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GALLERIA PROJECT MAY BE CURBED

GalleriaparkAn architectural rendering of the proposed garage and office building, as seen from the northwest corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and West Front Street.

A proposal to effectively double the size of the Galleria Red Bank shopping, dining and office complex ran into little initial resistance at the opening of planning board hearings Monday night.

But questions about the nearness of the proposed structure to Shrewsbury Avenue and West Front Street are expected to be raised when the review continues early next month.

Board vice chairman Dan Mancuso appeared to suggest that the
structure be moved back from the sidewalks on two sides to meet existing setback requirements.

“I just think we’re closing in on that intersection, which is wide open now,” he said.

Bowden monteforteGeorge Bowden of the Historic Preservation Commission, left, asks architect Jim Monteforte about a design detail at the planning board hearing.

The developer, ET Galleria LLC, owned by members of the Sourlis
family, is asking for variances to regulations governing setbacks,
maximum lot coverage, signage and other details.

Otherwise, the proposed structure, which would hold parking for 358
cars and two levels of office space, but no stores or restaurants, is
permitted in the business/residential zone in which it’s located.

Zoning requires that the building be set 25 feet from the property lines on all sides. As planned, it’s less than 18 feet from the line on West Front Street and less than 10 feet on the Shrewsbury Avenue side.

In addition, the developers have granted Monmouth County, which owns both roads, easements that could be used to widen each, though no such widenings are currently planned, said project engineer Dan Busch of Maser Consulting.

Mancuso noted that Red Bank Corporate Plaza, built recently two blocks east of the Galleria, provided ample setback from West Front Street.

But Galleria attorney Martin McGann said the approved but still-unbuilt MW West Side Lofts project across Bridge Avenue from the Galleria sought and obtained setback variances similar to those being sought.

Still, board chairman John Cash, referring to his fellow board members, told McGann, “I think everybody’s thinking about moving it back.”

The top two floors of the building would contain 39,000 square feet of office space ringed by outdoor terraces and plantings. The structure would link to the existing Galleria building via a second-story skybridge.

Busch said parking for the Galleria employees and customers during construction would be provided by an elaborate valet system.

George Bowden, chairman of the borough Historic Preservation Commission, sought assurances that the brick used on the new building would be in character with that of the sprawling existing complex, which was built a century ago as the Eisner Uniform factory.

There was no mention of the fate of the  Galleria-sponsored Farmers’ Market that takes up residence on the 2.7-acre site on Sundays through the summer and autumn.

The continued hearing and a possible vote are scheduled for May 4.

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