GALLERIA PARK OFFICE & DECK GETS OK

GalleriapkelevationsThe developer agreed to redesign the upper floors to incorporate more brickwork than shown in these earlier elevations of the west and east sides of the proposed structure. (Click to englarge)

By LAURA KOSS

The Red Bank planning board last night approved plans for the Galleria Park office building and parking deck after setback and aesthetic concerns were mulled over.

Construction of the addition would nearly double the size of the existing mix of stores, restaurants and offices known as Galleria Red Bank at West Front Street and Bridge Avenue.

Mayor Pasquale Menna saw the multilevel parking deck topped by two floors of office space as appealing.

“A private property owner is willing to take a gamble with no taxpayer money” to fund a parking garage, he said. Members of the Sourlis family own and operate the Galleria and would develop the proposed addition through a company called ET Galleria LLC.

Board vice chairman Dan Mancuso, who continued to raise questions about the nearness of the proposed structure to the property lines, and member Lou DiMento voted against the plan.

The a 4.5-level, 102,000-square-foot garage would be topped by 39,000 square feet of offices and would be built on the present site of a parking lot at the corner of West Front Street and Shrewsbury Avenue. The new structure would link to the existing Galleria building — originally the Eisner Uniform factory —  via a second-story skybridge.

With 358 garage spaces replacing the present 74 at grade, several board members were pleased. “We don’t have a lot of developers coming into town and bringing in their own parking,” said board member and borough Administrator Stanley Sickels.

The building will be set 16.5 feet back from the property line. Zoning requires 25 feet, but Galleria attorney Martin McGann noted that the proposed setback is greater than the 12-foot setback of the existing parking lot.

Setback variances were needed because “the lot itself is irregularly shaped,” said Galleria planner Raymond Liotta, of Maser Consulting. “There are challenges in developing on a site of this shape.”

Board members asked for changes to the look of the building after alternate Jenifer Chirco suggested using brick instead of white concrete for the structures on the top two floors.

Brick would “create a cohesiveness between this building and the existing Galleria,” she says. “It keeps with the historic element of the town.”

Architect Jim Monteforte said there was no problem with that decision and had plans of the brick design on hand for the planning board to see.

There are no plans for lane modifications to accommodate the additional traffic. An elaborate valet parking plan incorporating off-site lots would be
used to provide parking for Galleria employees and customers during
construction, a witness for the applicant testified.

As at the one prior hearing on the plan, 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.

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