NORWOOD, N.J. — Yellow caution tape swinging in the wind was the only sign of life at Livingston Plaza in Norwood on Thursday.
"I felt violated," Ronnie's Bagels owner Anthony Minuto told Daily Voice.
All of the structure’s merchants were ordered from their storefronts on Tuesday after a structural engineer from Maser Consulting deemed the building unsafe due to possible collapse following a routine inspection.
“The reason for this is public safety,” Mayor James Barsa told Daily Voice. “We want to keep the public as safe as possible.
“By doing what was done — following the law, listening to the structural engineer -- we had no choice but to condemn the building and ask people to leave.”
Minuto said he and his fellow business owners were given 10 minutes to evacuate.
"I felt like they shot me in the head," he said. "They came down like a brick house.
"We got absolutely nothing but money out of our stores," Minuto said Thursday, "and still today they won't let us back in."
The merchants could move into a building next door being built by developer Fred Daibes. There was no official timetable for completion.
Until then, they must find other locations.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.