Tenants displaced by garage collapse still waiting

November 26, 2010 4:16:01 AM PST
Tenants displaced by a parking garage collapse in northern New Jersey this summer will have to wait a little longer to return to their luxury high-rise apartments.

Hackensack officials had hoped to reopen the 18-story Prospect Towers by Dec. 1. But they now say that won't happen until at least Dec. 15.

City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono told The Record that minor construction work still needs to be completed, such as lighting fixtures and repairing holes in sheetrock. Once that is finished, city inspectors will check all common areas and every unit in the building to make sure all problems have been cirrected.

"We are going to be absolutely sure that we have enforced every code, and every safety and fire issue has been addressed," Lo Iacono said. "When they go back into that building they will know that they will be in a safe environment."

Officials say only a limited number of building units - about 60 - will be allowed to be occupied until all parking spaces become available. Lo Iacono said that's because work to repair the parking garage likely won't be completed until March.

No one was injured when a 20-foot long steel and plexiglass canopy and two floors of the three-level garage partially collapsed July 16. A second section came down a day later, severing utility lines.

Officials say the cause of the collapse still isn't known.

Many of the building's more than 300 residents have been staying in furnished units at other high-rise complexes in the Hackensack area since the collapse occurred.

They have been paying reduced rents for those units, and Equity Residential - which owns Prospect Towers - recently said it would extend those temporary leases until the first week of January.

All repairs at Prospect Towers are expected to be completed by March 2011.

Information from: The Record, http://www.northjersey.com

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