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RED BANK: CHURCH PLAN WINS FULL BLESSING

rb church 033114Developer Bob Silver, below, hugs congregants of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, above, after gaining approval to convert the 62-year-old structure to offices. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bob silver 040314The proposed conversion of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Red Bank into an office complex was praised to the heavens Thursday night, even by a couple of neighbors who’d previously expressed wariness about it.

Developer Bob Silver, who previously converted a Christian Scientist church in Montclair into offices, won kudos for preserving one of Broad Street’s architectural gems while yielding to concerns about traffic. His project, dubbed “Two Eleven Broad,” was also lauded for “saving the home” of a shrunken congregation, which will continue to use a portion of the building, and for touches including electric-car rechargers and bike racks.

Silver is “the best possible neighbor that the neighbors could want,” said abutting property owner William Hartigan of Hudson Avenue, whose concerns about the plan were spotlighted by redbankgreen earlier this week.

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RED BANK: CHURCH PLAN UPSETS NEIGHBORS

hartigan 1 033114William Hartigan notes the proximity of a church garage to his family’s outdoor dining area. Below, the church as seen from Broad Street; the wing at the left would get a second story. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb church 033114It’s a story as old as the concept of property rights: a couple settles into  their dream home, and then the folks next door do something on their patch of heaven to disturb the idyll.

When William and Kathryn Hartigan moved to Red Bank from Jersey City four years ago, they never imagined that the church that abuts their Hudson Avenue property would be anything other than a house of worship, quiet and unnoticed except for the bells pealing in the steeple on Sunday mornings.

But the proposed conversion of First Church of Christ, Scientist on Broad Street into an office complex has Hudson Avenue neighbors alarmed about traffic, and the Hartigans about the impact on their dream.

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