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

4 Months After Prospect Towers Problems, Many Issues Remain
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Hackensack Garage Collapse (credit: AP)

Hackensack Garage Collapse (credit: AP)

Lou Young headshot Lou Young
A native New Yorker, Lou Young joined CBS 2 in June 1994. He has...
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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.

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