2002-02-08 / Front Page

K. Hovnanian planning move across river Home builder will consolidate headquarters on Riverside Avenue

Staff Writer
By gloria stravelli

K. Hovnanian planning move across river
Home builder will
consolidate headquarters
on Riverside Avenue

K. Hovnanian has released this sketch of the new building it plans to construct and use as its new corporate headquarters in Red Bank.K. Hovnanian has released this sketch of the new building it plans to construct and use as its new corporate headquarters in Red Bank.

RED BANK — Developer K. Hovna-nian Enterprises Inc. will soon have more than a borough mailing address.

The eighth largest home builder in the United States will move across the Navesink River from Middletown to a new corporate headquarters to be constructed in Red Bank.

The proposed building will house the home-building giant’s management executives, and its real estate, accounting, legal and architectural staff.

According to Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel Peter Reinhart, the company plans to construct a 65,200-square-foot building on a 1.56-acre property bordered by Riverside and North Maple avenues and the river.

K. Hovnanian Properties of Red Bank Inc. has owned the property, which has a current assessed valuation of $1.95 million, since the mid-’90s, he said.

The move will allow K. Hovnanian to consolidate operations, bringing together in one facility some 200 employees now spread out in two buildings on Route 35 in Middletown.

"We’ve had a Red Bank mailing address for almost our entire history here," said Reinhart. "We want to consolidate people who are now spread out.

"We love the prospect of being in downtown Red Bank with all the amenities like being able to walk to lunch and to shop," he added. "Our people are very excited about it."

Principals in K. Hovnanian Enterprises are Kevork Hovnanian, chairman and founder, and his son, Ara Hovnanian, president and chief executive officer. Kevork Hovnanian owns the Molly Pitcher Inn and the Oyster Point Hotel, both Red Bank, which are not holdings of K. Hovnanian Enterprises.

The company has occupied its current corporate headquarters at 10 Route 35 — the building’s distinctive copper-colored glass facade sits just north of the Coopers Bridge — since 1978.

Due to expansion of its operations, the company outgrew the building and moved some employees into Navesink North, a commercial office building it owns across the highway.

"All the associates used to be in this building (10 Route 35)," said Reinhart. "The company has grown and spread out, and we now occupy two main buildings. The proposed building will be our corporate headquarters," he said, adding that K. Hovnanian also has operational offices in Edison and Hazlet.

According to Reinhart, the company will vacate both buildings when the new headquarters is completed, but a decision on the fate of the Route 35 properties has not been made.

The three-story building, being designed by the Hillier Group, Princeton, will have three floors of office space and three levels of parking beneath the building with spaces for 272 cars. Both office floors and parking levels will be arranged around a central, sky lit atrium.

The proposed design of the building facade along Riverside Avenue and Front Street incorporates architectural elements of Red Bank’s downtown historic district. An elliptical main entry rotunda will be the centerpiece of the plaza at the corner of Maple Avenue and Front Street. The building facade overlooking the river will have glass expanses affording views of the Navesink.

If approved for Red Bank’s Waterfront Development Zone, the K. Hovnanian headquarters would be the second large-scale commercial development along West Front Street.

In the fall, the Red Bank Planning Board approved an application by The PRC Group, West Long Branch, to construct a four-story, 80,000-square-foot office building with an adjacent 110,714-square-foot, five-level parking garage on the site of the former Schwartz auto dealership which is located on West Front Street within sight of the proposed K. Hovnanian project.

In the same area, along Riverside Avenue, the Planning Board has approved a 70,200-square-foot expansion of the Molly Pitcher Inn from three to seven stories plus the addition of a three-level parking garage.

Also on Riverside Avenue, the Navesink House, a continuing-care retirement facility, has proposed a 55,000-square-foot addition plus an underground garage. The application was denied by the borough Zoning Board, a decision overturned in state Superior Court. That decision is currently being appealed by the Zoning Board and residents of neighboring apartment complexes.

Founded in 1959, K. Hovnanian Enterprises had assets of $1.74 billion as of Oct. 31, 2001. The publicly traded company operates in 13 states and closed on 6,791 new homes throughout the country last year.

Pending the necessary approvals, K. Hovnanian hopes to begin construction of its new Red Bank headquarters by year end and take occupancy of the building two years from now, Reinhart said.

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