Crest Savings Bank receives historic preservation award

Crest Savings Bank receives historic preservation award

NJDEP Historic Preservation Office announcement (See Category B)

Crest Savings Bank received a historic preservation award from the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, on May 12 for its rehabilitation of the historic Marine National Bank building at 3301 Pacific Ave. in Wildwood.

Crest Savings received one of the awards made to individuals, projects and programs that were judged to demonstrate exceptional merit in the field of historic preservation.

The award was presented to Jay M. Ford, president and CEO of Crest Savings Bank. Members of the project team also received citations and included: Fenwick Architects, architects; Skip Holzapfel Builders Inc., general contractor; Leon Mazzochi, general contractor; Joan Berkey, historic preservation consultant; Michael Irvin, Irvin Studios, mural painter; Masonry Preservation Group, Inc., masonry conservation.

Chartered in 1902, Marine National Bank was the first financial institution to be established in the Wildwoods. The original 1908 classical Revival style building was enlarged in 1927 in an effort to expand the banking facility. Marine National Bank was headquartered in the building until it was acquired by Horizon Bank in 1980. A succession of mergers and acquisitions followed, resulting in the building being vacated in 1997. This left Pacific Avenue in Wildwood without a commercial bank.

Crest Savings Bank acquired the building in December 1999. Recognizing the building’s importance as a tangible reminder of Wildwood’s past, and acknowledging its role in shaping the city’s history, Crest Savings Bank determined the needs of the community would be best served by preserving the bank building and rehabilitating it for use as a state-of-the-art banking facility.

The overall goal was to preserve the exterior, and to rehabilitate the interior for modern banking uses while preserving as much historic fabric as possible. Given the bank’s strategic location in the heart of Wildwood’s central business district, an area targeted for redevelopment, Crest Savings Bank’s success represents a private sector commitment to and belief in the importance of preservation as a redevelopment tool.

In presenting the award, Dorothy Guzzo, head of the State Historic Preservation Office, commented, “No one made them do this. This effort was borne out of civic pride and inherent appreciation for the architecture of a bygone era. There is no local commission in Wildwood, and there was no grant money involved. This project is an example of a sensitive private investment that will have lasting public benefits to the community.”

Crest Savings Bank spent more than $1 million rehabilitating the bank into its headquarters known as the Holly Beach Financial Center.

Crest Savings Bank’s management and board of directors began the process of getting historical recognition for the Marine National Bank Building in June of 2000. On Oct. 27, 2000, the Marine National Bank building was entered onto the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. The building was again honored by being listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior on Dec. 20, 2000.