HEY, THE APPROVAL WAS THE HARD PART

Courtyards_at_monmouthThe Courtyard at Monmouth project, which exists only on paper, is on the block.

Little more than a week after he won approval for plan to transform a grubby corner of Red Bank into a little hunk ‘o Hoboken, would-be developer George Coffenberg has put the project on the market for $7.5 million.

The listing hit the Multiple Listing Service yesterday, nine days after the planning board gave the condo project a thumbs-up.

Is Coffenberg hedging his bets, seeing what kind of offer he might get while moving forward toward development? Or is is he actually hoping to cash out, in anticipation of what could be a long building process?

After all, before putting a shovel in the ground, the developer would first need a waiver from the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority from its ban on new sewer connections.

Not to mention that the real estate sector is rapidly swirling around the drain, thanks largely to the subprime mortgage fiasco, making credit tight and buyers scarce.

There’s also some uncertainty about how many so-called affordable units the builder might be required to supply, a number that will depend on rules not yet written and in effect at the time building permits are issued. As it stands, two of the 20 units slated to be built much be priced below-market.

Coffenberg’s plan calls for 14 units of 1,160 to 1,775 square feet each, plus six two-story units of 3,000 SF. The site, at the corner of West Street on the site of a disused gas station, is also a approved for 16,000+ square feet of street-level retail and an underground parking garage.

But at $7.5 million, Coffenberg’s asking $375,000 per unit before the site is even cleared. Then’s there’s the cost of construction. A local real estate agent who deals in high-end properties tells redbankgreen that the units would probably have to be priced at about $1.2 million each to make the project financially attractive.

But those are riverfront prices, as witnessed by sales at Corinthian Cove on West Front Street. Would apartments a block from the train station, with no views, go for that much?

We’ve got a message in to Coffenberg but haven’t heard back from him yet.

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