Officials, Residents Want to See Demolition of Burned Out Building
Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Councilman Tim Occhipinti provided an update on the situation on the corner of First and Jackson Streets.
The owner of the former Nardine's Restaurant, which burned down in December, will have to comply with the city's request to demolish at least part of the building by March 3, according to an update on the matter from Mayor Dawn Zimmer, before the city will have to step in and do the work itself.
On Jan. 3, the owner of the building—Esmat Zaklama, who also owns the lot across the street—was given a notice to partially demolish the building, to keep the structure from collapsing. On Jan. 9 he was told to remove unsafe debris from the site, according to city documents.
Councilman Tim Occhipinti, who represents the area where the building stands on First and Jackson Streets, said he would like to see a small park be built there, as well as across the street.
"The city should be looking to acquire this land," Occhipinti said in a phone interview late last week. "Eventually," he continued, "I'd like to see a pocket park where the building burned down."
In her memo, Zimmer wrote that the city is ready to step in and do the work if the owner of the building doesn't meet the deadline.
"As a resident of the neighborhood," Zimmer wrote, "I understand how frustrating the slow progress has been."
In early January, a safety fence was installed by the city after Zaklama didn't complete the work and the side walk has been re-opened. But still, local officials and residents alike say they would like to see the site cleaned up.
"If this structure existed anywhere else in Hoboken, it would have been demolished," one resident wrote in an email. "This is a serious health and safety issue for our neighborhood."