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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN RETURNS

A view of the proposed project, as seen from the opposite side of West Front Street. (Rendering by Rotwein + Blake. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After several months of dormancy, one of Red Bank’s more hotly disputed land-use proposals is expected to return next week.

The owners of the vacant downtown lot at 55 West Front Street are scheduled to try once again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building that the zoning board shot down almost a year ago, triggering a series of measures that split the borough council for much of the year.

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RED BANK: ONE-STOP WEDDING BIZ OPENS

The Wedding Establishment takes over a space vacated by Love Lane Tuxedos 13 years ago. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAs the son of a singer in a wedding band, Mike Hernandez Jr. says he “grew up in the wedding business.” He was there when the band came to the house for its weekly rehearsals, and when no babysitter was available, he’d be schlepped to gigs, killing time behind the drummer.

That, and much more, he says, makes him well-qualified to create something he doesn’t believe has ever succeeded before: a one-stop market for wedding services. And in doing so, he’s ended one of downtown Red Bank’s most enduring vacancies.

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RUMSON: UTILITIES TO GO BELOW RIVER

Natural gas and water supply lines are to be tunneled beneath the Shrewsbury River between Rumson Road in Rumson, above, and Sea Bright. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Residents of Rumson and Sea Bright may see an unusual construction project as early as next month, when two utility companies run new service lines connecting the towns 25 feet below the floor of the Shrewsbury River.

Municipal and utility officials said they expect minimal disruption to traffic during the monthlong project, when New Jersey Natural Gas and New Jersey-American Water plan to drill beneath the river from Sea Bright to Rumson and then pull about a quarter-mile of piping across the span.

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RED BANK: PARKING FORUM OPENS ‘DIALOGUE’

Red Bank “is losing its position as a walking community” in part because of a lack of parking, said Joel McFadden, a White Street jeweler who served as event moderator.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to get a “dialogue” going with residents about the need for a downtown parking garage, Red Bank merchants hosted a town hall meeting that drew dozens to the borough middle school Monday night.

There, members of the Red Bank Business Alliance served up their perspectives on what they see as a longstanding problem that’s worsened in recent years under a changeover from a retail economy to one driven by restaurants and entertainment.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON INN WINS APPROVAL

Peter Steck, a planner hired by an opponent of the proposed hotel, testified that the developer was “stuffing” the one-acre site. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After nearly seven years of battles, a proposed hotel at the northernmost entrance to Red Bank won approval Monday night.

The planning board’s OK of a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge came after a last-minute concession by the developer.

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RED BANK: TOUTING A ‘SIMPLE’ PARKING FIX

Downtown property owner John Bowers hired an architect to show the borough what it might build without involving a private developer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Instead of trying to entice a private developer with high-profit-margin sweeteners like apartments and retail space, what if Red Bank addressed its downtown parking problem simply by building a “pure” garage itself?

That’s what landlord John Bowers wants to know, and he’s on a campaign to head off the borough’s White Street redevelopment effort before it leads both taxpayers and merchants over a cliff.

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RED BANK: PARKING FORUM SLATED

Does downtown Red Bank need a new parking garage? If so, how big should it be, what else should it include, and who should pay for it?

Questions like those will be on the table at a town-hall style meeting slated for Monday, February 6.

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RED BANK: SUIT FILED OVER GARAGE HEIGHT

Cindy Burnham, seen here at a candidate’s forum last October, during her unsuccessful council re-election campaign. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1A group of Red Bank residents formed by former Councilwoman Cindy Burnham filed suit Monday to derail efforts to build a garage for at least 773 vehicles in the heart of town.

Burnham, who failed in her re-election bid as a Republican-turned-independent in November after one term, said although she supports the construction of a garage, the eight-story structure permitted under a redevelopment plan authorized by the council last week is “just too high.”

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RED BANK: FOOTWEAR, FRUIT BOWLS, FACIALS

The Doc Shoppe, which moved to Red Bank from Fair Haven in 2014, plans to close at the end of March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s last-remaining shoe store is closing.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn includes news on the departure of the Doc Shoppe; the opening of an exotic-fruit bar and café; and plans by a high-end beauty products retailer to open downtown. Read More »

RED BANK: PARKING PLANS SOLICITED

basie parking 012517 2Count Basie Theatre security worker Dennis O’Keefe working the entrance to the borough hall parking lot Wednesday night. A restaurant owner cited theater activity for creating parking issues last weekend. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1An effort to coax a 773-vehicle garage into the heart of Red Bank cleared another speedbump Wednesday night.

At its semimonthly meeting, the borough council authorized a request for proposals, or RFP, from developers interested in building on the 2.3-acre municipal lot on White Street.

But first, it tweaked the requirements to be more environmentally friendly.
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RED BANK: DONATED HOUSE COMING DOWN

rb 27 linden 012417doug-cavanaughTwo years after the death of its owner, the house at 27 Linden Place in Red Bank is slated for demolition this week.

Doug Cavanaugh, seen at right in 2009 painting a hitching post he installed outside the house, left the property in his will to Saint James Roman Catholic Church, whose schools he’d attended.

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RED BANK: WHITE STREET PARKING ON AGENDA

rb-parking-white-st-111316-1Got a parking plan for White Street? The borough will accept proposals from qualified developers until April 26. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Park it 2017A call for ideas to remake the White Street lot into a parking garage anchors a busy Red Bank council agenda Wednesday night.

Up for discussion for the the first time is a request for proposals, or RFP, to transform the 2.3-acre municipal parking lot on White Street into a facility that nearly triples the current capacity of 273 vehicles while adding, possibly, housing and retail space.

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RED BANK: GUT JOB, BUT NO EATERY FOR NOW

39 e front 011817Architect Jim Monteforte details proposed facade changes to 39 East Front Street, seen below, at Wednesday night’s planning board meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering below by Monteforte Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

39 e front 071514A proposed makeover of a bunker-like building in downtown Red Bank won unanimous approval from the borough planning board Wednesday night.

But the board held off on allowing the building’s new owners to create a restaurant on the ground floor.

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RED BANK: OPEN-AIR STAIR MAY BE ENCLOSED

Designed by Red Bank architect Jerome Morley Larson in the 1970s, the open-air stairway would be enclosed as shown below if the plan is approved.  (Photo by John T. Ward; rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE: The planning board hearing on this proposal has been rescheduled to February 2.]

By JOHN T. WARD

7 broad elevation 011617For the second time in less than four years, proposed changes to one of downtown Red Bank’s most distinctive buildings are slated for review by the borough zoning board Thursday night.

The plan for 7 Broad Street calls for enclosing the building’s unusual open-air staircase and refacing the building as shown at right, along with converting second-floor offices to apartments.

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SHREWSBURY: BIG PROJECTS IN THE WORKS

766-broad-shrews-010617The former Catelli Brothers slaughterhouse on Broad Street is to be demolished to make way for 81 senior-living units under a plan approved last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Some big developments are on drawing boards in Shrewsbury:

• A former abattoir is to be razed to make way for senior housing

• Three office buildings would be demolished and replaced by new supermarket

• And hearings continue over a proposal for a gas station and convenience store.

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RED BANK: TILE STORE MAKES BIG SPLASH

nemo-tile-010317-2New York City-based Nemo Tile opened a showroom in the former home of Nirvana clothing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

In this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn, the seemingly relentless restaurantization of Red Bank takes a bathroom break.

Nemo Tile and Stone opened a showroom last week in the former Nirvana clothing store space at 21 White Street. But the New York-based company’s first foray into New Jersey is no mere toe-in-the-water: it’s a 4,000-square-foot plunge into the heart of downtown.

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS REASSERT CONTROL

yvonne-erik-yngstrom-010116Erik Yngstrom embraces his mother, Yvonne Yngstrom, after giving his oath as councilman. Below, Kathy Horgan began her fourth term on the council and was elected its president. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kathy-horgan-010117Red Bank’s first Republican majority in a generation ended after just a year Sunday, when Democrats regained control of the borough council.

With the addition of political newcomer Erik Yngstrom to the governing body, the Democrats now share 3-3 parity with the GOP on the council. But with the support of three-term Mayor Pasquale Menna as the tiebreaker to any potential deadlock, the Democrats wasted no time in doling out key jobs to partisans.

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RED BANK: MENNA WANTS BOLD, GREEN DECK

menna-whelan-110216Mayor Pasquale Menna, left with Councilman Mike Whelan at the opening of the new cancer treatment wing at Riverview Medical Center in October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Parking issues once again dominated as the Red Bank council wrapped up its 2016 meeting schedule Wednesday night.

• Mayor Pasquale Menna sketched out a vision for a environmentally and architecturally bold parking garage on the site of the borough’s White Street parking lot.

• A downtown property owner laid out a plan for erecting a prefab garage that he said would be fast and economical.

• The council extended yet again a moratorium on fees charged to developers of new businesses that win variances for parking shortfalls.

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FAIR HAVEN: ACME CENTER TO GET MAKEOVER

fh-acme-center-122216-1Plans call for the creation of a pedestrian passageway linking the north and south parking lots through the former Laird’s Stationery space next door to the existing Post Office. The “salon & spa” sign is for illustration purposes only. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThe owner of the Fair Haven strip mall anchored by an Acme supermarket plans extensive renovations to the site, according to documents filed with the borough last week.

The plans include dividing the former Laird’s Stationery space in two to create a pedestrian breezeway linking the front and rear parking lots. But they leave unanswered questions about whether other longtime tenants might be forced out, as the owners of Laird’s contend they were.

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RED BANK: HOTEL ANTAGONIST RETURNS

larry-cohen-rbank-hampton-121916Rbank Capital managing partner and would-be Hampton Inn developer Larry Cohen at Monday night’s planning board hearing with an architect’s rendering of the hotel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A hotel developer’s long and contentious battle to build a 76-room Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway grew longer more contentious Monday night.

It also got a bit deja vu-y when, for the second time in the plan’s six-year history, its chief antagonist, lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, returned, claiming once again to represent a client with legal standing to challenge the plan.

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RED BANK: WILL HAMPTON INN GET THE KEYS?

hampton-inn-112116HOT-TOPIC_03Will a new hotel finally get the keys to Red Bank? After almost six years in litigation and other delays, a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn proposed on the former site of a Exxon station at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge could go to a vote Monday night.

But first, the plan must overcome the objections of at least one planning board member, who has warned that the hotel’s traffic plan is dangerously flawed to the point that “someone is going to die” if it’s allowed.

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