Tenants Displaced by Garage Collapse Still Waiting

Tenants displaced by a parking garage collapse in northern New Jersey this summer will have to wait until next month to return to their high-rise apartments.

Hackensack officials had hoped to reopen the 18-story Prospect Towers by Nov. 15.

But they now say that won’t happen until at least Dec. 1.

City Construction Official Joseph Mellone told The Record that the building’s owners are doing all they can to finish the electrical and plumbing repairs and other related work. But he says the job cannot be completed this month.

“They are pushing to get everything done, and our job is to make sure everything is done and working properly,” Mellone told the newspaper. “We’d love to get everyone in, but we are not going to rush anything.”

The building’s more than 300 residents have been staying with family or friends or at area hotels since the collapse occurred.

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.

Mellone said a new fire alarm system has been installed in the building, and city inspectors must make sure it’s working properly.

He also said building officials must tell the city how many units will be occupied. This is needed because less parking will be available while the garage is undergoing repairs, meaning the building can’t be fully occupied.

Mellone said a new entrance for the building also needs to be determined, because the front door is not accessible while the garage repairs are under way.

All repairs are expected to be completed by March 2011.