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FAIR HAVEN: SKEPTICISM OVER BANK PLAN

fh bank plan 051016 1An architectural rendering of the bank, proposed for the former site of a Sunoco station.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh bank plan 051016 2Like a customer at a balky ATM, a regional bank will have to try again after Fair Haven’s planning board raised numerous objections to a proposed bank branch Tuesday night.

Though the matter didn’t go to a vote, all but one board member cited misgivings about Investors Savings Bank’s plan for a branch on the site of a former River Road filling station.

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RED BANK: WRAPS ARE OFF STATION PLACE

rb station place 100714 2rb station pl 081914 1Black netting, right, that hid the Station Place apartments under construction on Monmouth Street in Red Bank for several months came down this week.

Which is not to say the 57-unit project is finished. Developer Roger Mumford tells redbankgreen that leases will be accepted beginning in late November, but the model units won’t be ready until January. The Station Place website quotes monthly rents “from the mid-$2,000s.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: EX-MAYOR MAY GET FIRE STATION

sb fire house 040114 2Two fire trucks have been relocated out of town and another sits beneath a tent since the firehouse, in the background, was condemned. Former Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka-Adams, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

jo-ann-kalaka-adamsLast we heard from former Sea Bright Mayor Jo-Ann Kalaka Adams, she had just failed to relcaim her old job after an election race that turned in part on property taxes she owed the town.

Fast-forward to now. Kalaka-Adams may start collecting $4,500 a month in rent from the borough for a vacant lot, even though she owes the town $40,000 in overdue property taxes, according to the Asbury Park Press.

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RED BANK: HAMILTON CLOSING STORE

hamilton 050414The Princeton-based jeweler has had its store at 19 Broad Street since 2003.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Hamilton Jewelers is closing its Red Bank store, the company told select customers in a letter last week.

One of a handful of retailers that add high-end sparkle to Broad Street, Hamilton is moving out of 19 Broad Street after failing to come to terms on a new lease, the company said in the letter, signed by President Hank Siegel and Chairman Martin Siegel.

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WEEKEND: THE SECRET WOID IS VARIETY

rb street fair 041413A first responder benefitting spring edition of Street Fair returns to Red Bank Sunday while, below, the one and only GROUCHO goes wild, in the person of Frank Ferrante, Friday night at the Basie. 

grouchoRED BANK: “We all want to be Groucho,” Frank Ferrante told us a few seasons back, “to be that wild, irreverent pulverizer of those in power.”

In the acclaimed stage show An Evening with Groucho, the actor-director gets to be all that and more, as his spot-on channeling of the classic comic force of nature Groucho Marx comes to the Count Basie Theatre for the first time. Performed with piano accompaniment, minimal set and trademark makeup, the 90-minute, all-ages friendly tour de farce mixes canonical Marxist quotes, anecdotes from a life in show business, signature silly songs (“Hooray for Captain Spalding,” “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady”), and — in a bracingly contemporary touch — an interactive element that finds Ferrante/Groucho duckwalking the theater aisles. “Fully one-third of it is improvised,” says Ferrante. “That’s what Groucho’s magic was, really – the ability to create comedy on the spot.” Get your tickets ($19 – $49) right here — and when you take it ’round the corner for more Weekender wonderment, tell ’em Groucho sent you.

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RETRO FASHION OUT, ASIAN EATERY PENDING

43 broad 020414Backward Glances’ owner cited rising rents and diminishing cool as factors in her decision to leave Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508After 28 years in Red Bank, vintage clothing and accessories boutique Backward Glances has departed for Asbury Park.

Also in this edition of redbankgreen Retail Churn: an Asian restaurant hopes to open in English Plaza, just a few doors away from a new hair salon that’s readying for its debut.

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RED BANK: GRANDVILLE RENT HIKE WEIGHED

Grandville Towers neighbors look on as resident Mary Cook, below, questions PRC vice president Tom Arnone, left. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

The Red Bank Rent Leveling Board wrapped up testimony and public comment on a plan for upgrades and higher rents at Grandville Towers Thursday night, but held off on making a decision before next month.

Building manager PRC Group is seeking permission to impose rent surcharges to recover the costs of a proposed $3.6 million rehabilitation-and-upgrade project that has tenants fearing sharp increases.

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RED BANK: GRANDVILLE UPGRADES DETAILED

Tenants Sonia Walker, left, and Jennifer Lugo-Walker study the project plans for the 10-story apartment building, below. (Photo above by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

About 30 residents of Red Bank’s Grandville Towers highrise turned out for a special meeting of the borough Rent Leveling Board Wednesday, anxious about renovation plans and their effect on rents.

Tom Arnone, vice president at he PRC Group, the building’s manager, presented an overview of the the work that – pending RLB approval of rent surcharges – would be done in three phases expected to last a total of about 14 months, starting in September.
Because PRC is still seeking quotes for the work, the surcharges may vary from present estimates, said Arnone, who also serves as a member of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

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GRANDVILLE SLATED FOR FIXES & RENT HIKES

Winds tore off the roof liner at Grandville Towers during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, (Photo by Ken Kalada. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Tenants of Red Bank’s Grandville Towers face rent increases as high as 15 percent under a $3.8 million capital improvement plan to be considered next month by the borough’s rent leveling board.

Teddy Construction Company, owner of the 91-unit high-rise complex, is scheduled make its pitch for the increases at a special board meeting April 2. [UPDATE: The April 2 meeting has been canceled at the request of Teddy’s lawyer. No new date has been set.]

Whether rents can be raised to Teddy’s satisfaction will hinge on whether work slated for the 10-story structure on Morford Place qualifies as capital improvements or maintenance, according to board officials.

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FAIR HAVEN SUNOCO CLOSES

The River Road station will be boarded up until Sunoco can find another tenant, says the departing gasoline dealer. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 20 years, Rich Bercaw has pulled down the bay doors for the last time at his Sunoco gasoline and service station on River Road in Fair Haven.

Unable to keep up with steep rent and what he described as steadily dropping demand for both fuel and repairs, Bercaw pink-slipped five employees and shut off the lights last Thursday, he tells redbankgreen.

“Sunoco will come in and board it up until they find someone to rent it,” he said, as he loaded equipment into a pickup truck Tuesday. And with a deeply discounted first-year’s rent, “eventually, they’ll get someone,” he said.

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COLONY HOUSE RENT COMPLAINTS MOUNT

colony-house-2008A plan to convert the Colony House failed, leading to a return to rentals, and new-tenant complaints about jacked-up rents. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Following a pattern reported on by redbankgreen back in June, the owner of the Colony House apartments has continued to illegally raise rents on tenants, some of whom may be afraid to pursue legal recourse, members of the Red Bank Rent Leveling Board said Thursday.

At their monthly meeting in a nearly empty council chambers, board members said that about eight residents had filed formal complaints in recent months alleging that the landlord, Park Ridge LLC of Lakewood, had rescinded incentive discounts given to new tenants since 2009, and then imposed cost-of-living improvements on the new base rent.

Only the cost-of-living adjustments are permitted under the borough rent ordinance, said board attorney Gene Anthony.

“We had three complaints in September alone,” said board chairman Vincent Light.

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RENT BOARD TABLES CPI DISCUSSION

rent-board-102711Two tenants and two reporters turned out for Thursday night’s monthly meeting of the Red Bank rent board. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

No landlords appeared from the cold rain outside, and only two tenants showed up, one of them to discuss an unrelated matter. Four members of the eight-member board were absent.

But paltry attendance wasn’t the reason Red Bank’s Rent Leveling Board didn’t get far with its review of the borough rent ordinance, which links annual increases to the Consumer Price Index, the nation’s go-to gauge of inflation.

No one on the board knew why the law, which dates to 1978, was structured to permit rent increases of 60 percent of the CPI rise when a tenant pays for heat, and 80 percent when the landlord does.

“I’m on the board 20 years, and I’m not sure of the reason for it,” said board attorney Gene Anthony. “It has never been addressed by this board, and no landlord has ever complained about it, either.

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IDINA MENZEL, MARVIN HAMLISCH AT BASIE

idinamenzelSuperstar stage and screen diva Idina Menzel returns to Red Bank Thursday with no less than Marvin Hamlisch at the podium as guest conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

By TOM CHESEK

Most actors, singers or combinations thereof would be very thankful to have latched on to even one genuinely fan-supercharged, multi-generational, cross-cultural pop phenomenon in their professional lifetimes. Idina Menzel has been a big part of three such phenoms — and the general consensus is that she’s only just begun.

When the recently minted stage superstar, who painted herself a minty green for her Tony-winning turn as Elphaba in Wicked, returns to the boards of the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night, she’ll be bringing it big-time for local Rentheads (she originated the role of Maureen in the modern musical smash), Gleeks (she’s co-starred in the recurring role of Shelby Corcoran on the hitmaking Fox TV series), and whatever it is that fans of Wicked call themselves these days (Elphicionados?).

The native Long Islander and hardworking mom (she and co-RENTer husband Taye Diggs have an infant son) will also be bringing along an extra special treat — Marvin Hamlisch, the EGOT winner (Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony, that is; not to mention two Golden Globes and one Pulitzer Prize) who’s scored about as many golden trophies as he has movies, TV specials and Broadway musicals. The maestro will be wielding the baton as guest conductor of the mighty New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for an 8p set of songs written or otherwise “owned” by the star singer, from stage/screen signatures to material from her 2008 CD I Stand.

The celebs desk at redbankgreen talked to Menzel on the eve of her east coast jaunt. A half-dozen or so Q’s and A’s follow.

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AT THE BASIE: THIS SPACE FOR ‘RENT’

rent-photo-1-lae280a6lly-piscopo

Billy Piscopo rehearses “La Vie Boheme” in the Phoenix Productions staging of RENT, opening this weekend at the Count Basie Theatre. (Photos courtesy of Phoenix Productions)

By TOM CHESEK

It’s a show that’s described by the director as iconic and beloved; one whose “fierce honesty” and “lack of artifice” has made it a genuine favorite of a whole generation of stage performers.

It won a Best Musical Tony and a Pulitzer Prize; ran for a dozen years on Broadway; has single-handedly been credited with reinventing the modern American musical — and has spawned a legion of followers who’ve been branded everything from “the most passionate” to “the most annoying” of fanbases.

When Rent comes to Red Bank this Friday night for its first-ever staging by the borough-based Phoenix Productions, one might think that it’d be a ready-made coup for the Count Basie Theatre‘s resident nonprofit theatrical troupe — a slam-dunk “Phoe-nomenon” with a built-in audience.

Instead, as Phoenix artistic director Tom Frascatore points out, it’s “not at all a safe bet for us. In fact, it’s a bit of a dice roll.”

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