RED BANK: FOCUS ON FOYER WINDOWS

18 broad 040615The foyer of the former If the Shoe Fits store is the last remaining example of Art Deco design downtown, say preservationists. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE: The zoning board meeting on the 18 Broad Street proposal was cancelled. The application was rescheduled for June 18.]

18 broad 010715A proposal to turn a former downtown Red Bank shoe store into a restaurant and replace its distinctive curved-glass entryway is slated for review at Thursday night’s zoning board meeting.

Preservationists have raised concerns about the plan for 18 Broad Street, which is located in the historic district, because, they say, it would eliminate the last remaining example of Art Deco design in the commercial district.

At issue is a three-story building that was the longtime home of If the Shoe Fits, a shoe store that closed last August after a run that traced back to 1846.

No specific restaurant is identified as utilizing the 2,500-square-foot ground floor space. A Colts Neck-based entity called 18 Broad Street LLC bought the building from shoe retailer Don Strohmenger for $900,000 in March, according to Monmouth County records. Borough records identify Ralph Notaro as principal.

The facade design, by Red Bank architect Mike Monroe, would eliminate the shoe store’s beloved curved-glass windows, according to the plans. The second and third floors of the building would hold three apartments, where they were previously used as an office and one apartment.

The plan also calls for a new facade that eliminates the foyer.

Michaela Ferrigine, who chairs the Historic Preservation Commission, has asked that the entryway be kept as-in. The curved windows leading to the door are “completely unique in Red Bank’s Historic Commercial District and should be preserved and retained,” she wrote in a letter to the planning office earlier this year.

The project requires a variance for a 22-space parking deficiency, though a moratorium on fees that developers must pay when their downtown projects don’t offer enough parking would mean no payment by the landlord if the variance is approved.

The zoning board meets at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 90 Monmouth Street.

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