OceanFirst Bank will take space in a building that’s been a supermarket, a five-and-dime and home to a number of financial services companies over its 92-year history. (Click to enlarge)


Rcsm2_010508In recent decades, the white stone building at 73 Broad Street has been a home to many financial service companies: Provident Savings Bank, Prudential Securities, then Wachovia Securities, and most recently, Wells Fargo Bank.

The pattern resumes this spring with the expected arrival of OceanFirst Bank.

With 7,500 square feet of first-floor space currently under construction, the building will become the Monmouth County regional headquarters for the Toms River-based consumer bank, according to Jay Herman, principal of building owner Downtown Investors.

“It will offer the basic services of any retail branch,” said Herman. “Lending, trust, wealth management – but on a more personal level.”

The bank will include an ATM, but also offer the opportunity for an unrushed private meeting.

“Instead of the typical teller’s counter, customers will come in and sit down with an individual banker,” said Herman. “Even if it’s just to deposit ten bucks.”

An upscale décor is expected to reflect this one-on-one banking experience.

“It’s a new concept,” said Herman. “This headquarters looks to be two to three times the size of other OceanFirst retail branches.”

The projected opening is April 1.

OceanFirst, traces its roots back to 1902 and has 24 branches in Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties.

It will take over space vacated in November, 2011 by Wells Fargo Advisors which moved its brokerage office to Lincroft. The basement level of the building has been home since last summer to the Woodhouse Spa.

The second floor, which features expansive windows and a view due west down Monmouth Street, is vacant.

Long known as the Whitfield Building, the structure was built in 1920, according to a Red Bank Register article published in 1936, the year it became home to an Acme supermarket. Sometime around 1950 became part of an expanded J.J. Newberry’s five-and-dime store, according to accounts by local historian Randall Gabrielan.