Hailed as an historic public-private partnership when it was built 10 years ago, Rahway’s three-story public library facility finally has tenants for its long-vacant office space. All the new activity is creating new issues at the complex.
The 75,000-square-foot facility had a “chronic vacancy problem” until it finally found a tenant earlier this year in U.S. Healthworks. Rahway Public Library occupies 32,000 square feet on the first two floors while the remaining office space occupies some 41,000 square feet.
Redevelopment Agency Attorney Frank Regan told commissioners at their meeting earlier this month that he and Agency Chairman William Rack met with library officials to review several issues at the library facility and plan to meet with the other condo owner to handle other issues.
The third floor of the building is now occupied, along with 50 percent of the second floor, so there is much more activity than there’s ever been, Regan said. The maintenance staff has been handling some issues that have consumed significantly more of their time, he said, adding that other things to address including properly identifying parking spaces.
The biggest issues are the two main elevators, going from the ground floor to the third floor. Increased usage has created a venting issue, overheating the elevators. Library maintenance staff have tried measures to cool them down and for the time being, use only one elevator at a time. If one overheats, they shut it down and use the other, Regan said.
It’s a seasonal issue and can be dealt with for the timing being but must be addressed so it does not become an issue in the spring, Regan said. A cooling system will need to be installed, which could cost about $12,000.
The front stairs are deteriorating, as is the handicapped ramp, and Regan said there’s been an issue with the main door and doors to the auditorium. The Redevelopment Agency handles 70 percent of the costs of the condo association. The office space portion of the building sold for $4.55 million in December 2008 to a North Bergen-based LLC,
There also will need to be a plan for snow removal. While the library may have a delayed opening because of snow, there are now other tenants to consider, he said, and that will be something to discuss with the city.
The 10-year-old facility was built for $15 million through a public-private partnership, with funds from federal and state government, along with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other sources.