Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Reader's Request

To the reader who wanted photos of the unsecured building on North Avenue, here's the facade as captured last summer. This building has been in dilapidated condition since before I retired five years ago. I don't know why nothing more has been done than to secure the street-level front of the building.

This is what riders on the Raritan Valley Line see at the rear of the building.

Anybody can get inside through this basement entryway. When the Chotola building had squatters, I went inside and found piles of garbage, human excrement, beer and liquor containers and makeshift beds. At the time there was a series of smash-and-grab burglaries downtown in the early morning hours and I wondered whether the squatters were involved. I'm sure if I was brave or stupid enough to go inside this building, I would find similar conditions.
The stretch of historic facades between Gavett Place and Watchung Avenue was supposed to be acquired and stabilized for the North Avenue Historic District redevelopment project. Higher, modern buildings were to be built behind and above the historic ones. There is also a vacant former theater on that side that is open to the elements.
So far, the stabilization aspect of the proposal has not been addressed, for whatever reason. Meanwhile, other Landmark affiliate projects related to North Avenue will be up for Zoning Board of Adjustment and Planning Board hearings this week.
--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Jackie said...

From the train platform I saw a group of about six men standing around smoking and talking on the second floor of the condemned building in the middle of the block from Gavett to Watching. I believe that's the one you refer to as once a theater. You can see right through the building from the train platform, plus the rear roof and top of the back wall is crumbling away. While they have plywood over the front, there must be easy access from the back of the building.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Bill Hetfield said...

Would you kindly send photos and comments to Oscar Turk, Jenny Maier, council people, Mayor Briggs and of course the leader, ASS. Jerry Green. Better yet, do a feature story and get it published in the Courier News,Star Ledger and NY Times. Not a bad idea, if that would get the job done. Hope springs eternal.

2:57 PM  

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