Years ago, the building served up clam broth to longshoremen taking a break from the Hoboken docks. It continued serving customers until a portion of the façade buckled around May 7, 2003.
This caused cracks to open and bricks to bulge out of the side of the building. The building was evacuated and has been vacant ever since. The building also housed Boo Boo's Bar, the Cadillac Bar, and 13 residential units.
There was debate over whether the structure could be saved. The owners of the building, Arthur Peleaz and his wife Christina, via the limited liability company A&C Investment Group, with engineering reports in hand, said that the building had to be torn down.
Michael Acciardi, a commercial tenant of the building and a principal owner of the Clam Broth House restaurant, filed litigation in Superior Court in April of this year. He hired his own engineers to determine the building's condition. He contended that the building might be salvageable.
Peleaz previously owned the Clam Broth House Restaurant for 19 years before he sold the business in 1994 to the Penque-Risky Corporation. In 2001 Acciardi and his business partner, Reinaldo Becerra, paid $1.3 million to buy Penque-Risky. With the purchase of the company, the two also assumed the lease of the space, which rented for $14,000 a month.
In court, the city's engineers and construction officials supported Peleaz's position that the building was no longer salvageable. Building Officer Alfred Arezzo testified that the front facade of the Clam Broth House was cracked and is pulling away from the building. The judge agreed and has cleared the way for demolition.
Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, a long-time member of the city's Historic Preservation Commission, said that it's extremely disappointing that the building must come down. "It's not like this building got hit by a truck," said Castellano. "I really don't know how the landlord could let this happen. If they had maintained this building a little better over the years, we wouldn't be in this position."
The owner denied purposely allowing the building to fall into disrepair. He added that, barring a few minor violations, it passed all city inspections in the past. According to Castellano, because the building is in a historic zone, all new construction plans must come before the Historic Preservation Commission, and the board is making this project a priority.
"This is something that we are going to monitor very closely," she said.
She added that she would like to see the building restored as closely as possible to the building that stood on the site for more than a 100 years.
According to Drasheff, the owner of the property is in talks with a prospective buyer for the property, but is waiting for some insurance issues to be resolved. John J. Curley, the attorney for the owner, didn't return a phone call for comment.
Twenty-two year Hoboken resident John Heliker said Thursday that it's sad that an important part of Hoboken's history is going to be razed.
"It's going to break my heart to see the Clam Broth House torn down," said Heliker. "I hope at least that they save photographs and try to build the facade like it was. That's my one wish and hope."