East Orange, NJ: A long time vacant and widely thought to be abandoned building collapsed today with no known injuries. The building's front and back facades stand while the middle of the edifice is collapsed.
The City's Public Information Office released the following statement: "A four-story building under construction at 89 North Arlington collapsed today at approximately 5:45 pm, [Saturday, February 22, 2020]. There are no reported injuries at this time. The adjacent properties at 352 and 356 William Street, as well as 81 North Arlington Avenue, were evacuated as a safety precaution. NJ Transit is providing bus warming stations to evacuated residents, who are currently being transferred to the nearby East Orange YMCA. The cause of the collapse is under investigation."
Shortly after ringing in 2020, owners of 89 North Arlington began construction to restore the four-story site into a residential rental development. Over the last few weeks, contractors could be seen installing window framing and carrying boards inside.
The restoration of 89 North Arlington is one of about two-hundred or so occurring throughout the city. East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green and the City Council have a commitment to reduce abandonment. They have been putting legal pressure on owners to restore vacant property in disrepair. East Orange is currently using the State's Vacant and Abandoned Property Act in a collaborative departmental effort. The City's Policy, Planning, and Economic Development, Legal, and Property Maintenance departments are working to chip away at the amount of vacant and abandoned properties in all wards.
History of the structure at 89 North Arlington Ave.: The building located adjacent to Rowley Park, a few blocks from City Hall and the East Orange Train Station is remembered by locals to have once been a rooming home. At one time, the building was also known as the Eden House, a 33 unit building advertised to be a retirement home and assisted living facility for the elderly. In the early and mid 1900s, the structure used to be the Marlborough Hotel. Photos of the hotel in 1910 were displayed in a book by Bill Hart titled East Orange in Vintage Postcards. The book cited the owner of the building to once be the Rockefeller Hotel Company. This building was also said to be a hotel in the 1955 East Orange High School Year Book.