PERTH AMBOY—The Housing Authority of the City of Perth Amboy has awarded a $1.2 million contract for the partial demolition of John A. Delaney Homes to Richard E. Pierson Construction Co., Inc. of Pilesgrove, city officials announced this week. The contract work will include the demolition of 20 of the 29 residential buildings on the Delaney site and the garage building.
John A. Delaney Homes, consisting of 252 garden apartments on the west side of Convery Boulevard and south of Chamberlain Avenue, was constructed in 1951-1952. The complex of two-story wood frame row-house buildings with brick veneer, provided decent and safe homes for low income families for several decades, but by the end of the century operational and repair costs had made the housing project obsolete. Renovation of the old buildings to bring them up to current fire and building codes and standards of energy efficiency was not a viable option, and the Housing Authority received permission from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish Delaney Homes in 2004.
The residents of Delaney Homes were relocated, and the development was vacated by the summer of 2005. All former residents continued to receive housing assistance either in other public housing developments or through the Section 8 Housing Voucher program. Following Hurricane Katrina, a number of the vacant apartments were used to provide temporary housing for Gulf Coast families displaced by that natural disaster.
The demolition is the first step in the redevelopment of the 15-acre Delaney site. The site will be subdivided and redeveloped with a mix of commercial stores along the Convery Boulevard corridor, and new residential development, including a number of affordable units, in the remainder of the site.
“Our goal is a balanced development that will return a portion of the land to the city tax rolls while still meeting the Housing Authority’s mandate to provide affordable housing,” said Douglas G. Dzema, executive director of the Housing Authority.
He added, “The new development will be designed to blend into and enhance the surrounding neighborhood. Unlike the old Delaney Homes, nothing will tell you which housing units are affordable and which are market-rate units.”
“This is the beginning of a renewal effort at one of the most popular entrances to the City of Perth Amboy. We’re certainly on board with the demolition of this residential area that has been vacant for several years. While the sole elimination of these structures accomplish much, the benefits to follow are even greater—it opens doors for construction jobs, retail commercial jobs, and creates ratables and affordable housing. This is one of many great things happening in the historic City of Perth Amboy,” said Mayor Wilda Diaz.
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