City to inspect Radio Lofts

Camden will inspect the vacant, city owned Radio Lofts building in the wake of safety concerns raised by a local blogger.

In a post headlined 'Downtown Danger,'  the NJ Poverty Reality blog published photos of cracked exterior brickwork, warped window frames, and material it said has fallen from the onetime RCA Building #8 at 2nd and Cooper streets.

Photo: NJ Poverty Reality

"The building is solid," says city business administrator Robert Corrales, adding that personnel nevertheless will  take a look and make a report. He adds there is no reason to believe the structure is in danger of collapsing, as the blog suggests.

The 10-story building was erected in 1924 and has been vacant since the 1990s. It was gutted, and industrial contaminants were partly remediated, in preparation for construction of 86 condo units by Dranoff Properties. The Philadelphia firm earlier transformed the adjacent "Nipper" building into the stylish Victor Apartments.

In a written statement, the company notes that the condition of the building is the responsibility of the Camden Redevelopment Agency. Dranoff Properties also says it remains committed to Radio Lofts.

Construction was to have begun in 2010. Despite the project's continued promotion on the Dranoff website, there's no sign of progress -- as the post by NJ Poverty Reality blogger Brian K. Everett notes.

I'm not qualified to judge whether the building might fall down before it ever gets rehabbed. But the towering hulk on Cooper Street -- a gateway to the Camden Waterfront and Rutgers University --  certainly isn't helping the neighborhoods around beautifully renovated Johnson Park, which it overlooks.  

With its gaping windows and forlorn 'Coming Soon' banners, the moribund Radio Lofts project broadcasts the sort of message Camden doesn't need.