Red Bank ‘s second firehouse auction in two years attracted four times the number of bidders as the first one, but ended at a lower top bid.
David Glassberg of Little Silver was the apparent bid winner of the Independent Engine Company, at 32 Mechanic Street opposite Globe Court.
Glassberg’s offer of $392,587 was the highest of four bids opened by Administrator Stanley Sickels in the council chambers Tuesday morning.
The other three bids were:
• $125,000, offered by Anthony Faustini, of Faustini Wines on Broad Street
• $326,875, by Morco LLC, the owner of a handful of downtown buildings
• $334,526, bid by Engine of Art LLC, of Little Silver, represented by David Epstein.
Glassberg’s plans for the property aren’t publicly known. He was not present at the bid opening, and could not be reached for comment.
The auction went ahead despite a request by Red Bank RiverCenter that the firehouse be demolished and the site used for parking.
RiverCenter would be willing to pay for the demolition, which would produce an estimated 22 additional parking spots in the adjoining East Side lots, executive director Jim Scavone told the borough council in a recent letter.
“The borough would gain the parking income from the new spaces every year instead of a one-time infusion of cash into the budget from the sale of the property,” Scavone told redbankgreen, and would also “significantly” increase the parking inventory.
Sickels said the apparent winning bid, and RiverCenter’s suggestion, would be presented to the council for consideration in a closed-door session, likely to be held September 14.
The Independent firehouse auction comes two years after 40 White Street, the former home of the Liberty Hose company, sold at auction for $400,000 in 2014. Morco was the sole, successful bidder, and has since won approval to create stores and apartments in the structure, though construction has not begun.
The twin firehouses were built in 1910 and in need of costly repairs, Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen.
The sale also comes as the town’s six free-standing volunteer fire companies and first aid squad are nearing completion on a consolidation plan, officials have said.
If the Independent sale goes through, the borough would be left owning just one firehouse: the Relief Company’s home on Drummond Place, attached to the former borough hall and police station at 51 Monmouth Street. The Union Hose on Leighton Avenue, Westside Hose on Shrewsbury Avenue and Navesink Hook & Ladders — just doors away from Independent, at 7-9 Mechanic Street — each own their home structures.