By JOHN T. WARD
A long wait is about to an end as builder Charlie Farkouh puts the finishing touches on the most ambitious housing development Red Bank’s West Side has seen in years.
Farkouh tells redbankgreen he’s nearing completion on the 15-unit River’s Edge project, replacing several derelict houses at the western ends of Bank Street and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.
Four units fronting on Drs. Parker Boulevard, above, back up against those on Bank Street. Builder Charlie Farkouh, below, said he’s now looking to build elsewhere in town. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Last August, Farkouh’s Home & Land Development Corporation paid $833,000 to acquire the site and already approved development plans, which had gone through several iterations and owners over the course of the prior decade.
During that time, vacant homes on the site were razed at the insistence of the borough, but there was little forward progress on the new ones, thanks in part to the global credit crisis that stalled homebuilding nationwide.
But once he took title, Farkouh was all-in. During a visit last October, when the site was little more than huge foundation holes, Farkouh told redbankgreen he was moving ahead “full steam.”
Last week, work crews swarmed the construction site, which sits on a bluff overlooking the Swimming River and adjoining wetlands. While some worked on interior trim, a landscaper was preparing what will become a six-foot wide gravel path overlooking the river, open to the public.
Birdwatchers in particular are expected to take advantage of the path, as the area is part of an bald-eagle foraging area.
“I think that’s where the nest is, because that’s where they take the fish they catch,” Farkouh said, pointing to a tree at the edge of the site.
Elsewhere, Farkouh’s mother-in-law and her housekeeper were tidying up a dusty but completed unit with a mop and broom.
Farkouh, a Rumson resident who also built a string of homes alongside that town’s Victory Park, now says he expects to start handing keys to new owners for move-in within 45 days. Four units are already under contract, and at each open-house — held on Sundays by his Realtor wife, Gina — there’s been another buyer, he said.
Except for two units set aside as affordable housing, the units are priced from $415,000 to $465,000, and range in size from 1,600 to 2,100 square feet. The houses are fee-simple, meaning buyers are responsible for their own property’s upkeep. All come with full basements, one-car garages, two bathrooms and hardwood floors.
A lottery for the non-market units is being coordinated by the Affordable Housing Alliance in Eatontown, he said.
Farkouh praised borough hall employees for timely work in keeping construction on River’s Edge moving forward, and said he’s now looking for other land to develop in Red Bank.