A builder’s delay has erased McCarter & English’s plan to move to a grandiose new office-residential complex on Newark, N.J.’s waterfront in 2008 and is forcing the firm to weigh the drastic option of leaving the city.

Last September, the firm trumpeted plans to leave Gateway Center 4 near Newark’s Penn Station when its lease expires and move to larger quarters a block away in a 14-story tower planned by Matrix Development Group of Cranbury.