RED BANK: NEW RESTAURANT PLANNED

Plans filed with the borough call for the creation of a restaurant at the long-vacant former home of Fameabilia. A deal to sell the property is in the works. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Idle for more than four years, a prominent storefront in downtown Red Bank would be converted to a 162-seat restaurant under plans on file at borough hall.

Who would own and operate the nameless restaurant at 42 Monmouth Street – the former home of the Fameabilia sports memorabilia shop – is not disclosed. But the property is under contract and expected to change hands as early as next week, redbankgreen has learned.

The conversion plan filed by owners Bruce and Julie Baron is consistent with the prospective buyer’s plans for the site, we’re told.

With only four parking spaces provided, the 4,500-square-foot restaurant would require a parking variance. But under a moratorium that remains in effect, the owner could avoid thousands of dollars that might otherwise have to be paid into a borough fund for each parking space “deficiency” under town ordinance.

The restaurant would be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, according to a document filed by the Barons at the borough planning and zoning office. Plans call for a new facade and sidewalk dining in fair weather.

The Visual Improvement Committtee, an advisory arm of downtown promoter Red Bank RiverCenter, has weighed in favorably on the plan.

“We feel it will transform this long-vacant retail location into a thriving business that will be better for the entire downtown,” operations director Jim Scavone wrote in a letter to the planning office.

Prior to it becoming home to Fameabilia in May, 2001, the building had been a playhouse and café. Fameabilia closed at the end of 2008 and has been vacant since.