Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More on North Avenue Building Collapse

Demolition may begin as early as this evening on an 1886 building in the North Avenue Commercial Historic District and could take a week or more. The demolition was ordered after a parapet collapsed, raining down bricks on the sidewalk across from the main train station. The view here is from the station platform.
A large street lamp had to be removed and utility workers continued Wednesday afternoon to seal off gas and electric service. At the rear, telephone wires must be removed before Oveter's Construction can begin dismantling the building.

Here is the head of the "cobra" lamp that was taken down.

This chimney at the rear of the building shows signs of collapse. Businesses on the block will be forced to close until the demolition is complete.
Taxis cannot park in front of the train station while the demolition takes place. North Avenue will be closed from Gavett Place to Watchung Avenue.
Several years ago, Oveter's took down a city-owned building at the corner of Gavett and North. It turned out to have a "party wall" with the building next door. Here, a fireplace mantel can be seen still stuck to the party wall. The wall was eventually cleared and gaps were filled with concrete. The building now in question is between two others, raising concerns about how the demolition will affect them. Plans call for demolition to start from the rear of the building.
While demolition of the corner building marred the streetscape, it was not as glaring as removal of a central building will be. The site was promised redevelopment during the administration of former Mayor Mark Fury, with former NBA star Jayson Williams as developer. Later Landmark Developers received approvals to redevelop the district, but refocused on individual buildings on Park Avenue, East Second Street and the vacant lot on Gavett Place created by the previous demolition.
Plaintalker will be following the story as details unfold. Check the Courier News for Mark Spivey's expert coverage.
--Bernice Paglia

4 Comments:

Blogger Jackie said...

I'm just curious ... since I've been in town and using the railroad station, I've noticed that sometime in recent years the front of the buildings on North Avenue (where this building is and on the next block) were all rehabbed. Yet the backs of the buildings on both blocks remained rundown. Why is that?

The rear of the building in question collapsed in the corner along with a good portion of the roof at least five years ago. Had it been in the front, the building would have been down before now.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Bernice said...

I think somebody painted over the facades and picked out all the details, but nothing was done to the structures. Probably at one point they were all brick and terra cotta and maybe should not have been painted over like wooden Victorian "painted ladies." I had to go down that alleyway for a homicide story several years ago and it was a disaster back there. I wish Inspections was able to be more proactive to save what's left of our historic stock.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BAck in the 1980's someonetried to make condo's called the "Chocato" as I recall. Another crash and burn idea by City Hall

GB

9:45 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Bernice:
I wish Inspections was able to be more proactive to save what's left of our historic stock.

-- That said it all. I am not a building inspector or zoning inspector, nor do I play either on TV. When I used the train station and you could see through those windows and see the building completely exposed to the sky above, I was able to figure out this was going to happen. If my city, in a fictional world, or rather...in the real world, cause this is how it works every BUT Plainfield, when you have buildings in central business and historic districts and the owners refuse to keep them safe from neglect you fine them into the grave, take the building and give it to someone who WILL take care of it and redevelop it. This sad event is yet another example of this and THE PAST administration ( for all you who think I ONLY post Anti-Assistant Mayor Sharon comments ) failing to have the guts to do what the city needs. If this city was the patient, and those in city government were the doctor...the city would be dead. Failure to do what's necessary.
Shame...and this wasn't exactly a "fast moving event"...it happened over the 7years that I have lived here..guess I was one of the few people who saw it coming.

4:23 AM  

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