University Decision Still Pending On Buildings Burned in February

Town Topics
11 April, 1990

University Decision Still Pending On Buildings Burned in February

It looks as if the town—and the four businesses left siteless by a February 26 blaze — will have to wait another month to find out Princeton University’s plans for its heavily fire-damaged buildings at 179 and 183 Nassau Street.

The University had announced in early March that a decision on the fate of the buildings might be forthcoming in a month. On Tuesday, however, University Vice President for Facilities Eugene McPartland said he thought the decision process would take another month.

An invitation for proposals to participate in a study of what to do with the buildings was sent to several architects. The proposals have been returned, and the University is in the process of evaluating them. An architect should be selected within a week, said Mr. McPartland, who added that the study should be concluded within a month.

The architect’s study will determine whether the two buildings should be restored or replaced. “The report of the structural engineer indicates very little can be saved,” he said.

“We hope to move along with the structural engineer, architect, and in-house ability,” said Mr. McPartland. “We will keep the office of the Borough engineer informed, evaluate the situation, and hold discussions with the State Department of Community Affairs.”

He added that the University needs to have some results of the study in hand to deal with insurance companies. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s office announced earlier that the fire, which caused $1.5 million in damages, began in the American Diner and was intentionally set.

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