By JOE FISHER
Tenants of Red Bank’s Grandville Towers face rent increases as high as 15 percent under a $3.8 million capital improvement plan to be considered next month by the borough’s rent leveling board.
Teddy Construction Company, owner of the 91-unit high-rise complex, is scheduled make its pitch for the increases at a special board meeting April 2. [UPDATE: The April 2 meeting has been canceled at the request of Teddy’s lawyer. No new date has been set.]
Whether rents can be raised to Teddy’s satisfaction will hinge on whether work slated for the 10-story structure on Morford Place qualifies as capital improvements or maintenance, according to board officials.
Under the borough’s rent control law, landlords are allowed to impose rent surcharges for capital improvements, but not regular maintenance, said board attorney Gene Anthony. One of the decisions the board will make is whether each component of the planned work is a capital improvement or simple maintenance, he said.
As an example, Anthony noted that carpeting is not a capital improvement because of its relatively short life span. A roof is a capital improvement, but repair to a roof is not, he said.
We also analyze whether they truly are passing [the rent increases] among all rentals.
Current rents at Grandville Towers range from $938 a month for a 615-square-foot studio to $1,482 a month for a top-end 1,035-square-foot unit, according to information Teddy filed with the borough. Over the course of the improvements scheduled in three phases rent for a studio would rise by $113 per month, and $190 per month for the most-expensive units.
Among the $1.096 million of phase 1 improvements are: cabana and fitness center, $472,000; elevator car, $109,000; entrance portico, $70,000; and glass railings, $628,000, Teddy’s filing indicates.
The $1.075 million phase 2 work includes: building facial stucco, $375,000; fire suppression system, $443,000; and $109,000 for the pool.
The $811,000 phase 3 plan proposes landscaping at $341,000; parking lot and curbing at $129,000; and $27,000 for fitness center equipment.
Some units in Grandville Towers sustained water damage during Hurricane Sandy, when a portion of the roof blew off. Further damage resulted from a snowstorm the following week, Teddy’s filing indicates.
Peter Wersinger, attorney for the owner, said in a letter to the board that the project is a plus for both the tenants and the borough.
The increased self-esteem that Grandville occupants will experience from the beautification of their collective home should extend to all borough residents, who will able to take pride in an aesthetically pleasing structural facelift that identifies and denotes the town of Red Bank.
Wersinger also said the improvements would mean additional tax revenue for the borough through a higher property assessment. The property, PRC Management Group, is assessed at $7.85 million, according to online tax records.
A hearing on the application that had been scheduled for last week was delayed because property manager Tom Arnone had a scheduling conflict with his role as a Monmouth County Freeholder, said borough Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, council liaison to the board.