By DON STINE
The former Asbury Park Press building on Route 66 in Neptune has been sold and is slated to be torn down before the end of this year by an affiliate of the Tinton Falls-based H. Hovnanian Industries.
“We are still waiting for submission of their final demolition and grading plans to be reviewed by township officials but their stated intent is to have it down by the end of next month,” Township Business Administrator Vito D. Gadaleta said on Tuesday.
The building was sold to 3601 Route 66 LLC- an affiliate of H. Hovnanian Industries.
Gadaleta said that the purchaser has not yet indicted what will be built on the site although the property is zoned for primarily commercial or office uses.
In the spring, the Asbury Park Press to moved its office to space directly across from its existing building on Route 66 and Jumping Brook Road, to the former American General Life Insurance building. The 175,000-square-foot Press building was put up for sale in January, 2013.
The building, which opened in 1985, is on 21.6 acres of prime real estate, near Home Depot, Walmart, Hampton Inn, Walgreens drug store, and the 120-store Jersey Shore Premium Outlets, directly to the west in Tinton Falls.
“We know we have an existing traffic problem at that intersection but the Press was always a heavily-occupied facility. Any proposal to develop the site will be looked at by the Planning Board when an application submitted and a discussion about traffic will be on the table,” Gadaleta said.
He said that township officials have been meeting on a regular basis with state Department of Transportation officials over the ongoing need for further improvement to Route 66 in that area to remove an existing bottleneck in traffic at times.