Hopewell Valley Community Bank has made a deal to be acquired by Woodbridge-based Northfield Bank in a cash and stock deal worth $54.9 million for the shareholders of HVCB, a 10-branch bank founded in 1998.

“Hopewell Valley is a strong, commercially focused community bank, and we are very pleased with the opportunities this acquisition presents,” John W. Alexander, Northfield’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “This merger will establish an important presence for Northfield in western New Jersey, and it complements and adds strategically to our franchise.”

The bank will have assets of $3.6 billion, loans of $2.6 billion and deposits of $2.4 billion, Northfield said in a press release. With the addition of Northfield’s 20 branches, the new bank will have 19 branches in New Jersey and 21 in Staten Island and Brooklyn. HVCB has branches in Mercer, Somerset, and Middlesex counties with its headquarters on Route 31 in Pennington.

“Our board is excited to partner with a strong, well-managed company like Northfield,” Patrick L. Ryan, chairman of Hopewell Valley, said in a statement. “We considered a number of potential partners and our board unanimously determined that Northfield provided the best value for our shareholders.”

Under the terms of the agreement, 75 percent of Hopewell Valley’s outstanding shares of common stock will be exchanged for Northfield’s common stock at a fixed ratio of 0.9592 Northfield shares for each Hopewell Valley share, and the remaining 25 percent will be exchanged for $14.50 in cash. James Hyman, HVCB CEO, will remain with Northfield as regional president for the Hopewell Valley franchise.

The boards of the banks have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

Acquisition by a larger entity is a common path for community banks. Stephen Distler, the businessman who founded the Bank of Princeton in 2007, told U.S. 1 in a previous interview that a successful community bank can provide a good return for investors in a few years’ time. (U.S. 1, June 17, 2015.)

The Bank of Princeton is the first community bank to be based in Princeton since the days of the First National Bank of Princeton and the Princeton Bank & Trust

Some notable bank mergers of recent years include Yardville National Bank being bought by PNC in 2007, and Roma Bank’s 2013 buyout by Investors Bancorp.

Historically, waves of mergers have been followed by flurries of new community banks opening, with the late 1990s and the mid 2000s seeing the foundation of a number of new community banks in the Route 1 corridor. “All you needed to start a bank at that time was $6 million, a president, and a lease” Distler said of the most recent bank boom. “It was a good economic time. A lot of people had heard of other people who had made money investing in banks — sometimes six to eight times their investment in a few years.”

Hopewell Valley Community Bank (HWDY), 4 Route 31 South, Box 999, Pennington 08534; 609-466-2900; fax, 609-730-9144. James Hyman, president and CEO. www.hvcbonline.com.

#b#New in Town#/b#

The Free Investors, 3525 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 6150, Hamilton 08619; 201-589-1248; Gopal Gantayat, president. www.thefreeinvestors.com.

The Free Investors, a fee-only advising firm, has opened an office on Quakerbridge Road. The company, founded in 2012, says it manages its clients’ money the same way it does its own investments and does not get paid for referrals.

#b#Expansions#/b#

Creston Hydraulics Inc., 109 Flock Road, Trenton 08619; 609-587-3334; fax, 609-587-2315. Michael McGuire, owner.

Creston Hydraulics is expanding into a neighboring building, going from 4,000 to 10,000 square feet in its location on Flock Road. The company has been in business since 1962 and in its current location since 1970.

Owner Mike McGuire purchased the business from founder Bob Zarilli in 2007 when Zarilli retired. It currently has 12 employees, and McGuire said it may expand its workforce if sales remain strong after the expansion is done in October. The company offers full-service hydraulic repair for contractors, construction, and municipalities.

McGuire said the expansion includes office, showroom, workshop, and warehouse space.

#b#TCNJ Campus Town Opens For Business#/b#

Campus Town, the $120 million development of stores and student apartments on the campus of the College of New Jersey on Pennington Road, is now open for business. The university held a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 20 to celebrate the opening of the 80,000 square feet of commercial space. The university said 446 students moved in to the new housing on August 23.

“Campus Town enhances the living-learning environment at TCNJ, provides much needed student housing, and offers amenities to our neighbors in Ewing,” said TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “Thanks to our public-private partnership with the PRC Group, it was built without any tuition or public dollars.”

The development includes a Barnes & Noble college bookstore. More shops will follow as the fall goes on, including a Red Berry Frozen Yogurt, Piccolo Pronto, Spencer Savings Bank, Mexican Mariachi Grill, Panera Bread, Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room, Verizon Wireless, Yummy Sushi, and Polished Nails Salon.

#b#Route 130 Land Sale#/b#

Matrix Development Group has purchased 35 acres of land at 530-584 Route 130. DTZ, a Chatham-based commercial real estate company, said its team of Andrew Houston, Chuck Fern, Tyler Peck, and Graham Stephens represented the buyer as well as the institutional owner of the land.

The parcel is located in Hamilton south of Klockner Road across from the Shoppes at Hamilton shopping center.

#b#College Road East Renovated#/b#

National Business Parks, the managing entity of 12 office and laboratory buildings located at College Park at Princeton Forrestal Center, has completed a renovation project at 101 College Road East that included upgrades to common areas in the building.

Included in the project are new lighting, flooring, and wall covering in the lobby and restrooms, as well as upgrades to the elevator cab interiors of the 1979 building.

“This completed modernization project achieves our goal of continuing a tradition of excellence in the Class A office and laboratory buildings we manage. Our ability to successfully attract and retain tenants that are global leaders in the research, development, and technology industries, is a strong indicator of our commitment to maintain our buildings in pristine condition at all times,” said Vincent Marano, COO of National Business Parks.

The company is seeking tenants for the second and third floor of 2 Research Way, the third floor in 4 Research Way, and for lab space at 305 College Road East.

#b#Management Moves#/b#

New Jersey State Nurses Association/Institute for Nursing, 1479 Pennington Road, Trenton 08618-2661; 609-883-5335; fax, 609-883-5343. Judith Schmidt, CEO. www.njsna.org.

New Jersey State Nurses Association has made permanent the title of Judith Schmidt, who has served as interim CEO of the trade group since 2014. The NJSNA advocates for nurses and provides continuing education.

“Judith is a dedicated nursing leader committed to NJSNA who has served as an exemplary role model,” said Norma L Rodgers, board president of the NJSNA and the affiliated Institute for Nursing. “She has exhibited leadership under pressure in a constantly changing professional association environment. She handles challenges with grace, patience, and a level head.”

Schmidt, pictured above, is the immediate past president of NJSNA, and has been serving as the interim chief executive officer since December, 2014. “Through collaboration and cooperation with the many health care and nursing organizations, I believe NJSNA will see continued growth and increased recognition as the voice for the profession of nursing in New Jersey,” Schmidt said.

For more than three decades, Schmidt has practiced at Community Medical Center in Toms River, where she is currently the nurse educator for the night shift staff. As a clinical instructor, she has taught at Seton Hall University, College of Nursing and Ocean County College.

A Seton Hall University College of Nursing MSN graduate, Schmidt was awarded a BSN by Stockton State College and AAS in nursing at Ocean County College.

#b#Crosstown Moves#/b#

Black Oak Energy, 20 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542; 609-275-7260; fax, 609-275-7263. Rene Francoeur, www.blackoakenergy.com.

Black Oak Energy, a small energy trader, has moved from Carnegie Center to 20 Nassau Street.

BioClinica Inc., 105 Carnegie Center, Suite 105, Princeton 08540-6251; 609-452-5167;

BioClinica, a biotech company based in Newtown, Pennsylvania, has moved its imaging core lab and cardiac safety unit from Carnegie Center to the company’s existing operation at Overlook Center in Princeton. The division was formerly CoreLab before being bought by BioClinica in 2013. The company has about 1,200 employees in the U.S. and overseas.

#b#Death#/b#

Donald Capps, 76, on August 26. He was a professor of pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1981 until 2009.

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