Carteret, NJ – Mayor Daniel J. Reiman announced today that the unfinished structure at 35 Cooke Avenue will be demolished this week. The news has been a great relief to Borough residents, whose cityscape has been blighted by the skeletal girder framework since 2001.
For many years the property played host to the former “Carteret Auto Parts.” It was acquired in 2000 by the Dashmesh Dunbar Gudwara, a local religious organization that had intended to build a 20,000 square foot temple there. Carteret’s previous administration approved the project, even though it lacked all of the 160 parking spaces required by code. It has remained a health and safety concern to local planning officials since construction stalled in 2001. An attempt to revitalize the property failed in 2003.
In 2005 and 2006, the N.J Department of Environmental Protection issued No Further Action Letters related to the removal of several underground storage tanks from the property. Since then, Mayor Reiman and the Borough Council, working with the Borough’s Redevelopment Agency, have acquired the property and work is in progress by the Administration to resolve minor environmental issues that have since been discovered as part of the Borough’s due diligence assessment prior to acquisition, none of which will affect the expected end use of the property. Copies of existing, comprehensive environmental reports are available for review.
Earlier this summer the Redevelopment Agency received 10 bids for the demolition of the structure, which is expected to began last month. The Mayor and Council have also announced that beginning in September, the Redevelopment Agency will be accepting bids for the purchase and private development of 35 Cooke Avenue for residential use. The Redevelopment Agency has completed preliminary designs for the construction of 30 2-bedroom condominiums, which according to local planning studies will help address an existing shortage of housing for young professionals.