A longtime Seaside Park auto service center and gas station, closed for several years, is in the final stages of being demolished.
Work to begin demolishing the Southern Service Center, also known most recently as a Lukoil gas station, started earlier this month with the staging of equipment, and crews began tearing down the building on the property Monday. Sadly, unrelated to the construction, its longtime former owner, Paul Wroblewski, died Friday.
Wroblewski was owner for 48 years before retiring in 2020, and had lived in Seaside Park for 55 years, originally taking a job as the station’s mechanic before purchasing the business. He was also a life member and past chief of the Seaside Park Volunteer Fire Company, where he served for much of his adult life.
The property is being developed by Mattia Builders, the Lavallette-based home-building company that has, likewise, been a staple of the island community for decades. Townhomes, renderings for which are embedded in this story, are planned for the site. Gina Mattia said she is planning to incorporate a tribute to Wroblewski into the property “when the time is right.”
There are four townhomes planned to be built at the site, which spans a half-block along SE Central Avenue at 9th Avenue, designed specifically to fit in with much of the concurrent reconstruction underway in Seaside Park. Mattia said she consulted with neighbors and got a feel for how the community would like to see the site developed before making the decision to take on the project.
“It’s important to keep the vibe of the town intact,” she said. “We’re hoping some people will take these and make them their full-time homes, at least eventually, but it’s also a perfect location near the beach and the stores.”
Crews were making quick work of the demolition on Tuesday as motorists slowed down and pedestrians took a moment to check out the few walls remaining of the landmark business.
“I’m glad they’re going to be building something nice here,” one man walking his dog said as he passed by, after asking a Shorebeat reporter what was replacing the service station. “You can’t beat the neighborhood!”