NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Legal proceedings over the failure to complete renovations to a multi-tenant commercial property at the corner of South St. and Springfield Ave. are set to start tomorrow (Aug. 13) in Municipal Court.

Property owner New Providence Global Realty was issued a summons by a borough construction official on August 1. Stiff fines for failure to comply with a Planning Board directive could be assessed.

In late 2011, Global Realty received Planning Board approval of a site plan application with a directive that the applicant work with borough officials to establish a uniform facade, lighting and signage plan consistent with borough ordinances and design guidelines.

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While other work proceeded in a timely manner, it wasn’t until well over two years later that the issue of the unifying facade arose once again in February of this year at a Planning Board meeting.

Councilman and Board Member Gary Kapner said Global Realty had requested another extension on the facade. “They said they would begin construction by April 1 and complete it by August 1,” Kapner said.

Construction did begin which consisted mainly of removing the old facade leaving tenants with temporary signage that could charitably be called “ugly” and leaving a possible impression that many of the retail outlets were closed.

“This isn’t how I would have liked this to play out by any stretch of the imagination,” Kapner said referring to the summons and possible fines.

Tenants and residents have expressed concern over the construction delays according to Councilman Jim Madden. Although difficult to quantify, Madden said many tenants believe they’re losing business.

Kapner, Madden and Council Dr. Bob Robinson said they had heard from tenants that the property owner was blaming delays on slow approvals from the borough’s building department. “That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Madden said.

The 2011 site application sought Planning Board approval to divide the former McGrath’s Hardware Store to accommodate the expansion of China Fan, Daham Bagels and Deli and the addition of Strawberry Fields. The addition of a massage parlor was denied.