Booka­te­ria prop­erty sells; buyer seeks new com­mer­cial ten­ant

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By BROOKE SCHULTZ bschultz@ches­pub.com

Todd Ladutko had driven past Cleve­land Av­enue’s Booka­te­ria many times. When the two-story build­ing came on the market, he and Alan Sch­weizer de­cided to pur­chase it for a host of rea­sons, Ladutko said in an in­ter view.

“It was in a good lo­ca­tion, my part­ner and I own prop­er­ties in the area, I’ve been in­vest­ing in Ne­wark since 1980,” he ex­plained.

When Michael Hor­ney, for­mer owner of Booka­te­ria, de­cided it was time to shut­ter the store­front that had resided at 70 E. Cleve­land Ave for 44 years, he said it was a mix­ture of de­clin­ing busi­ness and the de­clin­ing con­di­tion of the build­ing.

“It needs to be fixed up,” he said. “Some­body younger than us is go­ing to do that.”

Ladutko, a real­tor as­so­ci­ate, and Sch­weizer, a bro­ker, are an­swer­ing that call. They pur­chased the prop­erty for $300,000 a month ago, and work has al­ready be­gun.

“We just fin­ished re­fur­bish­ing the two one-bed­room apart­ments up­stairs,” Ladutko said. “They rented right away.”

They changed the light­ing, re­painted, cleaned and re­fur­bished the hard­wood floors, he ex­plained. They’re look­ing to do some­thing sim­i­lar with the first floor, which he said was in need of “mod­ern­iza­tion.”

“[There are] some walls that are pan­eled that we’d like to dry­wall and im­prove the in­su­la­tion. The win­dows in the front, we’ll prob­a­bly up­grade,” he said. “Pos­si­bly a new HVAC sys­tem – hav­ing cen­tral air would be a plus, I would think.”

As they’ve owned the prop­erty for a short time, it’s too soon to tell what they have in store for the build­ing.

“We fo­cused on get­ting the apart­ments done first,” he said. “Now we’re fo­cus­ing on the other as­pects of the prop­erty.”

Be­fore mak­ing sweep­ing ren­o­va­tions, they hope to find a ten­ant for the first floor, which is zoned for com­mer­cial use.

“That would be the first at­tempt, to see if we can find some­body who could use a very nice, large space in a good lo­ca­tion,” he said.

Un­til then, the own­ers are look­ing to re­home the cur­rent ten­ant of the first floor: thou­sands of books, which were in­her­ited as part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions for the prop­erty. “We are work­ing on some kind of good home for the books,” Ladutko said, ad­ding they may sell them and do­nate the pro­ceeds to char­ity, or find a group will­ing to take the books.

Ul­ti­mately, the bones of the prop­erty are good.

“There was no need to en­tirely ren­o­vate the prop­erty, to take it down to the studs,” he added. “It’s cer­tainly in­ter­est­ing. We think it has a lot of po­ten­tial.”

Ed­i­tor’s note: Vol­un­teers at the Pen­cader Heritage Mu­seum have been dig­i­tiz­ing old Ne­wark City Coun­cil meet­ing min­utes. They share ex­cerpts with Ne­wark Post read­ers in a weekly col­umn.

Septem­ber-De­cem­ber 1944: Dou­ble park­ing on Main Street was caus­ing prob­lems. Res­i­dents around Danita Hosiery com­plained about loud ra­dio mu­sic at night, and the com­pany was told to turn ra­dios off by 10 p.m.

A new bridge across the creek was planned for North Chapel Street, re­plac­ing a wooden cov­ered bridge. Rev. Dr. Arthur Jack­son thanked coun­cil for its do­na­tion of $85 to the Play­ground As­so­ci­a­tion. One-hour park­ing signs on Main Street were re­moved. Earl Lynch was sworn in as a spe­cial of­fi­cer to serve as needed with­out pay.

Weeds needed to be cut in “the Chi­na­man’s al­ley.” This was a laun­dro­mat two or three doors west of North Chapel Street on the north side of East Main Street. Chlo­ri­na­tion of town wa­ter sup­ply needed to be evened out. Wil­liam Crow’s re­quest for a pay raise and two weeks va­ca­tion with pay was de­nied. Em­bree Brown’s fence was not ad­e­quate to keep his bull from get­ting out, and he was told to mend fence or keep bull tied up.

Due to wartime man­power short­ages, coun­cil couldn’t prom­ise when two trees in front of Richard Cooch’s house on West Main Street would be re­moved due. Ge­orge Martin wanted to open an auto re­pair shop at 44 E. Main St., but the re­quest was tem­po­rar­ily tabled. A pro­fes­sional engi­neer­ing assess­ment of the sewage treat­ment needs of the town was or­dered. Carl Nel­son’s re­quest to open a live poul­try market on Haines Street was de­nied.

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