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Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora, left and Louis Dell’Aquila, center, cut the ribbon at the opening of The Building on Third, while City Business Administrator Rick Fernandez looks on. The ribbon is being held by Mr. Dell’Aquila’s four grandchildren.

The Story of the Building on Third

Earlier last month, the Building on Third, located at 39 Third Street in Passaic, New Jersey, opened its doors with 20 newly-built apartments, ready to welcome residents to their new home. Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora was present for the ribbon cutting ceremony, alongside City Business Administrator Rick Fernandez and the man with the vision who made it all possible, Louis Dell’Aquila. Realizing the vision for the building has been years in the making and to fully understand we must take a look back to celebrate the accomplishments of Louis and his dedication to the Passaic community.

Louis hails from Santa Barbara in the Province of Caserta, Campania, Italy. He arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey at the age of 17, alone and with just 50 cents in his pocket. Even though he was unable to speak the English language, Louis was about to overcome each hurdle before him, based upon a solid work ethic and an inner drive towards his inevitable embodiment of the American Dream.

He began working at a fruit stand as a young boy, before driving for a trucking company. From there, he purchased his own truck while making strides towards becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States.

In just three short years, he began to work for a relative in a lingerie factory, where he quickly learned how the run the business. Having become proficient in business, he opened his own factory in 1953 in Hoboken. Eventually, that success led him to set his sights on Passaic, where he purchased the now titled Building on Third. It operated in the bridal undergarment business, which Louis owned and oversaw the entire production process – selling, shipping and leading a team of 125 employees.

After retiring in 2002, Louis envisioned a repurposed use for the building that could best serve the Passaic community and part of the space was converted into a pre-kindergarten school. Since 2012, the building has held space for seven retail stores and two daycare facilities.

Louis proudly cut the ribbon at the Building on Third with all four of his grandchildren by his side to witness this important milestone for the city, the building and for Louis.