By JOHN T. WARD
Framed by talk about its positive effects on lunchtime restaurant business, a plan for an office bridge between two downtown buildings won easy approval from the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night.
With no objectors present, the plan by property owner Downtown Investors drew a smattering of questions about window placement and parking, as well as praise by board members.
“I do want to say, another wonderful project by the Hermans,” said member Karen Waldmann, speaking of Downtown Investors principals Jay and Todd Herman.
The father-and-son Hermans presented a plan to join two buildings they own on the south side of Linden Place near Broad Street via the “floating” structure.
The two existing buildings and the addition, which is no mere breezeway but 2,750 square feet of office space as well, will be occupied by the retail brokerage Morgan Stanley. According to Jay Herman, “in terms of production, it will be the third-largest Morgan Stanley office in the northeast,” after New York and Boston.
The board granted the project a parking variance for a 55-space deficiency, though the Hermans said that number was both theoretical and artificially high.
A 2010 change in the formula that the borough uses to calculate the space needs of businesses put the existing buildings at a paper shortage of 69 spaces, even though in reality they have a parking surplus, said Jay Herman.
The additional footage, offset by a new parking area created on the opposite side of Linden Place in recent months, reduces the paper deficiency to 55 cars, though in fact the completed project will have exactly the number of spaces required by actual usage, he said.
After 20 years in town, Morgan Stanley had considered leaving Red Bank, he told the board, because “they have a great need to consolidate buildings.
“The good news is their preference is to be here in Red Bank,” he said.
Construction is slated to begin in early March.