Real Estate

Landmark Water Tower Along Route 206 Torn Down and Dismantled

The water tower on the ground Wednesday morning. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Looking like a satellite that came crashing to Earth, the late afternoon sun on Wednesday casts an eerie glow on the top of the water tower which is being cut up for scrap. Credits: Rod Hirsch
The water tower just three hours before it tumbled to the ground Credits: Rod Hirsch
Work crews use heavy equipment to rip apart the steel legs and support beams. Credits: Rod Hirsch
The water tower was quickly reduced to a pile of scrap steel Credits: Rod Hirsch
Workers begin a visual inspection of the steel structure on Monday, 24 hours before the tower was leveled. Credits: Rod Hirsch
A private airplane from nearby Central Jersey Airport flies over the tower on Monday. Credits: Rod Hirsch
A 700,000 square-foot logistics center will be built at Veterans Industrial Park in Hillsborough by a Los Angeles commercial real estate developer.
The water tower looms over the devastation left behind by the February, 2016 fire that destroyed 500,000 square feet of warehouse space at Veterans Industrial Park. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
Fire spreads through the warehouse complex at Veterans Industrial Park in February, 2016. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
The water tower is shrouded by the thick black smoke that spread for more than 50 miles during the February, 2016 warehouse fire at Veterans Industrial Park. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Looming over the former GSA complex along Route 206 since World War II, the water storage tower had grown obsolete years ago.

It had always been a roost for pigeons, hawks and other birds of prey, affording an expansive view of the township, nearby Manville and beyond. In more recent years, it had sprouted an odd assortment of satellite dishes and repeaters used by emergency services and commercial interests.

The landmark had long been a reference point for out-of-town truckers and millions of motorists who drove north and south on the state highway. 

Sign Up for E-News

The faded blue steel structure had stood as a sentry and witness to history, until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night when the massive structure tumbled to the ground in the midst of a pelting rain, accompanied by a racket that sounded as if a freight train had derailed.

Work crews had been preparing the site for more than a week, clearing out trees and fences where the tower would fall.  Sparks began to fly at dusk Tuesday as workers used cutting torches to weaken the support beams.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, the tower’s support beams were a twisted mass of rusting steel; the huge water tank sat on its side, with gaping holes caused by the huge cutting shears of the heavy-duty equipment brought in to clean up the jumbled pile of struts and beams.

The demolition of the rusted tower at Veterans Industrial Park is part of a reclamation project at the sprawling warehouse complex following a massive fire in February, 2016 that leveled two warehouses at the property owned by the US Veterans Administration.

It took 19 hours before the massive blaze was declared under control, with hundreds of firefighters from more than 90 companies as far away as Pennsylvania helping to contain the blaze, which sent billowing black clouds of smoke out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Investigators from the federal government, New Jersey, Somerset County and Hillsborough spent months sifting through the rubble and conducting interviews in an attempt to determine the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $50 million in losses. They were unable to pinpoint the cause, although the official investigation ruled out any criminal intent.

Work crews have been busting up the concrete slabs of the old warehouses, crushing and recycling the material which is now being used as part of the foundation and new footprint for a planned 700,000 square-foot Class A industrial building to be known as Midpoint Logistics Center.

The new complex is being developed by Industrial Realty Group, located in Los Angeles, a national commercial real estate development and investment firm. The CBRE Group has been retained as the leasing agency for the property. A small CBRE billboard at the entrance of the property advertises the availability of   leases to multiple tenants.

Construction has yet to begin.

The federal government bought the property in the early days of World War II, and soon, a sprawling complex of warehouses and storage facilities spread across the expansive 369-acre property; more than 2,500 people worked at the facility, in addition to military personnel.

Prisoners of War from Italy, and later Germany were housed in the barracks; on Sundays, there were supervised picnics on the grounds, with Italian relatives from Manville and surrounding towns invited to spend the day with the POWs.

In later years, the federal government stored precious metals on the secured site, while continuing to add to its stockpile of mercury stored at what had become known as the Defense Logistics Agency Depot. The federal government stored about 12,500 55-gallon drums of mercury at the site during World War II and continued adding to it over the years.

Hillsborough was finally able to convince the government to remove the mercury in December, 2010; the stockpile was transported by rail to Nevada.

Portions of the original property were purchased by Hillsborough Township and Somerset County in 2009 when it was declared government surplus.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Missing: Have You Seen Duchess?

November 20, 2017

PLAINFIELD, NJ -Have you seen Duchess? Duchess is white with a black patch on her face and is a pit mix.

Duchess was LOST on October 27 in Plainfield near S 2nd Street and Rock Avenue. 

For more info or to contact Duchess's owner, click here.

 

Upcoming Events

Fri, November 24, 10:00 AM

The Red Mill Museum Village, Clinton

Festival of Trees

Arts & Entertainment Education Home & Garden Other

Carousel_image_cb9a920305b795f18b7d_xmas4

Sat, December 2, 10:00 AM

Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge

Friends of Lord Stirling Stable Winter Holiday ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Carousel_image_cb9a920305b795f18b7d_xmas4

Sun, December 3, 10:00 AM

Lord Stirling Stable, Basking Ridge

Friends of Lord Stirling Stable Winter Holiday ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

40th Annual Festival Of Trees Begins December 1

November 22, 2017

 

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center will present Somerset County’s most creative and beautiful winter spectacular, the 40th Annual Festival of Trees at the Environmental Education Center located at 190 Lord Stirling Road in Basking Ridge.

The 40th Festival of Trees opens to the public on Saturday, Dec. 2 and will remain ...

Clinton's Festival of Trees

CLINTON, NJ - This Festival of Trees annual holiday favorite returns to the Red Mill Museum Village here on Friday, Nov. 24 just in time for the holiday season.

The Festival features a beautiful display of decorated trees, wreaths and centerpieces that are available to win through the raffle.

The Festival opens the day after Thanksgiving, which is also the same weekend as the Clinton ...

The First Holiday Season Without Your Person — Making a Plan, Checking it Twice

If you are facing your first holiday after an important person in your life has died, it’s not too early to come up with a plan. Watching others who are feeling thankful and are celebrating when we feel overwhelmed, lonely or sad can be very painful. Holidays force us to realize how much our lives have been changed by the loss of our loved one.   

The first step in coping ...

Obituaries

- Oct 26, 2017
Robert N. Merkle – Plainfield Robert N. Merkle, 88, died Thursday, (October 26, 2017) at ...
Read more

Parting Advice from Four Decades on the Front Lines of Local News

November 11, 2017

In February 1978 I walked into the office of The Rahway News-Record and Clark Patriot to begin what I thought was to be a short-term job stepping stone. 

Instead, it turned out to be a nearly 40-year odyssey in local journalism—including the last eight—overwhelmingly great—years with The Alternative Press (TapInto.Net).

I have decided it is time to spend more time in ...

Somerville Approves Free Downtown Parking During Holiday Season

November 21, 2017

SOMERVILLE, NJ - As expected, the Borough Council last night continued its longstanding holiday tradition of waiving parking fees between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to help boost retail traffic in the downtown area.

The resolution, which passed unanimously, waives parking fees in Lots 1, 2, 4 and 6. A pre-existing holiday and weekend parking ordinance was amended to include Lot 4 ...

Third Suspect in Somerville Shooting Surrenders to Police

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The third suspect wanted in connection with a shooting on the south side of Somerville on Oct. 26 has surrendered to police, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Joseph N. Wright, 25, of Schindler Terrace, Bridgewater, has been charged with first degree attempted murder, second degree possession of a firearm, second degree unlawful possession of a ...

A Somerset Hills Tradition, Colonial Christmas at Vanderveer House, Kicks Off Late

BEDMINSTER, NJ - The 15th annual Colonial Christmas celebration at the historic Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum off Route 206, will be open to the public for the next two weekends, Nov. 25-26, and Dec. 2-3. The event will be open daily during both weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All invited to tree lighting next Friday evening

The festivities are due to kick off with a tree ...

Couple Faces Weapons Charges After Arrest at Route 22 Motel

SOMERVILLE, NJ - A Manville couple has been arrested and face multiple weapons and assault charges following an incident at a Route 22 hotel in Bridgewater, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Justin M. Matthews, 37, and Deborah L. Nickerson, 35, both of Brooks Boulevard in Manville are being held in Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Robertson ...

Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the Sandbox Cafe in Surf City

November 22, 2017

SURF CITY - All are invited to attend a free thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.  The dinner will be held on Thanksgiving Day from 12-5 p.m. at the Sandbox Cafe, Surf City location. 

 

 

 

The address is 1403 Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City.