From the Record:
The upscale high-rise in Hackensack where a parking garage collapsed Friday boasts fireplaces, a swimming pool, vaulted ceilings and views of Manhattan, amid one of Bergen County’s most expensive apartment rows.
But the path to its perch as a 203-unit edifice with rents surpassing $2,000 a month was far from a smooth one. Construction of its 18 stories atop a hill overlooking the expanse of North Jersey followed a boom-bust-boom saga that featured several owners and developers, a fight over a mountain of shale and years as a dangerous barbed-wire-encased eyesore that angered neighbors, kicked up dust storms and attracted swarms of bugs back in the 1990s.
The building was planned in the mid-1980s as part of a three-tower, 459-unit project on 1.6 acres during a frenetic period of upscale development on and near Prospect Avenue. Construction of the first tower was halted in 1989 because the developer could not sell the units as the real estate market went sour. The developer filed for bankruptcy the next year, according to city records, and plans for the two other towers also stalled.
In 1992, the project was taken over by the financing lender, which promptly failed and was taken over by federal investigators. The property was turned over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which sold it in 1994 to new developers. The first tower was completed in 1995, according to court records. But the project remained dormant for several more years, with city residents complaining about its sagging fence, tarpaulin-covered foundation and mosquito swarms. A 60,000-square-foot mountain of shale created during excavation generated dusty squalls or piles of mud, depending on the weather, prompting the city to sue to force its removal.