JOKE IF YOU WANT ABOUT NEW JERSEY, BUT WHEN IT COMES to selling high-density waterfront housing, few can match the Landings at Harborside in Perth Amboy. The first phase of 78 homes of the project's 2,100-unit master plan sold out in 10 days, thanks largely to an innovative sales and design center created from a forsaken naval training center on site.

Using a little more than half of the building's 17,000-square-foot shell (the balance serves the construction operations), New York architects Liebman Melting Partnership constructed an indoor streetscape of the project's mixed-use plan to help prospective buyers envision its new urban concept in full scale before the actual structures took shape. Each storefront façade, finished with the same exterior materials as their future counterparts, leads to a private sales office. Beyond the retail sector are two fully decorated condominium model homes as well as a product display wall and design center. At the front door prospects can view a scale model of the $600 million project and enjoy a 7.5-minute virtual reality video before heading back to the streetscape. “It gives [prospects] a feeling of what the actual buildings and project will be like,” says John Sims, president of Builder Marketing Services in Long Valley, N.J., who heads up the marketing and sales effort.

Opened in May, the $1.7 million sales and design center attracted 500 invitees (mostly suburban empty-nesters) garnered from advertising inquiries through a toll-free number. The developer plans to use the sales center through 2012 to support a pace of up to 200 sales per year and then replace it with waterfront townhouses.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Project: Sales and design center, Landings at Harborside, Perth Amboy, N.J.; Developer: Westminster Communities (division of Kushner Cos.), Florham Park, N.J.; Cost: $1.7 million; Architect: Liebman Melting Partnership, New York; Marketing/Sales agency: Builder Marketing Services Co., Long Valley, N.J.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: New York, NY.