By JOHN T. WARD
A call for ideas to remake the White Street lot into a parking garage anchors a busy Red Bank council agenda Wednesday night.
Up for discussion for the the first time is a request for proposals, or RFP, to transform the 2.3-acre municipal parking lot on White Street into a facility that nearly triples the current capacity of 273 vehicles while adding, possibly, housing and retail space.
Qualified developers — those able to point to at least two similar projects in their portfolio, among other criteri — would have until 10 a.m. on April 26 to respond to the RFP, if the council passes a resolution on the matter.
Builders would be required to draft their plans within the outlines of a redevelopment plan crafted by consultant CME Associates and adopted by the council in December. Those requirements include a demand that any project yield a net gain of no fewer than 550 parking spaces.
Beyond that, according to the draft document posted on the borough website, “potential developers may propose any permitted use or mix of permitted uses as provided for in the Redevelopment Plan.” That includes residential, retail and restaurant uses.
While the borough owns the lot, the council hasn’t previously given any formal indication of whether it plans to sell or lease the property. The draft RFP, however, says that “it is strongly encouraged” that developers structure their proposals “in a manner that allows the Borough to maintain ownership of the property.”
Still open, too, is the question of how the facility would be paid for, and whether the borough would help finance it. Mayor Pasquale Menna has been adamant that he would oppose any proposal that requires local taxpayers to foot the cost. Under the terms of the RFP, builders must submit a financing plan demonstrating their project’s financial viability, as well as their “capacity to finance the development,” including their bonding capacity.
The borough “may elect to request some or all respondents to give presentations of their proposals,” the RFP says. A draft timetable for the process envisions a redeveloper being selected by June 14.