WEST LONG BRANCH — Tenants of the three-story office building at 121 Route 36, at the corner of Eatontown Boulevard/Broadway, were scrambling this week to find new digs after their offices were soaked by rain that poured in after most of the roof was blown off in a violent thunderstorm Aug. 2.
A thin layer of water still covered the first floor of the building at midweek as workers tossed plastic garbage bags full of water-logged materials out of the open top floor windows to the ground below to be hauled away.
Julian Hoffman, managing partner of 650 Realty, LLC, owner of the building, said 60 to 70 percent of the roof was peeled off by the storm’s strong winds.
Hoffman, who was a commissioner of the New Jersey Highway Authority about 20 years ago, said "hopefully" the building will be ready for the tenants to move back in "a couple" of months. He said most have been understanding.
"They’ve been nice," he said.
Hoffman added that 650 Realty, LLC, bought the building six or seven years ago.
Eighteen tenants are listed on the directory in the lobby of the building, which is located next door to The Esplanade, the former motel used as a dormitory by Monmouth University. One of them, Keith N. Arcomano, a lawyer, left a notice taped on the glass in front that he had relocated to 874 Broadway, between Anthony’s Auto Repair and the Quick Chek store.
Anthony J. Dell’Omo, owner of four businesses on the first floor of the water-soaked building, sat on a chair in front of it waiting for a moving truck to arrive Monday to move what furnishings he could salvage to new office space he had rented temporarily in a meeting room at the Esplanade.
Dell’Omo owns three of the businesses — AMC Mortgage Corp., A.J. Dell’Omo Inc., Realtor, and A.J. Insurance Agency Inc. — himself, and jointly owns A & A Immigration Consultants with his brother Andrew.
Dell’Omo noted that one of his businesses also handles jail bonds.
"We’re the best bonding company in New Jersey," he asserted.
Mary Ann Bocchino, whose husband Steven, a certified public accountant who also has his office on the first floor, said he discovered the extensive damage when he went to the office Sunday with the intention of doing some work.
She said they had not been notified by 650 Realty, LLC, of what happened.
"He went in and found the water and ceiling tiles on the floor," she said. "It’s very devastating to anybody in the building to have their life and their businesses disrupted in this fashion. We’re attempting to relocate."
Mary Ann Bocchino said she and her husband were looking for an office of around 1,000 square feet. They had 800 to 900 square feet here, she said.
Bocchino said they were fortunately able to salvage their paper files which were in metal cabinets and, although the computer was standing in water, a company they hired said it would be able to recover the hard drive.
"They will be transferring it to new computers," she said. But, she added, "it’s difficult because until we get the new computers and can transfer [the records from the hard drive], there’s not much we can do."
Even so, she said, she and her husband, who are also looking for rental office equipment, are having an easier time than a dental office on the first floor. The office is listed on the building directory as "Immediate Dental."
"It’s not easy," she noted, "to put together an entire dental office."