Img_5942The borough parking lot on White Street, as seen last September.

Here’s a story that will gladden the hearts of many Red Bank retailers and restaurateurs while no doubt raising hackles in other quarters.

The Asbury Park Press is reporting that:

Developers have been talking to officials of the RiverCenter downtown alliance about reviving plans to build a parking deck in the business district.

Nancy Adams, RiverCenter executive director, said that they’ve had talks with a developer about a deck, which would have retail shops and residential units on the front of the structure and parking in back.

“There are talks that are out there of potential projects that could fill the bill, and we’re exploring things as much as possible,” Adams said. “It is all very preliminary.”

Press reporter Larry Higgs doesn’t identify the developers, and the article makes no mention of Trader Joe’s, a beloved specialty grocery chain that admirers liken to Whole Foods Market, only with smaller stores.

Last September, redbankgreen reported that representatives of Trader Joe’s and a development firm had met with Adams’ predecessor, Tricia Rumola, as well as Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, to explore the possibility of building a store with a parking deck above it on the White Street lot.

Since then, Sickels told us as recently as earlier this month, he hasn’t heard anything more from the chain. Company officials haven’t returned repeated phone calls.

The Press story recounts the backstory of two efforts in recent years to have a borough-financed garage built on the site. Both efforts were tabled after strong opposition by residents, who feared they’d be saddled with the costs in a declining economy.

Adams underscored to the Press that those concerns are in her mind.

“There are discussions with a developer. I’ve been assisting them,” Adams said. “If the plan has retail and small residential units, there’s an opportunity for it not to burden taxpayers.”

Concern that construction of a parking deck would cause municipal taxes to increase has been voiced as a reason for opposing a parking garage in the past.

“We want to get the types of builders who understand (those concerns) and have creative revenue streams,” she said. “It’s definitely needed.”

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