N.J. Residents Still Can’t Go Home After Collapse

4 Months After Prospect Towers Problems, Many Issues Remain

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBS 2) — An 18-story apartment tower remains uninhabitable more than four months after a collapse undermined the structure.

And as CBS 2’s Lou Young reports, some residents are beginning to give up hope of ever moving back in.

The underground garage at Prospect Towers in Hackensack collapsed back in July, and in November, a hole still remains.

“They’re going to delay it further and further. I don’t know, maybe into the summer,” said evacuee Gita Verna.

The move-in date keeps shifting. It was Nov. 13, then Dec. 1, then Dec. 15, and now it’s the first of the new year, even as some residents had to spend Thanksgiving in temporary housing.

Lillian Cooper moved into her new apartment at nearby Excelsior Tower this week and said she plans to stay. It’s her fourth move since her evacuation.

“My moving is over. I’m finished. I’m not going anywhere,” she said.

That seemed to be the trend: residents no longer waiting for repairs and moving out for good. Moving crews have been busy here.

“Some are moving locally, some out of state, some people are just uneasy about staying in the building,” said Bill Lockwood of The Padded Wagon.

Gigi Anders said she planned to move back when she can but is tiring of the wait in her one-room kitchenette, even as she tries to keep her spirits up.

“I want to go home,” she said. “I’ve been wearing the same thing basically every day since July.  It’s not like fashion palace, and I am a fashion palace but not here.”

The evacuees know they’re lucky no one was hurt in the collapse but patience is wearing thin as the months drag on.  Some planning to return were already predicting additional delays.

“I guess we’ll probably be back I guess in March or April,” said evacuee Aisha Grant.

The repair work and code-upgrades were being reviewed by Hackensack. The city manager estimated all work at the site should be finished by spring.

More from Lou Young
Comments

One Comment

  1. FORMERPTRESIDENT says:

    As a former tenant, I had reluctantly walked away from the apartment that I loved so much because I never believed that we would be back in our homes in October. Now they say it is January. My best estimate is that it is late Spring at best. Honestly, the only good news is that NOBODY in the entire state is going to want to live in Prospect Towers again so if I decide to move back, I can get my $2800 a month apartment for $2000!!! Beggers can’t be choosers!
    BTW: I do feel sorry for my friends who didn’t walk away – who have been living in sub-standard temp. housing. That is NO way to live.

  2. j baldo says:

    I am one of the resident of Prospect Towers. I have been so upst over this situation we are being asked to move to into a construction site m
    We all have been patient but were never even given a reason for all of this. Yes they moved us to midrise but we pay rent for this and its not home. The ventaltion in the tower is horrible we should call epa thank you

    1. FORMERPTRESIDENT says:

      Please know that everybody who left PT is thinking of those of you who chose to stay – who believed them. I hope that they can get you back into your home soon – you deserve to be taken care of and to be happy IN YOUR HOME for Christmas! Also, if you honestly think that there is an odor or a ventilation issue, you should call the state of NJ or the county IMMEDIATELY. The last thing anybody needs is to get ill from whatever they’ve discovered that is keeps pushing the “move in” date back…

  3. fdsauifsaduisfadisfday says:

    these residents need to call lawyers and file a major lawsuit against the owner of the building every person that got displaced should get millisons of dollars and the building owner deserves to go bankrupt.
    i wouldnt want to go back to that building and the landlords deserves to lose all of the tenatns and go bankrupt.

    1. FORMERPTRESIDENT says:

      EQUITY RESIDENTIAL IS A PUBLICLY HELD COMPANY THEY ARE REPRESENTED BY THE BEST ATTORNEYS – THEY HAVE PAID FOR EVERYTHING POSSIBLE (IN THEIR VIEW) AND PROVING EMOTIONAL DISTRESS IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE. THERE ISN’T AN ATTORNEY WHO WILL TOUCH THIS CASE BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY WILL LOSE – AND THE ONE OR TWO WHO ARE ATTEMPTING TO GET INFORMATION ARE GETTING NOPLACE.

  4. Tasha says:

    This should be evident enough for displaced residents to cancel their lease agreement due to faulty construction.

  5. Former resident says:

    Residents of the first five floors cant get back into their apartments until April 2011 because of the excesive construction dust, vibration and other construction noise. Equity is essentially forcing them to be displaced again, to move to a temporary apartment until April 2011, and then move back to their apartment or to suck down construction dust as the heating system in each room is a glorifed ac/heater you find at cheap motels without adequate filtration of air.

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