Real Estate

Paramus, N.J.: Low Taxes and Lots of Shopping

For a long time, customers from miles round have flocked to the mega malls and numerous strip facilities of Paramus, N.J., making the Bergen County borough a regional retail hub. But for the 26,000 residents who already reside there, one of the best half about all these companies is that they carry lots of the property tax burden, giving householders a break.

“One of the main draws for Paramus buyers are the low taxes,” mentioned Lisa Sammataro, a Keller Williams actual property agent in Ridgewood.

The tax charges had been half of the explanation that Vincent Giordano, 37, a mortgage dealer, and his spouse, Jayme, 34, a former music trainer, purchased a home in Paramus in 2017, a colonial for which they paid $645,000. The couple, who grew up in northern New Jersey and now have three younger youngsters, had been additionally on the lookout for an acceptable place to lift their household.



“When we looked at towns in the area, obviously we liked the low taxes in Paramus,” Mr. Giordano mentioned. “And it seems to have good schools.”

Hoda Abdulla, 31, and Mehdi Ballouchy, 37, additionally had household in thoughts after they moved to Paramus in 2018, paying $711,000 for a Sixties split-level on a cul-de-sac. Ms. Abdulla, who works in digital advertising and marketing, and Mr. Ballouchy, an expert soccer coach, had lived in a number of locations, together with Vancouver, when Mr. Ballouchy performed professionally. They liked metropolis residing, however started trying to suburbia after their daughter, now 4, was born.

“Once we had a child, we needed more space for her to play and explore,” Ms. Abdulla mentioned. They selected Paramus partially as a result of it felt extra numerous than another elements of Bergen County. Mr. Ballouchy was born in Morocco and Ms. Abdulla is of Egyptian descent, and “it was really important for us,” she mentioned, that their daughter “didn’t feel she was different from her classmates.”

Last summer season, distressed over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ms. Abdulla launched a Facebook group referred to as Progressive Paramus Women of Color and Allies; the group now has near 300 members. “I feel pride in how we’ve all come together,” she mentioned.

But this can be a time of transition for Paramus, as its procuring facilities compete not solely with on-line retailers but in addition with American Dream, the huge new retail and leisure heart in close by East Rutherford. At Paramus Park mall, a Sears was not too long ago changed by a Stew Leonard’s meals retailer. And two Lord & Taylor shops in Paramus closed when the chain went out of business; no choices have been introduced about what is going to exchange them.

Seeing shoppers’ curiosity in walkable communities, the borough’s largest mall, Westfield Garden State Plaza, has proposed changing some of its parking heaps with multifamily housing, eating places, a lodge, places of work and inexperienced area. And the borough is getting a significant well being care funding, with the development of a 372-bed hospital by the Valley Hospital of Ridgewood. Richard LaBarbiera, Paramus’s mayor, mentioned that some properties close to the brand new hospital — together with one of the empty Lord & Taylor shops — could possibly be repurposed for medical use.

While Mr. LaBarbiera predicted that retail would stay robust within the borough, he added, “Paramus has always done a great job of adapting to market needs.”

Paramus, about 19 miles northwest of Times Square, covers 10.5 sq. miles and is usually a single-family housing market, largely developed after World War II, when former celery and lettuce farms had been blanketed with subdivisions of split-levels, ranches, Cape Cods and bi-levels.

In latest years, builders have razed many of these homes and changed them with bigger ones that promote for $1 million or extra — just like the one which Saleha Ahmed, 46, a hospital administrator, and Faiz Kareem, 48, a gross sales supervisor for a well being upkeep group, purchased after they moved to Paramus from Teaneck in 2019 with their daughter, now 11. The couple had been on the lookout for new development and a bigger property.

The new colonial-style home they discovered on a quarter-acre lot value $1.1 million. “We picked Paramus because we felt it was still close enough to the city, and diverse enough for us,” Ms. Ahmed mentioned.

Developers typically snap up lower-priced properties, mentioned Rocio Hernandez, a Paramus resident and an actual property agent with Coldwell Banker, in Ridgewood. That means starter houses are scarce. And longtime householders have a tendency to remain put, protecting housing stock low. “You don’t want to move from the town because the taxes are so low,” Ms. Hernandez mentioned.

As of early April, the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service confirmed 24 houses on the market in Paramus, from a four-bedroom Cape Cod in-built 1949, listed for $449,000, to an expanded six-bedroom split-level with an hooked up skilled office, in-built 1952 on an acre, listed for $2.25 million.

As the pandemic has made suburban residing extra engaging to many metropolis dwellers, house costs and gross sales quantity have risen over the previous year, in line with the a number of itemizing service. In the 12 months ending on March 15, 299 houses bought in Paramus, up 26 % from the earlier 12 months. Prices jumped 10 % over the identical interval, to a median of $700,000.

Young households flock to the zoo and the practice journey at Van Saun County Park, on the east facet of the borough, whereas bikers, runners and walkers typically favor the paths at Saddle River County Park, a linear park that runs north-south alongside the Saddle River by means of Paramus and 5 different areas.

Golfers have their selection of 4 programs between Route 17 and Paramus Road: the Paramus municipal course; those at Arcola Country Club and Ridgewood Country Club; and the nine-hole Orchard Hills course, on the grounds of Bergen Community College.

Paramus doesn’t have a walkable downtown; as an alternative, residents store, dine or go to the flicks on the malls and within the pedestrian-friendly procuring districts of Ridgewood or Westwood.

Out-of-towners typically get mired within the site visitors created by the procuring facilities, however locals search out detours. “When you live in Paramus, you learn to travel the side streets,” Ms. Hernandez mentioned.

Bergen County limits retail exercise on Sundays, protecting many mall companies closed. Over the years, proposals to vary which have ignited robust opposition amongst Paramus residents who need a break from the site visitors.

About 3,800 college students attend Paramus’s eight public colleges — 5 elementary colleges, two center colleges serving fifth by means of eighth grade, and Paramus High School. The colleges’ inhabitants is about 53 % white, 30 % Asian, 13 % Hispanic and 1.5 % Black. Languages spoken at house embrace Spanish, Korean, Gujarati and Arabic.

On the 2018-19 SAT checks, Paramus High School college students averaged 574 in studying and writing and 590 in math, in contrast with state averages of 539 and 541. About 90 % of the category of 2019 continued on to school.

There are two non secular secondary colleges within the borough: Paramus Catholic High School, a coeducational college based in 1965, and the Frisch School, a Modern Orthodox Jewish college based in 1971.

The primary campus of Bergen Community College, the most important group school in New Jersey, is in Paramus.

Paramus shouldn’t be on a practice line, however a number of New Jersey Transit buses serve commuters. During peak journey instances, Bus No. 165 runs specific to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, a visit that takes about 50 minutes and prices $6 a method. At off-peak instances, buses run by means of close by areas into the town, a journey that takes round 90 minutes.

Privately run minibuses journey alongside Route 4 to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, in Washington Heights.

Those preferring to drive like Paramus’s location on the confluence of the Garden State Parkway, Route 4 and Route 17, which places surrounding counties inside commuting vary. The drive to Midtown Manhattan takes about half-hour with out site visitors, however will be for much longer at rush hour.

The Bergen County Isolation Hospital opened in 1916 in Paramus to quarantine sufferers with polio, tuberculosis and different contagious ailments. Families had been discouraged from visiting sufferers, a hardship that echoes within the age of Covid-19, greater than a century later. The hospital’s identify was later modified to Bergen Pines, in honor of the 1,000 pine bushes donated to the campus by a Masonic lodge in Hackensack. The hospital, now referred to as Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, continues to be owned by Bergen County and is New Jersey’s largest public hospital, with greater than 1,000 hospital and nursing-home beds.

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