Revamped Observer Building Gets New Tenants

The Observer building on Robbins Street, after sitting vacant for a year, will be completely leased out by the new year, and tenants are expected to start moving in by March.


The former home of the Ocean County Observer on Robbins Street, in the heart of Downtown Toms River, has been vacant since the publication downsized two years ago. Now, the revamped building will be almost completely leased out by the new year, the property’s realtor said.

“It’s totally new,” said Ron Rosetto, the property’s realtor. “We gutted and demoed the building until it was just a shell, and then rebuilt it from the ground up.”

After the Observer left the property, Rosetto said about a year was spent completing renovations. Once those were complete, the property had been vacant for an additional year. Now, the basement floor will be leased to framing contractor Michael J. Wright, a consulting firm will take an office on the first floor, and the additional three floors will be executive office space. The tenants are expected to start moving in by March.

The five-floor building now features four office suites on every floor, each one with about 1,500 square feet of space. The base price to lease offices is $17.50 per square foot, annually. Rosetto added the electrical wiring and plumbing have also been renovated, as well as the elevator, which is now state-of-the-art.

Since the property is in the heart of Downtown Toms River, Rosetto said many prospective tenants were concerned about adequate parking for their employees. While the site has about 55 parking spaces, the building can house upwards of 80 employees. After doing a scan of the area, however, Rosetto found that there are over 250 parking spaces within a half-block of the property that can be used by employees.

While the vision for Downtown Toms River is more focused on boosting retail and restaurants in the area, Rosetto and the Business Improvement District said finding occupants for this property was a crucial first step in that direction.

“If the building leases 150 to 200 employees, that’s 150 to 200 people who will shop here and eat here on their lunch breaks or before they head home,” said Jody Alessandrine, the executive director of the Toms River Business Improvement District.

“Any type of synergy can be created by more people heading to the area,” he added.

Rosetto said because this space is now occupied, it might be a selling factor to bring more restaurants and retailers into the Downtown, because they will have the security of a regular client base.

“Now that this building is leased out, let’s work on tenant support,” he said, adding that he hoped to add restaurants where these employees could get lunch, like Surf Taco or a coffee shop, to the Downtown. “You need those services,” he said.

Besides tenant support, these services would also entice more people into the downtown on the weekends. Rosetto said he remembered when Downtown Toms River was the main location for shopping in the area, but since the opening of the Ocean County Mall, that has died out.

“When you have all offices and no retailers, you have no downtown,” Rosetto said, so with new employees making their way into the downtown area, this may spark an interest in offering more retail and restaurants. 

Skizma December 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM
Definitely a positive impact on downtown TR. It should all look this good and attractive. It makes a good statement about TR. Which is what we want....
beaches December 23, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Agreed Skizma. Hope it pays off for our downtown.
dorym December 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM
I worked there when it was the Observer and it was a rat trap, glad they fixed it. There was NEVER enough parking, however.
Real Christian December 24, 2011 at 01:10 PM
I am hoping this brings quality American owned, hiring and supportive business to the Downtown area (we have enough Indian owned buildings/businesses) ... Kudos "Rosetto" for the nice building I will definately be following and supporting your venture and investment.
Flygrl December 25, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Great beautiful addition to downtown Toms River! Excited this was renovated and brought to Life!
Flygrl December 25, 2011 at 10:47 PM
BTW....Error I'n article ..there is 250 parking spaces I'n a 1/2 block radius not 1/2 mile!!!
Sean Conneamhe December 25, 2011 at 11:56 PM
"What Toms River and Ocean County really need is a daily newspaper. The Observer was the last one and it has been gone for a long time."
Gino De Lucia December 30, 2011 at 05:12 PM
The original "Reporter" newspaper, (a bi-weekly awesome newspaper from back during the late 60's & early-to-mid 70's era,) was the best Ocean/Monmouth County newspaper ever! Besides of it being free & delivered to your doorstep every Wednesday & Saturday, it always had great classifieds, informative editorial columns, great local news coverage, and very interesting feature articles about local residents written by its talented staff of great writers and news correspondents. I know this to be true from my own personal experiences with the publication because besides of my enjoying the newspaper immensely itself; along with other talented writers like Lee Gant, Bev Ecker, Kurt Loder, Seve Zipay, Richard Hubbard, Jane Chimenti, and our Editor, Kenneth Moore, I too, wrote many feature front page articles for the paper. I'm sure that a quality newspaper like that now would be well-welcomed by local residents.
Project Bluebeam December 30, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Hmmm, I specifically remember the Reporter costing $2 (I guess per month). The TR Town news is free...not 1/2 bad, but the news is old by the time you get it. I guess you could say the Patch is where its at. Too bad there's no Patch mobile app (yet).
Nick Malfitano December 30, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Hi Bluebeam: we do in fact have a Patch mobile app for both iPhones and Android phones. Read more about it here, have a great new year! http://waukee.patch.com/articles/patch-mobile-apps-available-for-the-iphone-and-android-phones-7ffa78c9
Gino De Lucia December 30, 2011 at 06:27 PM
During the late 60's & early 70's when the publication was at it best, The Reporter mainly relied on its advertisers to cover its operating costs. However, you are correct though about it it being charged for during its latter years. Regardless, all considered & for what you got, it was well worth its cost!
Project Bluebeam December 30, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Any chance of a Kindle Fire app anytime soon?
Sue September 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM
A Real Christian wouldn't knock another culture. "Do unto others..." (and discrimination in real estate is illegal).
Martin September 27, 2012 at 05:19 PM
9-mo.-old story should be updated! Townsquare radio offices are there now. 11 NJ stations: •New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW FM) •94.3 The Point (WJLK FM) •Ocean County's 92.7 (WOBM FM) •105.7 The Hawk (WCHR FM) •SOJO 1049 (WSJO FM) •Lite Rock 96.9 (WFPG FM) •97.3 & 1450 ESPN Radio (WENJ FM/AM) •Cat Country 107.3 (WPUR FM) •Good Time Oldies 1160AM and 1310 AM (WOBM &WADB AM)
Flygrl October 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM
@Martin...Thankyou for update! Yes they are all in and DJ's in by Nov. Building is a beauty! And great business for our downtown!
Martin October 24, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Newspapers are dying because they're out of date by the time they're printed and delivered. As a former journalist, I keep up to date online, as all of you do.
Martin October 24, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Watch for the TR & OC politicians to try to take credit for this before Election Day.


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