NJ -Former headquarters of The Record newspaper and Naval Museum slated for demolition
Published by John on
The former headquarters of The Record newspaper, once housed at 150 River St. in Hackensack, is slated for demolition. Naval museum on newspaper property evicted
Representatives from Macromedia Inc., the company that owns the building, said demolition is expected in September, once asbestos is fully removed from the buildings and necessary permits are obtained. The property is being cleared to make way for a luxury, mixed-use development. “The last step in demolition will be tearing down the building in September 2018,” said Bob Sommer, a spokesman for Macromedia.
But as plans to redevelop the property move forward, the future of the New Jersey Naval Museum, a longtime tenant of the same 20-acre parcel, is unclear. Museum officials, whose lease was terminated in 2016, agreed to vacate the property by Aug. 14, after being served an eviction notice. But they say they have nowhere else to go. That is also true for the USS Ling, a 300-foot-long World War II-era submarine that was once the museum’s main attraction and is moored off the property’s waterfront, where it will remain. “You have go to wherever the resources are and take what you can get,” Gilbert De Laat, the museum’s president, said of its future. “We’re going to have a 1,700-ton vessel in the river until we figure out what we’re going to do about finding a way to make it again useful.” The submarine is not part of the redevelopment project, and its removal, which officials in the past anticipated could cost millions, is not part of the eviction, Sommer said.
The demolition of The Record’s former headquarters is the latest step in a years-long effort by three developers, including Macromedia, to redevelop the 20-acre parcel, Sommer said. The project includes a 600-unit luxury residential community, an outdoor public plaza and river walk, and a retail component on River Street. “The 20-acre property is the largest single parcel in or adjacent to the rehabilitation area,” Sommer said in a statement, referring to a redevelopment area encompassing Hackensack’s central business district.
In May 2016, the city Planning Board voted to subdivide the 20-acre site into four lots for its redevelopment.
The Record newspaper, which was formerly owned by Macromedia and the Borg family, had been based at 150 River St. before moving to its current offices at Garret Mountain Plaza in Woodland Park. In 2016, the Borg family sold The Record’s parent company, North Jersey Media Group, to Gannett, which owns USA Today, the Asbury Park Press and scores of other newspapers throughout the country. The Borg family has owned the property on River Street since the 1940s.
After leaving the publishing businesses, the Borg family spun off into the real estate industry through its newest venture, Fourth Edition Inc. According to its website, the company, which owns property in Morris County as well as the Hackensack site, is “actively looking for properties to manage, invest in and/or develop.”
The museum’s history
The New Jersey Naval Museum has been housed on that parcel since 1974, when the Borg family negotiated a deal to lease land to the museum for $1 a year. That lease was terminated in 2016. After the lease ended, the Navy reclaimed 68 artifacts that it had lent to the museum. De Laat, the museum president, said the museum was a fully functioning organization until Superstorm Sandy washed out the small pier that provided access to the Ling, its main attraction. The museum has since been closed. But the museum has a memorial that De Laat fears may be forgotten, to pave way for the development.
“If you’re going to put in a multimillion-dollar facility, which is what’s slated for that property and development, one might think there are a couple of pennies kicking around to help influence the city to find a location, minimally, for the memorial,” De Laat said. “But, no, that’s not happening.”
The property owners, however, said the memorial will remain as is, since planning for that specific parcel of land has yet to be determined and is several years away. “We know it’s important,” Sommer said. “Of course, it’s under consideration as possibly part of the landscape.” De Laat said there have been plans already made to remove the museum’s contents from the property. But he added, “Then, staring at you in the water is the vessel. That’s not going anywhere.”