NO SALE FOR FORTUNE HOUSE, FOR NOW

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A proposed deal that would have put the historic T. Thomas Fortune house into the hands of developers is dead for now, redbankgreen has learned.

Real estate broker Geoff Brothers, who is handling the sale, confirmed that the would-be buyers, who have not been publicly identified, have withdrawn their offer.

George Bowden, chairman of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission, said the demise of the deal is, “in many respects, happy news.

“We’ve been sweating that one out for months,” he said.

Preservationists earlier this year won a key historic designation for the house, which was owned and occupied early in the 20th century by Fortune, a pioneering African-American journalist.

The departing buyers were believed to have been interested in erecting affordable housing on the site, though Mayor Pasquale Menna had pledged that the borough would do all it could to ensure that the original house was refurbished and maintained in historic detail.

Bowden said the collapse of the deal now leaves open the question of “who comes in next,” and what might be proposed for the site.

Brothers said he’s “not sure” what will happen next with the property, located on Drs. James Parker Boulevard and owned by members of the Vaccarelli family. The family operated a bakery at the address for most of the 20th century.

A call to an attorney for a member of the family was not immediately returned.

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