Restoring a Business, Reviving a Neighborhood
663 Main Avenue went from a faded glory to an impetus for renewal in Passaic
In October 1931, the New York Times reported on the opening of a lavish commercial building in the City of Passaic. The project was a grand, 11-story art-deco tower that rose far above the city’s vibrant downtown. Interestingly, the project began just prior to the Great Depression and ended two years later, while the country was in economic turmoil. But after some rough patches at the onset, the building flourished as a 2019 Smart Growth Award Winner and a destination for professional offices for doctors, lawyers, accountants, and even Congressmen.
Fast forward 35 years. The bank and the high profile professional tenants were leaving, part of an exodus many industrial cities saw with their downtowns decimated during the 1960s by flight to the suburbs. By 1970s the property had changed hands several times and the newest owners were content to rent the retail spaces on the basement and first floors. By the 1980s the building became fully vacant. Except for paying their property taxes the owners did little with this asset. Repairs languished until the deteriorated condition posed a significant safety hazard, with windows flying from the upper floors to the heavily traveled commercial corridor below.
To continue reading this article visit page 26 (with subscription).