FAR HILLS – Melillo Equities’ revitalization of the Far Hills Center has received the 2021 Somerset County Land Development and Planning award for “Excellence in Commercial Adaptive Use Planning.
“We are very proud and absolutely thrilled to receive Somerset County’s recognition of our work,” said Managing Partner Anthony Melillo. “We would also like to thank our partners involved in the construction and design of the buildings and grounds.”
The center, which is an assemblage of buildings, has served the community in various ways for more than a century.
Following several incarnations as home to Somerset Hills Preparatory, Matheny School and, briefly, Far Hills Country Day School, it was converted into a vigorous hub of area-wide shopping and services.
In recent years, however, the commercial center lost several prime tenants, such as national retailer Country Curtains, and had fallen into a state of neglect and disrepair.
Recognizing its local and historical significance, Melillo said there “was never a question” whether the center should be preserved.
“And it now supports the needs of 21st century small businesses,” he said. “We felt very strongly that it needed to be brought back to its former beauty and status as centerpiece in the town’s commercial district.”
Melillo Equities conducted its complete restoration from footing to frame.
The firm’s painstaking efforts maintained the structure’s original look, leaving details such as the building’s original hand-hewn wooden beams, exterior framework, stone foundation and distinctive Dutch-inspired gambrel roof design intact.
While the exterior carefully complements surrounding period architecture, its contemporary interior includes cathedral ceilings, loft offices and open floor plans – meeting or exceeding today’s standards for energy conservation, security and communication.
Reprising its role as a community hub, the center again hosts an array of locally owned and managed businesses and services.
The businesses currently operating at the center are: M&M Perrotti’s, GloEsthetics, The Studio at Far Hills, Samsara Vision, BTWN the Ears, Excel Physical Therapy, Far Hills Power Yoga and the BATI Juice Bar.
Additionally, Peapack-based artist Eric Kahn has chosen to launch a fund-raising initiative upon its lobby walls, accessible to the public during business hours, in which 50 percent of “mini-exhibit” sales are donated to a mix of local community non-profits.
In the heart of Far Hills, the property lies within a 10-minute walk of Moorland Farm, J. Malcolm Belcher Fairgrounds, Borough Hall and NJ Transit’s Far Hills station, among other destinations.
“We’ve intentionally incorporated pedestrian-friendly design features that encourage walkable/bikeable access and interconnectedness with other in-town destinations,” Melillo said.
“We’re optimistic that revitalization of our Far Hills Center will inspire others to introduce new options for people to enjoy within downtown Far Hills.”
Melillo Equities is a real estate private equity firm.
For more information regarding Melillo Equities, visit www.melilloequities.com or @MelilloEquities on Instagram.