RED BANK: BEER GARDEN, VEGAN PLANS OK’D

img_5866Birravino’s proposal for a 1,500-square-foot beer garden, as shown to the left of the existing restaurant in renderings below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Renderings by Michael James Monroe. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

birravino-plan-120516Two Red Bank restaurants won approvals for expansion plans Monday night.

• The borough planning board gave unanimous a OK to Good Karma Café, the only vegan restaurant downtown, to triple in size by leasing vacant retail space next door.  Read More »

RED BANK: RESTAURANT PLANS ON AGENDA

Good KarmaGood Karma Café has proposed expanding into the East Front Street space vacated earlier this year Creative Kitchens, which relocated to Mechanic Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s rapidly growing restaurant scene once again dominates the attention of the borough planning board Monday night.

That’s when a vegan restaurant expansion, a beer garden addition to another restaurant, and the possible creation of a new one occupy a busy agenda.

Read More »

RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN APPROVED

74 broad st. 092713The upper two floors of the building, which have been vacant for years, will get two apartments each. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A landmark Red Bank building’s upper two floors will be turned into spacious apartments under a plan approved by the borough zoning board Thursday night.

In a rarity in this parking-starved town, the change would reduce the demand for downtown spots, the building’s new owner told the board.

Read More »

RED BANK: LOT OWNERS CAN NOW TRY AGAIN

55 w front 062016The vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Eight months after they were rejected by the Red Bank zoning board, the owners of a vacant lot in downtown Red Bank can now try again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building on the site.

That’s the upshot of an ordinance adopted by the borough council Monday night after yet another tiebreaker vote by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: HOTEL ACCESS PLAN CRITICIZED

hampton-inn-112116An architect’s rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn, as seen from Riverside Avenue, with the existing VNA building at right. (Rendering by Louis Silverstein. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

After years of litigation and other delays, a proposed Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway returned to the borough planning board Monday night — and quickly ran into opposition.

Board member Guy Maratta sharply criticized a plan to allow vehicles to turn left into the Route 35 site across two lanes of southbound traffic that he said averages 60 miles per hour.

“Somebody is going to die, mark my words,” Maratta told the traffic engineer for the applicant, Rbank Capital.

Read More »

RED BANK: BASIE PARKING DEAL YIELDS GAIN

mike-whelan-110416Councilman Mike Whelan outside borough hall earlier this month.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1It may not seem like much, stacked up against a $22.4 million budget. Still, it’s like finding money on the ground, says first-year Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan.

A deal Whelan initiated that gives the Count Basie Theatre access to the borough hall parking lot across Monmouth Street has netted the borough nearly $14,000 since it went into effect earlier this year, he says.

Read More »

RED BANK: HAMPTON INN RETURNS

hampton inn 062016Architect Lou Silverstein with a rendering of the proposed hotel, at center above, as seen from the Middletown side of Cooper’s Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

Almost six years after it was first proposed, a Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway remains nothing more than an abstraction, existing solely as mountain of engineer and litigation documents.

The developer hopes to finally turn it into a seven-story reality.

Read More »

SANDY HOOK: BACKERS RALLY TO SAVE HOUSE

sandlass-house-renderingThe Sandlass House, reimagined as a museum, above, and as seen in July, 2015, below. (Rendering by Anderson Campanella Archictects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD
sandlass house 070415 4

A group of preservationists trying to save the last remnants of a long-forgotten Sandy Hook beach resort from the wrecking ball.

Dubbed the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House, the group has begun circulating a petition calling on the National Park Service, which owns the house as part of Gateway National Recreation Area, not to knock it down, and allow them to turn it into a museum.

Read More »

RED BANK: VAN ZANDT LINEUP TO ROCK BASIE

van-zandt-guadagno-111416-1Steven Van Zandt and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno on stage at the Basie Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-marquee-111416A four-night campaign of classic rock shows curated by E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt in coming months will help drive a $20 million expansion Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, officials said Monday.

But the names of the acts to be spotlighted in the series remained under wraps at a press conference held on the stage of the Vaudeville-era venue.
Read More »

RED BANK: GARAGE DEBATE PREVIEWED

white-st-lot-110816A public hearing on a key measure in the push for a possible garage at the White Street lot, above, is slated for December 14. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Argument over a potential parking garage for downtown Red Bank dominated the first post-election meeting of the borough council Wednesday night.

No action related to the gradually advancing proposal was on the agenda. But the brief debate may have been an early taste of what’s to come next month, when the council holds a public hearing on a key step in the process.

Read More »

RED BANK: JAMIAN’S, LADY K PLANS OK’D

jamians-elevation-110816-2The facade of Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street would nearly double in length with the addition of two storefronts to the right of the existing one, seen below. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

81 monmouth 080216A popular Red Bank bar/restaurant and a yet-to-open bakery won approval for expansion plans from the borough planning board Monday night.

Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street plans to expand by taking over the next-door spots formerly rented by Art’s Barber Shop, which closed this summer after nearly 50 years in business, and a space leased by a cellphone vendor.

Read More »

RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE CLEARS HURDLE

rb white st 070915 3A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking now goes back to the council for possible adoption, followed by a request for proposals from builders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1A concept zoning plan for a parking garage that could double the capacity of Red Bank’s White Street parking lot cleared its latest hurdle Monday night, when the borough planning board found it compliant with the town’s Master Plan.

But in returning the document to the borough council for further action, the board asked for reconsideration of some of its particulars. Among them: making sure that any stores and restaurants in the new structure not be exempt from — wait for it — parking requirements.

Read More »

RED BANK: RIVERVIEW UNVEILS CANCER WING

riverview-oncology-101516riverview-oncology-110216-1A new 29,000-square-foot oncology center, including the dramatic 3,700-square-foot lobby above and at right, debuted at Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center Wednesday night, helped into existence by a $3 million donation by Carol Stillwell of Colts Neck. Philadelphia firm BTK Architects designed the $35 million project, which includes two new TrueBeam linear accelerators for radiotherapy and 22 beds for inpatient care.

Read More »

RED BANK: A THIRD CAREER, IN HEALTHCARE

sal-cannizzaro-101416-1Sal Cannizzaro outside the latest addition to his newest Immediate Care walk-in health center chain in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The new Immediate Care urgent-care center in Red Bank has all the markings of a healthcare industry play, suggesting teams of doctors pooling their resources to exploit an opening in the era of Obamacare.

But the brains behind the operation is actually a former print-shop owner who’s now on his third career, none of which required studying cadavers or using stethoscopes.

Read More »

RED BANK: FUGLY BUILDING UP FOR MAKEOVER

39 e front 071514The new owners of 39 East Front Street propose to redo the facade in the style below, with a restaurant or shops on the ground floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering below by Monteforte Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

39-e-front-st-103116Downtown Red Bank’s fugliest building may get a facelift and a new life as home to a restaurant or stores.

After the last owner tried and failed to win approval for a combination pharmacy and convenience store, the new owners of 39 East Front Street have filed plans that include replacing the bunker-like stucco facade.

Read More »

RED BANK: PARKING PLAN INTRODUCED

rb parking 041416 1A redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot now goes to the planning board for review. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Merchants, and at least one elected official, were jubilant after the Red Bank council’s latest move toward possible construction of a downtown parking deck Wednesday night.

By a 6-0 vote, the governing body agreed to introduce an ordinance that could result in the adoption of a redevelopment plan for the White Street municipal lot.

What’s in the 10-page plan? Only insiders knew, but to advocates for a large-scale solution to the parking shortage downtown, that didn’t matter. Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: NEW HOME FLOATS INTO VIEW

290-ocean-ave-sb-101016-1The house, at 290 Ocean Avenue, features an unusual tunnel underneath the living space. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

WhatsGoingOnHere

One of the more unusual construction projects on the Greater Red Bank Green has been catching the eyes of passersby on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright in recent months.

There, Red Bank builder Mike Villane is overseeing the creation of a house that appears to hover beside the Shrewsbury River, with a tunnel underneath.

Read More »

RED BANK: STATION COMPLEX WINS APPROVAL

denholtz-101716-5An architectural rendering shows the Oakland Street side of the proposed project, to be built on the present site of a taxi stand. The existing San Remo restaurant and vacant former Racioppi’s building are in the foreground. (Rendering by Monteforte Architectural Studio. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03An ambitious mixed-use project with 45 apartments and its own parking garage alongside the Red Bank train station won unanimous approval by the planning board Monday night.

Board members praised the plan, by Matawan-based Denholtz Associates, as one that fulfills the vision of the “train station overlay” zone to a tee.

“It seems to me the first project to really take advantage of that designation and be creative,” said board member and borough Administrator Stanley Sickels.

Read More »

RED BANK: 5-4 BOARD VOTE ADVANCES PLAN

55-w-front-aerial-101716A Google Maps sky view of the vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. (Photo by Google. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03By a 5-4 vote, the Red Bank planning board advanced a proposed ordinance that would give a  a thwarted developer another shot at building on a downtown lot.

The issue, concerning a former nursing home site at 55 West Street, prompted sharp disagreement among board members that mirrored divisions at recent council meetings, with proponents arguing the measure is needed to end a long vacancy and opponents calling it an “end-around” to a zoning board decision.

“It just stinks,” planning board member and former Councilman Art Murphy said of the measure.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: A BARNYARD CELEBRATION

ls-barns-101616-10About 100 Little Silver residents, joined by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagnols-barns-101616-4, celebrated the completion of restoration work on the three barns at the Parker Homestead Sunday.

The structures, the oldest of which is believed to have been built in the 1790s, and the Parker farm site on which they sit are “as important as Jamestown” in the history of America, Mayor Bob Neff told the crowd.

The restoration, funded with a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, was completed after a dispute with a contractor was resolved and a second contractor, Drill Construction, came on board in January, said Keith Wells, a trustee for the nonprofit Parker Homestead 1665 Inc., the nonprofit that oversaw the project. Two carpenters, Joe Rubel and Mike Cerniglia, were credited for work.

Click the “read more” for additional photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLANS TO BE HEARD

denholtz 080416 18HOT-TOPIC_03Two apartment projects — one next to the train station and the other in the heart of downtown — are scheduled to be heard by Red Bank land use regulators this week.

The first, by Denholtz Associates, would create a 45-unit mixed-use building with a parking garage extending from the taxi dispatch office on Oakland Street the office building shown above, on Chestnut Street.

The proposal is slated to be heard by the planning board tonight at 6:30 p.m. For more details, see redbankgreen‘s coverage from August, when the plan was filed. Read More »

RED BANK: YNGSTROM BLASTED FOR COMMENTS

erik yngstrom 031716Erik Yngstrom at the March zoning board meeting at which he made the motion to reject development plans for 55 West Front Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainRed Bank Councilman Mark Taylor says Democratic council candidate Erik Yngstrom should resign from the zoning board for calling a controversial effort to bypass a board decision “fishy.”

In a press release issued Friday, Taylor accused Yngstrom of using his board position “as a platform to make several inappropriately political comments in an effort to further his own Council candidacy.”

Read More »

RED BANK: VACANT LOT SPLITS COUNCIL AGAIN

55 w front 062016The fenced-in lot at 55 West Front Street, next door to Trinity Episcopal Church, was formerly the site of a nursing home. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Advancing a plan to ease the possible redevelopment of a vacant Red Bank lot again proved controversial Wednesday night.

With both Democratic council members allied with the sole independent against the three Republicans, Mayor Pasquale Menna was again forced to cast a tie-breaker vote on the next step in an effort to rezone the downtown site.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: REBUILDING BONDS UPHELD

sb parking 081916 7By a 2-to-1 margin, Sea Bright voters endorsed the plan to erect two new buildings to house all public operations on the fringes of the municipal beach. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sea Bright voters gave landslide approval Tuesday to a plan to rebuild every public structure wiped out by Sandy.

In a special election on a trio of bonding actions taken by the borough council in June, voters by a 2-1 margin backed the plan, which would put two sizable new structures with a combined price tag of $12.73 million at the edge of the municipal beach.

Read More »