By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Following a failed proposal to open a bank with a drive-through at the old Hovnanian Enterprises headquarters on Route 35 in Middletown, the building’s owner, Valley National Bank, has moved on to a new idea: completely overhauling the three-and-a-half story, box-like building and leasing it out.
The 27,000-square-foot building overlooking the Navesink River has been vacant for about five years, but should be ready for tenants to move in this summer, real estate broker Suzanne Macnow told redbankgreen.
“By May it will be completely different here,” she said. “It’s going to be spectacular. And you can’t beat the view.”
The multi-million dollar project hits upon just about all sections of the building, Macnow said.
Over the last couple months, workers have been inside touching up the common areas, refurbishing the lobby and elevator cab, putting in new bathrooms and upgrading the mechanical and utility systems, she said.
“It was completely gutted,” Macnow said.
Exterior work is up next, with plans for repaving and restriping the parking lot, replacing broken windows and installing new landscaping, roof and entrance doors, she said.
This plan comes about three months after the zoning board passed a resolution of its vote against Valley National’s initial proposal to open a new branch in the first floor of the building and use the existing spaces for office use.
The drive-through proposal sparked a pushback campaign by neighbors, and the zoning board found that a variance to allow a drive-through wasn’t warranted, Planner Jason Greenspan said.
“The primary issue was that there would be a negative impact on the neighborhood,” he said.
The building, which is zoned for office use, will be ready for tenant fit-out in May, Macnow said, and tenants can start moving in sometime in late summer.
Valley National is actively seeking tenants, she said.