Hammontonians and people passing through town using Bellevue Avenue (Route 54) may have noticed the large dumpster next to the building at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Second Street. That dumpster is a good sign of progress for a building that has been vacant for many years.
Michael Ricca, of Ricca Realty Associates, LLC told The Gazette of plans to renovate the structure and secure a new tenant. The building has had solid tenants in the past, including Sears Roebuck & Co., which occupied the building for many years during the 20th Century; Almost New! Home Furnishings; and Abbott Associates accounting firm with its Hammonton Check Cashing.
The final businesses were the last ones to occupy the building. They moved across Bellevue Avenue, and the building remained vacant for many years. Now its empty shell is being further gutted, and Ricca said plans call for what amounts to a reconstruction of the building, from a new floor, the reintroduction of all utilities and more.
In recent years the Riccas have found excellent tenants for their downtown buildings, and have renovated them into productive, taxpaying properties. This latest building is their next project, and Ricca said there may be a boutique hotel in the future for the Woolley Building (also known locally as the Malinsky Building) on Bellevue Avenue, which is also owned by the Ricca family.
Seeing the dumpster on Second Street and the work being done on the former Sears building is a good sign of progress for the downtown and the entire town. It’s nice to see local people reinvesting in the community and bringing this vacant corner back to life.