Say goodbye to another Red Bank landmark.
Shrewsbury Manor, an idyllic cluster of 59 apartments located next door to the Molly Pitcher Inn, is gradually being cleared out and will fall to the bulldozer sometime after the last tenants have departed in late 2007, redbankgreen has learned.
Samantha Bowers, vice president of Philip J. Bowers & Co., the family-owned real estate development firm that built Shrewsbury Manor 60 years ago and still owns it, yesterday confirmed that the buildings will be razed.
Because of their age, the two-story, red brick structures “require an extraordinary amount of maintenance,” said Bowers. “The buildings have reached the end of their useful life, and so this is, unfortunately, what we have to do. It’s time to redevelop the property.”
No decision has been made on what will replace the apartments, Bowers said, though the firm expects to retain ownership of the Riverside Avenue site. “We’re working with architects and designers, but we have no idea yet what we’ll be doing there,” she said.
The property is zoned for high-rise residential usage; next door to the east is the Navesink Harbor senior-care high-rise.
The redevelopment of the site raises the likelihood of luxury housing replacing middle-class rentals of the kind that blossomed across much of the United States after World War II.
It also seems certain to add to the heated pace of large-scale building now underway west of Broad Street, a wave of construction not seen for decades. Just a few doors down is the nearly completed new Hovnanian Enterprises headquarters, and across West Front Street from that site is another large office structure under construction that Hovnanian has committed to lease from the developer.
Arranged in a pair of horseshoe shapes all but closed off at the street end, the buildings of Shrewsbury Manor are centered by two grassy courtyards, each of which opens at its eastern end to a spectacular view down the Navesink.
The layout makes the complex one of the towns most coveted spots for partying on the night of the annual Fourth of July fireworks. The buildings frame not only the barge from which the pyrotechnics are lofted but the bustle of boats arrayed around it, as well as much of the borough’s riverfront.
To keep partycrashers out, orange plastic construction fencing was strung earlier this week along the sidewalk entrances to the complex. Like many other grassy spots along the river, the lawns here were covered with blankets and chairs, but the tenants and their guests were just steps away from bathrooms and kitchens. Individual gatherings fused together out on the lawns.
The looming fate of the complex, though, lent a tinge of melancholy to Monday night’s festivities. So this is the last party on the green, said tenant Patrick Shaw, as he settled into a lawn chair.
Preparing for the arrival of guests, Susan Falvey told redbankgreen that she lived here for five years before moving to Utah for several years. On returning east, she wanted badly to get back to Shrewsbury Manor, but had to wait months before a vacancy opened up. She moved back in earlier this year. Two months later, on April 1, came the notice giving tenants up to 18 months to vacate.
Itll be a shame to see it go, Falvey said. I love this place.