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Demolition begins on Paterson Armory to make way for luxury apartments

The Record, Bergen County logo The Record, Bergen County 4/23/2019 Joe Malinconico

PATERSON — Neighborhood resident Al Harris tilted his head back to watch demolition workers standing on a boom lift, more than 40 feet above the sidewalk, use a crowbar to pry bricks from the remaining façade section of the Paterson Armory.

“That should have been torn down a long time ago,” Harris said after the demolition began Monday morning.

The Paterson Armory, which once was a thriving center for athletic and community events, has stood dark and empty for decades, a vacant building that seemed to symbolize the city’s demise.

Paterson officials are hoping that the 138-unit, $15 million luxury apartment complex planned for the Market Street site someday will represent the city's revival. The streets around the armory currently are plagued by gangs and violence, including two shooting incidents that happened in the area on Sunday.

a building made out of stone © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc.

“We’re not only going to redevelop the site, but we’re going to transform the neighborhood,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh.

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Much of the armory was destroyed in a 2015 fire. The demolition of the remainder of the building will take about a month, a project being tackled in small pieces instead of with the dramatic effect of a wrecking ball.

“They’re doing it this way for safety,” said Councilman Luis Velez, who lives a few blocks from the site.

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The city has entered a $198,000 demolition contract with Super LLC of Haledon. Velez said the firm is going to try to save some of the bricks from the historic structure so they can be used in the new building.

Prominent Paterson developer Charles Florio agreed to buy the armory site from the city for $3 million last year. Florio said he expects the new complex to open in 2021.

Email: editor@patersonpress.com

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This article originally appeared on North Jersey Record: Demolition begins on Paterson Armory to make way for luxury apartments

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