Demolition Under Way at Old Beach Haven Bank

Apr 10, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds The front exterior of the original Beach Haven National Bank is gone as demolition of the building continues Wednesday morning, April 10.

One of Beach Haven’s iconic downtown buildings is falling to the wrecking ball.

Demolition of the old brick Beach Haven bank building began Tuesday morning, starting on the south side of the Bay Avenue structure. Ed Perkins, general manager and operations director for the contractor, Seminole Construction in West Creek, said the building should be completely razed by the end of the week. He expects to be on site for at least another week to clean up debris and clear off the 250- by 200-foot lot.

Late last year, partners Terry Moeller and Tom and Joan Bertussi received approval from the land use board to tear down the building and build a retail/residential complex, a project that divided the town over the loss of a somewhat historic and well-known structure.

The complex will contain 20 residential units, each covering 1,200 square feet. Five apartments will be set aside for affordable housing. The development will also include five yet-to-be-named retail businesses covering less than 40,000 square feet.

The structure was built in 1963 as the headquarters for the now-defunct Beach Haven National Bank. Over the years, it became the home of several different financial institutions, the most recent being Sovereign Bank.

Originally, the partners had hoped to open the new complex this summer, but the timetable has been changed to 2020.

Perkins said the project is an example of “green demolition” in that the brick and cement will be recycled on-site.

“The materials will be pulverized,” he said. “The recycled material will be used in building a foundation.”

Sandi Morizzo, Seminole owner, said on-site recycling saves time and money for both her company and the developers.

“Otherwise, we would have to put all the cement and bricks in dump trucks and cart them to a landfill,” she said. “And then the builder would have to go and purchase bricks and concrete for the foundation and truck it back to Beach Haven. This way saves a lot of time-consuming steps.”

A former Beach Haven resident, Morizzo said that by using the recycled bricks as part of the foundation, “a piece of history remains in the borough.”

Working on the building “brings back memories,” she said. “That was where I had my first safe deposit box.”

Beach Haven police were on hand for traffic control by the fenced-off demolition site.

“There haven’t been any problems,” said Police Chief James Markoski. “There were a lot of curious onlookers earlier in the morning and some were snapping photographs.”

— Eric Englund


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