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RED BANK: WALGREENS NEIGHBORS SEEK HELP

rb walgreens 072315 1Area residents say they’re concerned about the impact of a new Walgreens on local road safety. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Motorists using a shortcut along the Red Bank-Little Silver border may have to find another workaround to congestion soon.

But not quite as soon as area residents had hoped. The Red Bank council tapped the brakes on itself Wednesday night, when two neighbors of a Walgreens store now under construction said a planned order for new stop signs didn’t go far enough.

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CHURN: RED GOES DARK, SOUTH MOON RISES

red restaurant 030215 1The first-floor restaurant at red, now closed for remodeling, will reopen under a new name in coming months. The upstairs nightclub remains open on Friday and Saturday nights. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Calling his Red Bank restaurant “red” 12 years ago turned out not to be the smartest choice in the era of the search engine, Dan Lynch admits with a laugh.

But that’s not why he shut down the Broad Street restaurant for a first-floor makeover and rebranding last Saturday, he tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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CHURN: JEWELERY & CLOTHING SHOPS OPEN

evan piscitelli 022015Jeweler Evan Piscitelli in his new Red Bank shop, Thrill Her Diamonds. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508This edition of Retail Churn offers a belated welcome to a jewelry store that opened in downtown Red Bank in December.

Also in this Churn: a new women’s clothing boutique; a new stock brokerage; and an update on the Red Bank Walgreens.

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RED BANK: CLASSIC RASSAS SIGN RESCUED

rassas sign 091714 2 rassas sign 091714 3A bit banged up but salvageable, one of the classic neon Rassas Buick signs in Red Bank seen below in 2013 – was saved from the bulldozer Wednesday by restoration aficionado John Oakley of Fantastic Signs. Oakley credits Pete Esposito and crew from Esposito Construction with “going above and beyond” to get the sign down intact. Now, restoration of the open-face letter channel sign “will make a nice winter project,” said Oakley, whose Shrewsbury Avenue shop has become something of a museum of local signage. redbankgreen will let readers know when it’s done.

The former Rassas auto dealership was torn down this week to make way for a new Walgreens pharmacy. (Photo above and right by John Oakley. Click to enlarge)

rassas 1 052213

RED BANK: WALGREENS BEGINS RX WORK

rb walgreens 091514Rcsm2_010508Contrary to speculation in a redbankgreen article back in March, when we reported that Walgreens was “reviewing” whether to go ahead with its controversial plan for a Red Bank store, the pharmacy giant is… going ahead with its plan for a Red Bank store.

Demolition began Monday on the former Rassas Buick showroom at 395 Broad Street, opposite the SuperFoodtown market. Monmouth County records show that Aaron Rassas sold the longtime home of his family auto dealership to a company affiliated with Walgreens’ developer Mark Development on July 31 for $3.35 million. Information about the store’s expected opening date was not immediately available.

Rassas Pontiac, which opened at 21 Mechanic Street in 1930, relocated to the Broad Street site in 1949 and operated there continuously until it shut down in early 2013. There’s some more history here. (Photo by Michael McMahon. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WALGREENS RETHINKS STORE PLAN

rassas 032214The former home of Rassas Buick, at Broad Street and Rumson Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01Just six weeks after a series of contentious hearings won Walgreens an OK to build a store in Red Bank, the pharmacy chain is “reviewing [its] options” on the plan, redbankgreen has learned.

So says Aaron Rassas, the retired car dealer who owns the one-acre Broad Street site where Walgreens planned to build a 10,120 square foot drug-and-grocery emporium.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S GETS GREEN LIGHT

walgreen's 021914 1Walgreen’s developer Marc Steinberg greets neighborhood supporters after winning plan approval. Below, the revised site plan, at left, called for a smaller structure than the prior proposal, at right. The building was also  moved slightly from the property lines along Garfield Place and Broad Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

walgreen's 021914 2After six months of hearings and a close call with defeat, a proposed Walgreen’s store won approval from the Red Bank planning board Wednesday night.

The 6 to 2 vote came after store developer Marc Steinberg revised his  plan by shrinking the proposed building and changing its placement on the site of the former Rassas Buick auto dealership on Broad Street, at the southern gateway in the heart of town.

The vote also followed passionate pleas by neighbors, one of whom said Steinberg had “bent over backwards” to address their concerns, while others called the changes “token” measures.

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RED BANK: HEAVY PLANNING BOARD AGENDA

train-76209Newly oepned Carlo’s Bake Shop seeks permission to offer table service. Also on the agenda: the Walgreen’s plan for lower Broad Street, below. (Photo above by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb walgreens 2 091613Red Bank’s planning board has a lot on its plate Monday night.

The agenda calls for the board to hear testimony on three high-profile plans:

• The controversial Walgreen’s application for a 14,200-square-foot store at the former Rassas Buick car lot on Broad Street.

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WALGREEN’S MOVES; NEIGHBORS NOT SO MUCH

walgreen's 2 102113Borough engineer Christine Ballard, left, of T&M Associates, answers neighbors’ questions about the Walgreen’s proposal during a break in Monday night’s hearing. Below, a plan shows the flow of delivery trucks in yellow. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

walgreen's 1 102113A Walgreen’s pharmacy proposed for Red Bank got moved a few feet since it was first pitched to the borough planning board, company representatives said Monday night.

It also got a bit of an architectural makeover to make a long, windowless wall less forbidding. Both changes were intended to address concerns of nearby residents.

But questions from both neighbors and board members persisted about why the store, at 14,200 square feet, has to be so large. And the answer that kept coming back was: it’s smaller than the “typical” Walgreen’s.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S PLANS DRAW CONCERN

rb walgreens 3 091613Red Bank resident Patricia Meenan asks a question as engineer Dan Dougherty and attorney Marty McGann, in white shirt, look on. Below, a rendering of the proposed store. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb walgreens 2 091613A long brick wall, traffic flow and merchandise deliveries emerged as early concerns as the Red Bank Planning Board took up the question of whether to allow a Walgreen’s pharmacy on Broad Street Monday night.

At the first of several expected hearings on the proposal, an engineer for he developer sought to depict the proposed 14,200-square-foot store as an improvement on what was there for decades: the now-closed Rassas Buick showroom, opposite the foot of Maple Avenue.

There will be less impervious ground cover, more greenery and better vehicular access, according to engineer Dan Dougherty.

But questions from board members and the public reflected concerns about the store’s size, placement and more.

“Garfield Place will be 137 feet of brick wall,” said nearby resident Art Ziemanis.

“A 137-foot brick wall standing 37 feet at its peak – it just doesn’t seem to fit the site,” said Monica Boscarino.

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RED BANK: DRIVE-THRU CHANGE SAILS THRU

rassas 7 052213The change will not apply to a proposed Walgreen’s store at the former site of Rassas Buick, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01A change to Red Bank’s law on drive-thru businesses got quick service Wednesday night.

Setting aside opposition by the lawyer for a proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy and by Coffee Corral owner Russ Crosson, the council gave unanimous approval to a zoning change that requires new drive-thrus to be located 100 feet from a residential zone.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S PLANS OPEN HOUSE

aaron rassas 041013Aaron Rassas, seen at his car dealership shortly before it closed in April, wants the public to examine plans for a Walgreen’s on the site. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Seeking to reverse a tide of opposition, the owner of the Red Bank property slated for a giant Walgreen’s pharmacy is inviting the public to come kick the tires on the plan.

Aaron Rassas, owner of the now-closed Rassas’ Buick – and before that, Pontiac – is inviting neighbors and the public in general to an open house September 10 to inspect plans for the former dealership’s one-acre lot, and to meet the developer behind them.
The parcel, at 395 Broad Street,  is under contract to developer Mark Steinberg, who plans to build a 14,200-square-foot Walgreens on it.

NEIGHBORS OPPOSING RED BANK WALGREEN’S

Melissa Grieves, seated at right, addresses neighbors concerned about the planned redevelopment of the former Rassas car lot, below, into a mega-drugstore.  (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A proposed Walgreen’s drugstore on Broad Street in Red Bank would be a bitter pill, say nearby homeowners, who’ve begun to organize for a fight.

About 30 residents of the quiet neighborhood between Pinckney Road and Rumson Place gathered in a Little Silver backyard over coffee Saturday morning to strategize a response to the proposed mega-pharmacy, at the site of the recently-closed Rassas auto dealership.

“I was stunned and extremely concerned,” organizer Melissa Grieves of Salem Place said in an email to redbankgreen. “As a neighborhood, we are concerned about not only our property values, but also the potential for additional car traffic through our quiet streets, as well as lighting and noise concerns, amongst other issues.”

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S EYES RASSAS LOT

The plan calls for access from Broad Street in both directions, as well as from Garfield Place. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Just a month after ending its long run as a car dealership, a gateway property to Red Bank could become a Walgreen’s drugstore.

The former home of Rassas Pontiac/Buick, which closed in April after 83 years in Red Bank, and 64 years at the southernmost address on Broad Street, would become a giant personal-care products emporium, complete with a drive-thru window, according to documents filed with the borough planning office Wednesday.

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