Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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.
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.