North Bergen is moving forward with plans to redevelop a portion of Bergenline Avenue.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution at the May 11 meeting declaring Bergenline Avenue between 85th and 87th streets as an Area in Need of Redevelopment, based on a redevelopment study previously authorized by the North Bergen Planning Board.
The area contains a vacant lot that has previously been approved for a mixed-use development, as well as a condominium building that has fallen into disrepair, and an adjoining retail space.
“This planned redevelopment will rehabilitate and revitalize an area that genuinely needs it through beautification efforts and infrastructure improvements, which will also result in increased tax revenue for the community and significant job creation,” said Janet Castro, Township Administrator. “Now that the commissioners have approved this designation we can move to the next stage of planning these improvements that will greatly benefit the local community as well as the township as a whole.”
The Mariah Condominiums
According to the redevelopment study, 8515 Bergenline Avenue currently contains a five-story, 20-unit residential building known as the Mariah Condominiums constructed in 1950. The building has had multiple, ongoing reports of non-functional basic utilities such as heat, hot water, an elevator that has been non-functional for years, and multiple fire safety violations which have remained outstanding for more than a year.
The township has been forced to address a number of these life and safety issues, such as paying to repair the chimney and boiler. These costs were then assessed as liens against the owners of the building, however they have not been paid and the total amount of the liens currently exceeds $30,000. The property also currently has a lien from the North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority in excess of $100,000 due to nonpayment of water fees.
The building’s condition continues to deteriorate, with visual signs of structural problems, and the township regularly receives numerous complaints illustrating a pattern of sanitary, safety, and accessibility violations that have not been corrected by the property owners. These include, but are not limited to, a lack of heat and hot water, a need for chimney and boiler repairs, infestations of mice and roaches, a lack of preventive maintenance and testing of fire alarms, extinguishers, etc., combustibles near an egress, and a non-operational elevator.
The township contends ongoing negligence in maintaining basic facilities has created an unwholesome, unsafe, and unsanitary living environment for residents. Township officials are considering condemnation proceedings on this property alone in order to facilitate redevelopment of the entire parcel.
The rest of the redevelopment area
The other properties included in the Area in Need of Redevelopment include 8619 Bergenline Avenue and 8505 Bergenline Avenue.
According to the township, 8619 Bergenline Avenue is an undeveloped lot that has been approved for a 10-story, mixed-use development with two ground floor commercial spaces, garage parking, and upper floor residential units.
Meanwhile, 8505 Bergenline Avenue contains two attached commercial retail buildings, including a two-story and one-story building.
All three properties abut James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park, facing eastward toward New York City.
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