LOFTS PLAN RETURNS, TRIMMED A SMIDGEN

antiquesThe proposed West Side Lofts development, at the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, is again moving forward. Below, architectural drawings. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

west-side-lofts-sketchDevelopers are blowing the dust off an ambitious plan that would bring retail, residential units and a popular brewery to the Red Bank’s antiques district.

Known as West Side Lofts, the multi-use project has been downsized a bit and resubmitted to the borough’s planning and zoning office for approval.

Most of the plan is the same as that which won approval in 2006: 92 one- and two-bedroom residential units, more than 11,000-square feet of retail space and the small restaurant and brewery chain Triumph Brewing Company.

But  conditions attached to the approval were never met, and the project’s principal owners became sidetracked when Red Bank taxpayer Bill Meyer filed a lawsuit alleging a conflict of interest among zoning board members who voted for the project’s approval. An appeals court ruled in 2008 that there had been no conflicts.

The only change to the project is at the proposed brewery and restaurant, owned by Middletown’s Adam Rechnitz, son of Two River Theater Company founder Robert Rechnitz. The eatery has been scaled down from 13,910-square-feet to 10,510-square-feet. That will reduce the number of seats from 210 to 180, and the number of parking spaces needed from 264 to 213, according to documents filed with the borough.

“I think he just realized he could try and make it work in less” space, attorney Rick Brodsky said of the younger Rechnitz.

With the revised plans, which were delivered to borough hall in early June, the prospect of a large-scale overhaul on the northwest side of Red Bank appears imminent.

“The intention is to move it forward, but we have to, of course, get these approvals,” Brodsky said. “The developer is looking to get it on (the zoning board agenda) as soon as possible.”

If the body again greenlights to the project, the buildings to the north and east of Danny’s Grill & Wine Bar on Bridge Avenue would be razed to clear way for a five-story corner building.

Brodsky said the current businesses occupying the area — antiques dealers — would be offered space in the new building, if the project is approved.