For roughly nine months, the Midtown Parking Deck has sat empty, a hulking shell and a tease to businesses and residents looking forward to the luxury and relief of more badly needed spaces. Delays, often unexplained, left the community wondering at times if the project had been forsaken for good.

But then on Wednesday afternoon, the town suddenly announced what felt like a happening, that the new structure at the intersection of Glenridge Avenue and North Willow Street would open the next day, Thursday, Nov. 10.

What the town is calling a “soft opening” came with a small gift — free parking beginning on the first day at 8 a.m., straight through to 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14. In all, there are more than 300 spaces in the garage that was built over the former Glenridge lot that held space for 83 cars. 

The groundbreaking in January 2021 came with the promise of an opening in February of this year. All seemed to be on schedule until the eleventh hour, when the site failed inspection this past January, though the public and some town officials were not informed of the reason for the delay for months. The garage, standing empty, became something of a mystery.

The reasons were multifold — including an alleyway running between Diamond Cycle Montclair and Trend Coffee Shop that was declared not ADA compliant. The narrow brick path had been used for years.

In announcing the Thursday opening, Acting Township Manager Brian Scantlebury alluded to the snags that stalled the parking deck’s debut.

“We experienced a number of issues such as delays with parts deliveries, rainwater in the lobby, and a first floor ADA accessible route,” Township Deputy Manager Brian Scantlebury said in the email. “We are pleased that all of these issues have been fixed and the township building department granted us a certificate of occupancy.”

The parking company Impark will manage the new deck, which includes 10 handicapped spots and 75 for local businesses for their employees.