Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 14
 
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
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Spring Street Construction Gets Mixed Reviews

Dilshanie Perera

While Borough merchants along Spring Street seem to be taking the construction at the site of the former Tulane Street parking lot in stride, none of them are particularly pleased by the street closures and utility cuts.

Manager of the Salty Dog Analiese Desaw said that she did see business slow when the week-long street closure occurred. A utility cut was scheduled this past Monday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but was postponed until next Tuesday, according to Borough engineer Chris Budzinski. Ms. Desaw was wary of power outages that would force the store to close on Mondays, as they are typically busy days at the Salty Dog.

Farther down the street at Hinkson’s, manager and co-owner Andrew Mangone recalled that the street closure affected business, but reasoned that “when we moved down here four years ago, we knew [the construction] was coming.” He hoped that the effect of the new potential customers who would be living in Building C once it is finished would outweigh the current interruptions in business. Since he is housed in the street level of the parking garage and is on a different part of the grid, his business would not be affected by utility cuts, he explained.

Building C is the second phase of the downtown redevelopment plan, the first phase of which included the construction of the Albert E. Hinds Plaza and the municipal parking garage. It will eventually be a mixed-use space housing 56 apartments and three retail operations, one of which will be a small grocery store. At a final height of five stories, the edifice is projected to be completed in 2010.

Owner of the Frame Shoppe David Rosendorf called the construction proceedings “inefficient,” adding that “the merchants on Spring Street are not being given enough time or factual information” to respond to construction-related closures. Advocating for “minimal disruption to the merchants and the general public,” he said he would prefer a purposeful plan of action that didn’t interfere with normal business operations.

Michelle Farrington, whose eponymous music store is also on Spring Street, said that the construction “hasn’t affected me too badly,” though she would be upset if the builder didn’t bring in a back-up generator for the merchants when they shut down the main utility lines. As for the site itself, she characterized it as “very noisy.”

“This is the part of construction that is unavoidable,” Mr. Budzinski remarked of the temporary suspension of access to utilities on the street, and road closures. The Borough needs to know when streets may close, but ultimately, he said that the timetable is up to the contractor or developer. “They have been in constant contact with the landowners and merchants, though.”

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