39 e front 071514The new owners of 39 East Front Street propose to redo the facade in the style below, with a restaurant or shops on the ground floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering below by Monteforte Architects. Click to enlarge)


39-e-front-st-103116Downtown Red Bank’s fugliest building may get a facelift and a new life as home to a restaurant or stores.

After the last owner tried and failed to win approval for a combination pharmacy and convenience store, the new owners of 39 East Front Street have filed plans that include replacing the bunker-like stucco facade.

The building, sandwiched between Sugarush and Red Bank Eye near Riverview Medical Center, was previously the home of Red Bank Radiology, whose clients accessed the business from a rear entrance on Riverview Plaza.

Mark Forman, who acknowledged the building had the “ugliest facade” around, bought the two-story building for $900,000 in early 2013. But his plan to create a pharmacy and convenience store there ran into opposition from the hospital. The planning board shot down the proposal by a 6-2 vote in December, 2014.

Forman put the building on the market for $1.65 million, but wound up settling for $1.13 million in August, according to Monmouth County records.

The new owner, CJS Investments, a Wall Township company owned by John and Scott Caruso, is a developer of commercial properties, multifamily housing a handful of mansions in Rumson.

Their plan, which is scheduled to be heard by the planning board November 7, calls to renovating the first floor “for either restaurant, retail or office use,” and requires variances, including one for a parking shortfall, with 12 spaces provided where 36 are required, according to the agenda.

The Carusos did not respond to a request for comment Monday.