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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN RETURNS

A view of the proposed project, as seen from the opposite side of West Front Street. (Rendering by Rotwein + Blake. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After several months of dormancy, one of Red Bank’s more hotly disputed land-use proposals is expected to return next week.

The owners of the vacant downtown lot at 55 West Front Street are scheduled to try once again to win approval for a 35-unit apartment building that the zoning board shot down almost a year ago, triggering a series of measures that split the borough council for much of the year.

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RED BANK: HAMPTON INN WINS APPROVAL

Peter Steck, a planner hired by an opponent of the proposed hotel, testified that the developer was “stuffing” the one-acre site. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After nearly seven years of battles, a proposed hotel at the northernmost entrance to Red Bank won approval Monday night.

The planning board’s OK of a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge came after a last-minute concession by the developer.

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RED BANK: FOOTWEAR, FRUIT BOWLS, FACIALS

The Doc Shoppe, which moved to Red Bank from Fair Haven in 2014, plans to close at the end of March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s last-remaining shoe store is closing.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn includes news on the departure of the Doc Shoppe; the opening of an exotic-fruit bar and café; and plans by a high-end beauty products retailer to open downtown. Read More »

RED BANK: TILE STORE MAKES BIG SPLASH

nemo-tile-010317-2New York City-based Nemo Tile opened a showroom in the former home of Nirvana clothing. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

In this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn, the seemingly relentless restaurantization of Red Bank takes a bathroom break.

Nemo Tile and Stone opened a showroom last week in the former Nirvana clothing store space at 21 White Street. But the New York-based company’s first foray into New Jersey is no mere toe-in-the-water: it’s a 4,000-square-foot plunge into the heart of downtown.

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RED BANK: HOTEL ANTAGONIST RETURNS

larry-cohen-rbank-hampton-121916Rbank Capital managing partner and would-be Hampton Inn developer Larry Cohen at Monday night’s planning board hearing with an architect’s rendering of the hotel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A hotel developer’s long and contentious battle to build a 76-room Hampton Inn at Red Bank’s northern gateway grew longer more contentious Monday night.

It also got a bit deja vu-y when, for the second time in the plan’s six-year history, its chief antagonist, lawyer Ron Gasiorowski, returned, claiming once again to represent a client with legal standing to challenge the plan.

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RED BANK: WILL HAMPTON INN GET THE KEYS?

hampton-inn-112116HOT-TOPIC_03Will a new hotel finally get the keys to Red Bank? After almost six years in litigation and other delays, a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn proposed on the former site of a Exxon station at the foot of the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge could go to a vote Monday night.

But first, the plan must overcome the objections of at least one planning board member, who has warned that the hotel’s traffic plan is dangerously flawed to the point that “someone is going to die” if it’s allowed.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

sposaro-121516Developer Ray Rapcavage, seated at right, and his attorney, Armen McOmber, listen as Hudson Avenue resident Anthony Sposaro endorses the Azalea Gardens project. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A year after his last try was shot down, real estate developer Ray Rapcavage won a key approval Thursday night for a new plan to rebuild a shabby half-block on the southeast edge of downtown Red Bank.

On a unanimous vote, the zoning board granted Rapcavage variances for 18 homes fronted by an English garden on Harding Road between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue.

But he’s not yet clear to start work.

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RED BANK: LATEST RAYRAP PLAN IN SPOTLIGHT

RayRap site 121015 2The project calls for 16 townhouses along Clay Street, seen at left above, that would face east into an English garden with two freestanding homes. (Photo from Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Will RayRap have better luck this time?

A year after his last plan was shot down, real estate developer Ray Rapcavage returns to the Red Bank zoning board this week hoping to obtain approval for new plans to build homes on half a block’s worth of properties the edge of downtown.

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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.

Read More »

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 »