RED BANK: STATION APARTMENTS PLANNED

A builder’s proposal calls for converting four floors of the five-story building to apartments, plus an addition with 16 more units, directly across Monmouth Street from the borough train station. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of Red Bank’s more prominent office buildings would be converted to apartments — and get new ones out back — under a proposal by a Jersey City-based developer, redbankgreen has learned.

David Popkin’s plan calls for converting each of the upper four floors of the five-story, 11,000-square-foot building at 170 Monmouth Street to loft-style rental units, with the first floor reserved for retail use, he told redbankgreen in an interview.

He also hopes to add 16 apartments with a four-story, 22,000-square-foot rear addition, according to plans filed with the borough planning office. Four of the apartments would meet the borough’s requirement for affordable housing, Popkin said.

The L-shaped addition, running toward West Street, would be built above ground-level parking for 32 vehicles, and no parking variance will be needed, Popkin said. No adjoining properties will be acquired or razed, he said.

“I’m really not going to be disruptive at all,” he said.

The project needs several variances to move ahead, most notably one for density. The plan calls for 20 units where zoning allows 11, according to the borough planning and zoning office.

Popkin, though, said there’s “some ambiguity” in the zoning ordinance as it pertains to ground leases, which would cover part of the project. Under his reading, he said, he needs a variance for less than one unit, but will make his case for the project whichever interpretation the zoning board uses, he said.

Popkin is scheduled to go before the borough board on July 20. Here’s the agenda.

The building, located across Monmouth Street from the borough train station, is in a so-called “overlay” zone enacted in 2009 to encourage commuter-oriented residential development. In recent years, the change has fostered a burst of building, including the West Side Lofts and Station Place rental projects, accounting for some 135 new units, with a dozen more — dubbed Oakland Square and reserved as “affordable” — nearing completion adjoining Station Place.

Also, Denholtz Associatres is expected to begin work soon on a multi-use project that includes 45 apartments adjoining the station between Oakland and Chestnut streets.

A planned overhaul of the former Anderson Storage building, at Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue, originally called for condos, but after a revision, no longer includes housing. Instead, it’s expected to be home to a new Sickles Market and offices.

Popkin, 43, grew up in Holmdel and was a frequent visitor to Red Bank, he told redbankgreen. He’s also a “true believer in preservation,” and intends to restore the exterior of the existing structure to its original look.

“It’s a great cement-and-steel building,” he said. “To cover it in styrofoam and stucco is a real shame. I understand why people needed to do it, but it needs some love.”

Among Popkin’s’ projects is an apartment building in downtown Jersey City’s historic district that involved rehabilitating an existing structure and erecting new construction, he said.

Built in 1927, 170 Monmouth and is owned by JMH Realty LLC and was listed for sale last year at $2.875 million. The asking price has dropped $300,000 since then, according to an updated listing by broker Neil Barone, who also handled the last sale, in 2008, for $2.25 million.

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