PLAN TO TRANSFORM WEST SIDE BLOCK OK’D

lincoln-sq-050610Roger Mumford discusses his plan at Thursday’s zoning board hearing. Below, a view of the homes to be built along the east side of Bridge Avenue; the current site of a bodega on the corner of Drs. Parker Boulevard is at right. (Click to enlarge)

A sweeping plan to overhaul one of Red Bank’s most dilapidated blocks won approval from the borough zoning board Thursday night.

Builder Roger Mumford’s plan calls for bulldozing four run-down houses on Bridge Avenue between Cedar Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, plus a corner bodega.

In their place, and stretching east along Parker to the existing Bergen Square condo complex, will come five spanking-new luxury residences — and a new corner storefront that may house the same bodega, assuming the tenant wants to return, Mumford says.

“Bridge Avenue is a great place,” he tells redbankgreen, noting the presence of the Two River Theater, the Galleria at Red Bank and other attractions nearby. “Now, more of Bridge Avenue is going to be part of that excitement.”

bridgeave-050710

lincoln-sq-layoutMumford’s plan maintains the office and warehouse building along Cedar Avenue, at right above. But all other structures on the 1.5 acre-site will be razed. (Click to enlarge)

This is not Mumford’s first attempt to redevelop the block. After acquiring an office building on the site almost five years ago from Mid State Heating, he won approval to build 17 townhomes there.

But a sewer-connection moratorium imposed by the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority in 2007 delayed the project, and the subsequent collapse of the credit markets made it impossible to get financing once the moratorium was lifted, he told the board. That difficulty continues, he said.

But the Little Silver resident says he’s built some 4,000 homes in his career and has never walked away from a project he’s started. So he’s reaching into his own pocket to finance this one, which is tentatively dubbed Lincoln Square.

The current plan significantly alters one Mumford had before the board just two months ago, eliminating a proposed three-story multifamily dwelling and reducing the proposed density of the project by calling for three houses on Bridge Avenue where there are now four.

The plan calls also for two new homes on Parker, plus an apartment above the corner store. All are envisioned as luxury rentals, featuring hardwood floors, full basements, garages, and “a very high level of detail and finish, both exterior and interior,” he says.

Mumford is also nearing completion of two condominium buildings on the opposite side of Bridge Avenue and a new home on Cedar Avenue.

In granting unanimous approval, the zoning board gave a green light to more than two dozen variances, mostly related to setback requirements. A 1,400-square-foot warehouse used by Siciliano Landscape was allowed to continue as a non-conforming use in the office building. Mumford’s business is housed there, too.

In other business, the board began hearing testimony on a plan by the owner of the Atrium at Navesink Harbor to expand the senior housing project on Riverside Avenue. But because of a scaling-back of the proposal, opposition to the plan appears to have vanished.

The hearing is scheduled to continue on June 3.