NEWARK – On December 9, the 420-unit Hill Manor Apartments, which first opened in 1969, will go the way of the Scudder Homes, Christopher Columbus Homes, Otto Kretchmer Homes, the Rev. William P. Hayes Homes and other before it. The complex, vacant since 1997 when the last 143 families were evicted, will be leveled by 500 pounds of explosives. Controlled Demolition of Maryland will carry out the $1.8 million demolition.

The event will mark the inglorious end of a project that was done in by mismanagement, charges of corruption and, ultimately, unlivable conditions. The short story is that HUD repossessed the building from American Community Housing Associates of Chicago in 1996 and in 1997 sold it to the Newark Housing Authority.

Following the pattern in this metro area and elsewhere, the Newark Housing Authority will replace the unlamented high-rise with 57 townhouses. The new project is part of Newark’s plans to build more than 750 units of housing in the city’s Central Ward. The city is receiving nearly $60 million in HUD grants to accomplish that.

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