Denholtz Properties’ new office in Red Bank, designed by Rotwein+Blake, is part of a new mixed-use project that will deliver new luxury apartments and retail space directly adjacent to the borough’s train station. — Photo by Ciara Perrone Photo LLC/Courtesy: Denholtz Associates
By Joshua Burd
The convenience was hard to beat at Denholtz Properties’ longtime headquarters in Matawan, a three-story office building that sits directly off the Garden State Parkway.
But the firm’s new office in Red Bank has much more to offer, according to CEO Steven Denholtz. Employees can now walk to lunch and be directly adjacent to rail service on the North Jersey Coast Line, he said, with access to all of the amenities and cultural offerings that the downtown has to offer.
The development and real estate investment firm has also engaged several community groups and charitable organizations in the borough, fulfilling another objective.
“It gives us all of those opportunities,” Denholtz said. “People are invigorated by being there.”
The firm has completed its move into its new 12,000-square-foot office space, where it has streamlined its footprint with a sleek, modern layout that better encourages collaboration. In the process, it has become entrenched in an area on which it’s increasingly focused.
For one thing, the renovated office building on Chestnut Street is part of new mixed-use project known as The Rail @ Red Bank Station, which calls for 57 luxury units and some 7,000 square feet of retail space. Denholtz has spent some four years assembling the site and was able to expand the multifamily and retail component last fall, following its acquisition of two vacant restaurant properties.
“You always need some luck, but we bought one property and then an adjacent property came for sale,” Denholtz said. “Then we pursued a couple of others and all of a sudden we had a really nice development parcel.”
Stephen Cassidy, the firm’s president, also believes that Red Bank is “the last good commuting town” within a reasonable distance of Manhattan.
“We found this great opportunity for us to develop something literally at the train station, which just didn’t exist anywhere else,” Cassidy said. “If you take the train from here to Penn Station, all the way up the line, every single one of them has been redeveloped, almost without exception.”
Denholtz is also expanding its footprint on the other end of Red Bank, near the borough’s popular downtown and the scenic Navesink River waterfront. The firm in mid-April won zoning board approval to develop 10 luxury condominiums between West Front and Union streets, on a hilltop that overlooks the river.
Designed by Rotwein+Blake, which is also Denholtz’s architect for The Rail and other projects in the borough, the so-called Southbank project reportedly calls for two levels of townhomes above structured parking, with construction slated to begin this fall.
The investment firm has also acquired two commercial properties just east of the Southbank site, according to redbankgreen.com. And it recently completed a sale-leaseback at 310 and 322 Route 35 South, a two-building, 79,022-square-foot office complex that had been owned by Markel Service Inc.
Having moved into its new headquarters earlier this month, Denholtz has ramped up its activity at the site of The Rail. That includes marketing some 4,200 square feet on the top floor of the building at 116 Chestnut St., which it has been renovating and reskinning in recent months.
The firm also expects to ramp up construction in the coming months at the residential portion of the site. The project is all the more attractive for Denholtz and its investors, given that The Rail and several nearby parcels fall within a federally designated Opportunity Zone. The designation, created in late 2017 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, provides the potential for major tax savings for investors that redirect capital gains into certain low-income and distressed areas throughout the country, such as the property on the west side of Red Bank.
To that end, Cassidy said The Rail “has garnered a tremendous amount of attention from our investor group.”
Denholtz is exploring the potential of assembling a larger site around the train station. That could involve some form of a partnership with NJ Transit, which owns adjacent parcels alongside a separate 95-car surface lot that the developer owns nearby.
Rotwein+Blake has performed density studies in order to explore that potential.
“That would really support development around the train station and bring more residential , which would help the retail,” said Lance Blake, president of Rotwein+Blake. “And it would bolster the businesses in the center of town.”
Denholtz welcomed more than 400 to its new headquarters, including Gov. Phil Murphy, as part of a grand opening on June 5. That provided a large audience for the 65-year-old firm to tout its newest investment strategy, which focuses on emerging markets and transit-oriented urban cores in which real estate development can help transform local communities.
Without question, Red Bank will be the poster child for that strategy.
“We buy into the urban idea, the walkability and the sense of community,” said Denholtz, who represents the second generation of the firm’s leadership. “The rail stations in New Jersey have just done phenomenally well and I think they’ve been a real bright spot for what the development community has done and what the state has done.”