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Building Completion in Downtown New Providence Remains Behind Schedule

Madelynne Kislovsky

Thursday, August 7, 2014 • 10:19pm

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A building complex in New Providence that was scheduled to be completed by Aug. 1 of this year remains unfinished.

This is due to weather, engineering problems and structural complications, according to the property manager at Rudder Realty, Bob Engle.

The building is located on the corner of Springfield Avenue and South Street. According to Engle, at least 30 to 40 days were lost on the engineering drawings, with about five days lost to weather. A contract had to be renegotiated due to the timely process of the engineering drawings as well.

“The building is very old, and there were a series of additions over the years. As a result, each part of the building is built differently. After opening it up on April 1, a lot of different structural problems were encountered, which required a structural engineer’s expertise," Engle said. “This was to ensure that the building would be safe for our tenants and the shoppers that visited, hence a considerable delay."

According to the Borough Administrator Doug Marvin, “The borough has worked very patiently with the building owner to have him fulfill his commitments to the renovation of the building. My understanding is that he has not fulfilled his responsibilities to ensure the project had been finished."

The building site had been visited on numerous occasions to ensure the work had been going as planned, but the project had either been lacking staff or resources, according to Marvin, who stated that he was unaware of any issues with the building that would cause delay. However, cinder blocks in the corner area of the complex were not as strong as they were hoped to be.

“We have to make sure everything is safe, and we needed a professional for that, and it took longer than we expected," Engle said.

“This is not new construction, when you go into old buildings and renovate the way we are, you uncover things," said Engle. The oldest part of this complex goes back as far as 1948, with the most recent additions added between 2006 and 2007, according to Engle.

"The Planning Board has worked very hard on this issue," said Councilman Gary Kapner, a Planning Board member. "Several extensions were granted to Mr. Engle. If he ran into problems, all he needed to do was come back to the Planning Board, explain the situation and ask for another extension. He failed to do so and failed to advise us of any problems. Instead, he chose to let the August 1 deadline slip by, to the detriment of the businesses in that shopping complex and to the borough itself that has had an eyesore in the center of town since demolition began on April 1."

Marvin said that Engle had been granted several extensions by the Planning Board.

“I noticed that they are working feverishly at this point to get the project done,” Marvin said.

Engle did not state when the complex would be completed. “I am fully confident in our ability to move forward," Engle said.

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