RED BANK: HOTEL ACCESS PLAN CRITICIZED

hampton-inn-112116An architect’s rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn, as seen from Riverside Avenue, with the existing VNA building at right. (Rendering by Louis Silverstein. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

After years of litigation and other delays, a proposed Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway returned to the borough planning board Monday night — and quickly ran into opposition.

Board member Guy Maratta sharply criticized a plan to allow vehicles to turn left into the Route 35 site across two lanes of southbound traffic that he said averages 60 miles per hour.

“Somebody is going to die, mark my words,” Maratta told the traffic engineer for the applicant, Rbank Capital.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON INN RETURNS

hampton inn 062016Architect Lou Silverstein with a rendering of the proposed hotel, at center above, as seen from the Middletown side of Cooper’s Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

Almost six years after it was first proposed, a Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway remains nothing more than an abstraction, existing solely as mountain of engineer and litigation documents.

The developer hopes to finally turn it into a seven-story reality.

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RED BANK: JAMIAN’S, LADY K PLANS OK’D

jamians-elevation-110816-2The facade of Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street would nearly double in length with the addition of two storefronts to the right of the existing one, seen below. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

81 monmouth 080216A popular Red Bank bar/restaurant and a yet-to-open bakery won approval for expansion plans from the borough planning board Monday night.

Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street plans to expand by taking over the next-door spots formerly rented by Art’s Barber Shop, which closed this summer after nearly 50 years in business, and a space leased by a cellphone vendor.

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RED BANK: FRANCE, NEW YORK MAKE INROADS

marc-fontaine-092216Chef Marc Fontaine in the kitchen of O Bistro, his new French restaurant, which opened on North Bridge Avenue last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn serves up yet another mouthwatering smorgasbord with news about three Red Bank eateries:

• a new French restaurant for a long-displaced chef

• a soon-to-open “New York-style Jewish deli,” complete with “pastrami salmon,” in the heart of downtown

• and expansion plans for a popular Monmouth Street bar and restaurant.
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RED BANK: RAYRAP SEEKS ‘REHAB’ SITE LABEL

rapcavage 082714Ray Rapcavage, center above, with his wife, Suzanne, and Hudson Street resident Scott Broschart at the Five Corners site in 2014. Below, a detail of the latest proposal for the site. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Having been thwarted by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage plans to ask the Red Bank council to designate his assembled properties on the edge of downtown as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” redbankgreen has learned.

If granted, the controversial label would enable Rapcavage to avoid a return trip to the zoning board with his revised plan, though he denies that’s his intent.

Rather, it would create a more “expeditious” route to possible construction on the half-block of properties he’s assembled on Harding Road between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue, Rapcavage said Monday.

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RED BANK: ACCESS AGREEMENT UNDER FIRE

riverwalk 070512Riverwalk, seen below in a 2012 rendering, would replace the building at 24-30 Mechanic Street, above. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

riverwalk 100412A plan to give tenants access to a yet-to-be built Red Bank apartment building via a borough parking lot came under fire Wednesday night, 10 years after it cleared its first hurdle.

At issue: whether the town had boxed itself in legally, getting nothing in return.

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RED BANK: COMINGS AND GOINGS DOWNTOWN

freshica's 081016Freshica’s, above, and Soul Strong have opened in the West Side Lofts. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has news about:

• two new businesses in the West Side Lofts;

• a retailer taking over a building in the heart of downtown;

• and a sizable player in Red Bank’s vaunted antiques district putting its home up for sale.  Read More »

RED BANK: TOP BID $392,587 FOR FIREHOUSE

RB independent engine 93 061016 1The Independent Engine House on Mechanic Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_02

Red Bank ‘s second firehouse auction in two years attracted four times the number of bidders as the first one, but ended at a lower top bid.

David Glassberg of Little Silver was the apparent bid winner of the Independent Engine Company, at 32 Mechanic Street opposite Globe Court.

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RED BANK: SECOND FIREHOUSE UP FOR SALE

RB independent engine 93 061016 2The Independent Engine House on Mechanic Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_02

For the second time in little more than two years, Red Bank is looking to unload a firehouse.

On Wednesday night, without discussion, the council unanimously agreed to put the home of the Independent Engine Company, at 32 Mechanic Street opposite Globe Court, up for sealed-bid auction on August 30.

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RED BANK: FOOD & CLOTHING POWER CHURN

theo 080216Alexander Meder’s women’s clothing store, Theo, opened at 3 East Front Street this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small Two new clothing stores open. A cupcake shop adds a coffee bar as another dessert business prepares to open. One restaurant changes hands while another goes dark. And a longtime barber sweeps up the clippings for the last time.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn finds the usual elevated level of change in the face and character of downtown Red Bank. Read More »

RED BANK: RAYRAP TO PUSH FOR LAW CHANGE

rapcavage tumia 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen last month with Harding Road neighbor Kenny Tumia, above. Below, a detail of Rapcavage’s plan. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Hoping to pave the way for his latest plan for a troubled site on the edge of downtown, developer Ray Rapcavage intends to ask the Red Bank council to amend the borough zoning law.

Rapcavage tells redbankgreen he’ll appear at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council session to ask for a change to allow builders to construct units with up to three bedrooms without having to seek a use variance.

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RED BANK: HOTEL PLAN RETURNS, SORT OF

hampton inn 062016Architect Lou Silverstein with a rendering of the proposed hotel, at center above, as seen from the Middletown side of Cooper’s Bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

The developer of a proposed Hampton Inn hotel that’s been mired in zoning reviews and lawsuits for five years returned to Red Bank’s planning board after an extended absence Monday night.

The purpose? An informal presentation. A “coming attractions” preview of amended plans, in the words of the board’s attorney. Read More »

RED BANK CHURN: CLOTHES AND ART TRAINING

chris carbone 060216 1Chris Carbone Jr. recently opened a menswear shop at 24 Monmouth Street that blends hip-hop, skating and sports influences. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn heralds the arrival of a new men’s clothing store in downtown Red Bank; plans for a women’s clothing boutique, also downtown; and another women’s boutique just over the town line in Shrewsbury.

Also spotlighted: a highly unusual new art school that’s tuition-free and for veterans only. Read More »

RED BANK: CHURN GALORE

red bank r barber 053116 1Marcos Ramirez shows customer Chris Hawkins his haircut at the newly opened Red Bank R Barber Shop on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly reported that Playa Bowls needs variances to open. The plan has been approved and no variances were needed, according to borough officials.]

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallKicking off its second decade of covering the endless comings and goings of Red Bank merchants, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has the scoop on these churnings:

• The debut of  new dance studio

• One barber shop opens, and another relocates

• The departure of a “hippie shop” and plans by a tailor to replace it

• A fruit bowl business plans to open

• RiverCenter puts a bow on 2015

All that and more awaits, just around the “read more” corner… Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: WHAT RESIDENTS LIKE, OR DON’T

fh river rd 042016 2A survey found general satisfaction with the older, eastern business district, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03There are too many street lights on River Road. There aren’t enough on Third Street. New and remodeled homes are too big.

So say some Fair Haven residents in a new and extensive survey of on the physical attributes of the town as it begins mapping out its future.

Read More »

RED BANK: REJECTED PLAN GETS SECOND SHOT

55 w front 092315The project, dubbed the Element, would be built on West Front Street next door to Trinity Episcopal Church. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposed 35-unit apartment building rejected by the Red Bank zoning board last week may end up getting built anyway.

The borough council on Wednesday night began a process that could lead to the construction of the Element apartments on West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park, without the developer having to appeal the zoning board’s denial of last Thursday.

And the council was acting, said Mayor Pasquale Menna, on a request made by the developer less than 24 hours after the zoning board rejection.

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RED BANK: ZONERS NIX APARTMENT PLAN

55 w front 040215 2The project, dubbed the Element, called for 35 rental units on a site previously approved for 27 condos. (Architect’s rendering. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s zoning board rejected plans for a 35-unit apartment building on a long-vacant downtown lot Thursday night.

The proposed structure — at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park — was shot down on a motion by presumptive Democratic council candidate Erik Yngstrom, who said it was too dense.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, who was in the audience, was sharply critical of the decision.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN BACK ON AGENDA

55 w front 040215 1Alone at last on Thursday night’s Red Bank zoning board agenda is a proposal for a 35-unit apartment building at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. A hearing on the plan, dubbed the Element, began last April, but has since been postponed numerous times since its last public airing in September. (Architect’s rendering. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MISSION HOUSE WINS OK

st crispin's 030316Architect Ned Gaunt’s rendering of the proposed St. Crispin’s Social Ministry House on the St. Anthony of Padua campus. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

At a hearing packed with supporters, and without a peep of objection, Red Bank’s zoning board gave unanimous approval Thursday night to a plan by St. Anthony of Padua parish to build a new social services facility on Herbert Street.

“They’ve obviously been very beneficial to the town,” said board member Sean Murphy, citing the church and its volunteers. “Unfortunately, the need is growing, but we’re very fortunate to have them.”

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RED BANK: CHURCH PLANS NEW FACILITY

16 herbert st 030216St. Anthony of Padua parish hopes to win approval to raze this house and garage to construct a new building to provide social services. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The needs are evident in the long lines that form at St. Anthony of Padua in Red Bank: families short on cash for food, housing, clothing and other necessities.

Now served out of a multipurpose building on Herbert Street, where the food pantry and clothing distribution operations must be set up and taken down with regularity, the Roman Catholic parish hopes to erect a new dedicated social services building, and is scheduled to make its case to the borough zoning board Thursday night.

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RED BANK: COURT BACKS HEIGHT CHANGE

hampton inn 040913The seven-story, 76-room hotel would be built on a one-acre riverfront property adjacent to Cooper’s Bridge, seen here from the Middletown side of the Navesink. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

A 2013 change to the building height limits in Red Bank’s waterfront development zone did not constitute “spot zoning,” even though it benefitted a planned Hampton Inn a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Instead, the appeals court upheld a Superior Court decision that found the changes “were enacted as part of a comprehensive plan to advance the general welfare of the community.”

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RED BANK: MEET THE NEW DEPARTMENT HEADS

cliff keen 122315Cliff Keen, above, is the new director of public utilities, and Charlie Hoffmann, below, runs parks and rec. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

charlie hoffmann 122115Recent months have brought some new faces to Red Bank government.

In particular, three departments that residents have regular interaction with, and occasional strong opinions about, are under new leadership: parks and recreation; planning and zoning; and public utilities.

Here’s a quick intro to the new directors.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON HOTEL PLAN REVIVED

gasiorowski 072512Lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, who has sued to block to the hotel, examines a rendering at a 2012 hearing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
HOT-TOPIC_03

Five years after it was proposed and nearly two years after it was derailed by litigation, a planned Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway is back.

But the controversial plan is still in court.

Read More »