65-broadThe chic pre-rusted sign of Chic Optique still hangs on the storefront three years after the eyewear shop departed. (Click to enlarge)


Rcsm2_010508Is the brown paper about to come down off the windows at 65 Broad Street in Red Bank?

The former home to pricey eyewear purveyor Chic Optique has been vacant for more than three years, and actually, the paper’s falling all by itself, without any human intervention.

But building owner Bob Chen tells redbankgreen he’s finally got a new tenant – a health food store he can’t recall the name of.

Chen’s been down this road before. Still warm in the files at the borough hall are aborted plans for a Thai restaurant at that location.

Chen tells us the restaurant withdrew its proposal, and the borough file shows no correspondence since September, when town officials informed the applicant, Sujindra Labaram, that a change-of-use for onsite food consumption would be needed. Labaram couldn’t be reached for comment.

For information about the proposed health food store, which has filed nothing with the town, Chen suggested we just stop by the store. So we did. No one was there, and through the brown paper that’s begun peeling off the windows, we could see no signs of activity.

Chen also owns the three spaces to the north of the old Chic Optique. They’re occupied by Smoothie King health drinks and products; the yet-to-open Due Process Trading Post 65 (formerly the Red Bank Rug Gallery); and the Red Bank Gallery, an art store.

One door south of 65 Broad is another of the downtown’s enduring vacancies, a spot last occupied by the Marisa dress boutique. That’s got a different owner.

The Trading Post 65 space, by coincidence, was long the home to another health food store, Second Nature Natural Foods.