Space beneath the steeple, complete with spiral staircase, is now an office. The new First Church of Christ, Scientist worship space, below, is a fraction of the original size. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
This week, and right on schedule, lawyers, healthcare providers, a ribbon manufacturer and a boudoir photographer started moving into 211 Broad Street, the steepled structure that was a church for 62 years. Read More »
The underside of the church roof, above, will remain exposed to the new second floor and mezzanine. Below, the church’s steeple also will be retained. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The pews and organ are gone. But touches of what made the former First Church of Christ, Scientist in Red Bank a place of worship remain as the 62-year-old structure is transformed into an office building with the decidedly secular name of “211 Broad Street.”
The giant clerestory windows have been preserved, though their arched tops are now at eye-level on a second floor erected in what had been open sanctuary space. The original wood dentil molding has been retained. And there’s a small round window, hidden for years behind the organ, that will deliver light and views previously available only to the occasional maintenance worker.
Most prominently, there’s the steeple. For passersby, its storybook patina-green spire will continue to soar toward the heavens – though by this time next year, some office occupant who gazes upward will be able to get an eyeful of its guts.
“It’s like architectural sculpture,” developer Bob Silver, of Bravitas Group, said of the intricate lacing of timbers. “We never even considered taking it down.”
Developer 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)
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.
William 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
It’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.
Hudson Avenue resident William Hartigan discusses the church’s plan for fencing at Thursday night’s planning board meeting with neighbor Kevin Moss. Below, a rendering of the proposal. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Nearly all the concerns and objections to the plan for the First Church of Christ, Scientist house of worship on Broad Street were focused on one element: a gate on the Hudson Avenue side of the property.
Allowing for the gate, instead of sealing off access to Hudson, would surely result in more traffic on the residential street, neighbors said.
On the Red Bank Planning Board agenda Thursday night: the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at 211 Broad Street wants to turn a good portion of its worship space into offices for rent.
The plan also calls for an addition to an existing one-story wing and other changes at the site, which would be rebranded as “Two Eleven Broad,” with about 1,500 square feet dedicated for church use. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)