so in a way that preserves its historic integrity (and any federal, state, or city landmark status) as well as improves the financials of the building.

Personally, Halpern loves to walk through historic districts and take in the beauty and sense of the past. This appreciation for antiquity and historic character is partially what informs Halpern’s steadfast belief that as a developer, he needs to walk the line between modernization and preservation. 

Halpern commonly quips, “I’m not just a developer, I’m a preservationist.” 

Halpern and JMH Development have an impressive ability to preserve the integrity of a building and its neighborhood all while impressing investors and potential buyers with their buildings’ high-quality improvements, luxurious amenities, innovative technology, and strong financials. 

One of Halpern’s most impressive projects of this kind is the renovation of the Brooklyn waterfront warehouse at 184 Kent Avenue. After JMH’s work, this warehouse, which was built in 1913 by skyscraper pioneer Cass Gilbert and was the original home to the Austin Nichols Company, is now home to 340 luxury rental apartments, 20,000 square feet of landscaped courtyard, and 10,000 square feet of amenities, including a modern gym with views of the East River. Halpern was able to turn this building into the model of modernity without sacrificing any of its authentic historic character. 

Halpern does not merely preserve the historic look of his developments, he also preserves or secures an official landmark status for them at either the city, state, or federal level; 184 Kent is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Further, as a testament to Halpern’s drive to improve upon historic communities while preserving their integrity, the 184 Kent project won the Building Brooklyn Award in 2011, which was awarded by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in order to recognize development companies who have completed a new project that improves the neighborhood.

Halpern and JMH Developments do not only revitalize historic districts in New York City. JMH Developments was responsible for the purchase of the historic motel Ankara as well as the renovation of the existing structure, turning it into a 235 key select Service Starwood Alfot Hotel. Halpern’s newly renovated development in the heart of South Beach, Miami sits at eight stories and offers larger sized rooms than most hotels on the beach. Due to the quality of the design, its modern amenities, its striking beauty, and its competitive rates, the Aloft South Beach was the winner of the 2015 Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) Award as the Select/Limited Service Development of the year. 

Halpern and his team are not only the best in the business, but they are extremely versatile. Beyond large Brooklyn warehouses and luxury Miami hotels on the beach, JMH Developments have experience renovating and modernizing historic townhouses. The Townhouses of Cobble Hill is a collection of nine luxury townhouses originally constructed in the mid-1800s and situated in one of Brooklyn’s most historic and desirable neighborhoods. These four newly renovated historic townhomes and five newly constructed homes all feature the high-quality architecture of Morris Adjmi Architects and luxurious finishes. Upon completion in the summer of 2015, every townhome was purchased due to their historic authenticity, state-of-the-art amenities, and sound economics.

Honoring his previous accomplishments and strong roots in Brooklyn, Halpern is also responsible for the luxury residences at 70 Henry. The 70 Henry project is yet another example of Halpern’s and JMH’s ability to develop buildings in historic districts in a way that compliments the existing feel of the neighborhood as well as embraces modernity. This project, which also boasts the cutting-edge design of Morris Adjmi offers five luxury residences, a maisonette, several full-floor residences, and an expansive penthouse with a private roof deck perfect for entertaining as well as quarantining. 70 Henry is located in the famed historic district of Brooklyn Heights and was unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in June of 2015. 

Clearly, Jason Halpern and JMH Developments do not only have an affinity for modernizing historic districts, but they also are extremely successful doing so in a way that preserves the landmark status of these buildings and the historic integrity of the neighborhood. Jason Halpern prides himself on his ability to do justice to the character and authenticity of the past while also incorporating all of the benefits of modern technology. Further, JMH Developments is able to do so all while giving a quality return for their investors. Surely, Jason Halpern and JMH Developments have upcoming projects that will continue to modernize yet preserve historic districts. 


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