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CHURN: FAST GREEK AND EASY WEDDINGS

lyristis bros 111615Brothers George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis plan to open Greek Eats on the Shrewsbury side of Newman Springs Road Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this edition of Retail Churn:

• Three brothers with a long track record as linen-napkin restaurateurs open a fast-food eatery rooted in their Greek heritage Tuesday.

• A wedding planning business that has its roots in a flower shop throws off a new shoot in Red Bank.

• A ginormous pharmacy chain opens a controversial store here.

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CHURN: TRAP DOOR, BELMONTE TO OPEN

58-60 white 080315Trap Door Escape Room opens this week in the former home of Dunlap Locksmith, which left behind a front door with a giant keyhole cut into it. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this edition of Retail Churn: updates on a new immersive-experience entertainment facility and a rebranded restaurant,  both of which have openings in downtown Red Bank planned for this week.

Also in Churn: a music store for sale; updates on two pharmacies, and a furniture store coming to Shrewsbury.

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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: 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: ANOTHER PHARMACY PLANNED

39 e front 071514The owner of 39 East Front Street says he’ll replace what he admits is the “ugliest” facade on the block with the conversion to retail. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAre prescription drugs and shampoos displacing pizza, frozen yogurt and cupcakes as the hot new thing in downtown Red Bank?

A new pharmacy and convenience store has filed plans to open on East Front Street near Riverview Medical Center, even as two other drugstores – a giant Walgreens and an independent – move ahead elsewhere on the East Side.

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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: WALGREEN’S MOVES STORE

walgreen's 121613Walgreen’s developer Marc Steinberg talks with neighbors about the proposed store’s traffic flow at a December hearing. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The builder of a proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy in Red Bank has changed the location of the would-be store, moving it a dozen feet in order to avoid a variance request on one of the plan’s most controversial aspects.

The store would also shrink by about 1,100 square feet, according to revised plans filed with the borough in anticipation of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S TO REVISE PLAN

josephine menna 012314Josephine Menna, an aunt to Mayor Pasquale Menna – who recused himselfqueries Walgreen’s lawyer Marty McGann. Below, site owner Aaron Rassas confers with his team during a break. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

aaron rassas 012314The developer of the proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy in Red Bank yanked the plan from what appeared to be certain defeat Thursday night.

With a motion pending to reject the proposed 14,200-square-foot store, the lawyer for the developer Marc Steinberg asked the borough planning board for time to revise the proposal to meet concerns that the building would be too close to the streets at the longtime site of the now-closed Rassas Buick dealership.

“I think I’d feel like I was living in a prison if I had to look at that,” said board member Barbara Boas, referring to a 135-foot-long, 30-foot-high windowless wall that would run along Garfield place, just four feet from a sidewalk.

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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: NEW PHARMACY APPROVED

A drugstore and two adjoining stores would occupy space formerly used by a Chinese takeout restaurant and a portrait studio near the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Rcsm2_010508Less than a year after losing its last independent drug store, Red Bank is getting a new one, and it’s located just across the street from the vacant shell of its predecessor.

Pharmacist Kamlesh Patel won approval from the borough planning board Monday night for an independent pharmacy at 141-1431 Broad Street, nearly opposite the former home of the Professional Pharmacy, which closed up shop in December after 61 years in town.

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: ANOTHER DRUGSTORE WANTS IN

The proposed Red Bank Family Pharmacy and two retail stores would fill the space formerly occupied by Jade Garden restaurant and Kramer Photography. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Walgreen’s isn’t the only drugstore sensing opportunity in Red Bank’s pulse.

A Middlesex County pharmacist hopes to open a drugstore on Broad Street, almost directly opposite the vacant former longtime home of the Professional Pharmacy, which closed up shop in December after 61 years in town.

Kamesh Patel’s application to open what he’s calling the Red Bank Family Pharmacy landed at the borough planning office Monday, less than two weeks after the giant Walgreen’s chain filed to build a 14,000-square-foot drugstore at the former Rassas Buick location, also on Broad Street.

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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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