Buyer steps in: 113-year-old building in Point Pleasant Beach saved from wrecking ball

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A building more than 110 years old in Point Pleasant Beach was saved this week from the wrecking ball after an 11th-hour buyer stepped in, promising to restore it to its glory. 

Arnold Avenue looked much different 113 years ago than it does now. The building was the Gottlieb Department Store. Demolition permits were already issued to tear it down and make way for something new.

After the store closed, different businesses took over the ground floor, while the upstairs was apartments.

However, tenants came and went, and time took its toll on the old building.

Former owner Joe Carannante says he tried to sell the building several times but without success due to its poor condition. “We thought it was a great building until we really started getting involved and saw that the structure is really not a sound structure,” he says.

Carannante says he thought the best option at the time was to knock it down and start over.

That changed when Mayor-Elect Paul Kanitra helped convince Steve Fisher to buy it instead.

Fisher and his wife purchased the building three days ago from Carannante.

Carannante says he was glad the building got another chance. "I really saw that the community wants this building to stay, so that's when we basically decided to go the route that we did and thank God Steve and his wife Sue were able to buy it…we sold it at a loss, not a big loss, but they are going to basically restore it to the way the Gottlieb building was meant to be,” he says.

Fisher says they plan to invest at least a $1 million into restoration, but any blueprints are still months away.

Mayor-Elect Kanitra says he hopes it will serve as a model for other downtown stores to retain their history for future generations to enjoy.

Fisher says, while task will be difficult, it is worth it for the community. “To restore the building back to its glory, make it a beautiful building and then we really like to figure out a way to become a vibrant part of downtown Point Beach and really help Paul and his mission of revitalizing the town preserving the historic character of the downtown."

The neighboring land owner says he's still in litigation over demolition permits on the Gottlieb Building.

Fisher says he hasn't yet thought about what businesses he hopes to attract downstairs

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