An exhibit used in the Coffee Corral hearing illustrates the placement of the new building, which would on Shrewsbury Avenue at the corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard. The existing shop would be used for roasting beans. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank’s Coffee Corral won approval for an ambitious West Side building plan Monday.
The borough planning board gave a unanimous OK for owners Courtlyn Crosson and her father, business founder Russ Crosson, to transform vacant land at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard into a new home for the coffee shop, plus an adjoining restaurant.
The proposed two-store building, fronting on Shrewsbury Avenue, includes a replica of the existing Coffee Corral, and a new deli called the Jazz Café, at left. Below, the former Hovnanian headquarters, where new owner OceanFirst Bank won approval to install a news-ticker sign. (Rendering by Sonnenfeld & Trocchia. Click to enlarge.)
Coffee Corral would move into about half the building, leaving its existing 750-square-foot home on Drs. Parker Boulevard as a bean roastery. The other half would be operated as a restaurant called the Jazz Café.
“We are a staple of the neighborhood,” located on a lot that has been in family ownership for three decades, Courtly Crosson told the board.
The plan was driven, she said, by customer demand for parking and customer seating. The new Coffee Corral would provide seating for up to 34 customers, compared the the current handful of stools. Parking for 18 cars would be created in the interior of the lot, with two-way access on the Parker Boulevard side. Under the terms of an conditional approval by the Monmouth County Planning Board, vehicles could exit the site onto Shrewsbury Avenue southbound only.
Parking would be provided by an 18-space lot accessed via Drs. Parker Boulevard, with a second exit onto Shrewsbury Avenue allowing a right turn only into southbound traffic.
For customers who text in their coffee orders, which Courtlyn said constitutes a going portion of the clientele, the plan shows a walk-up window on the Drs. Parker side of the building. Crosson said she hopes to have a local artist paint a mural on that side.
Board member Michael Ballard, a councilman, expressed concern about the impact of in-and-out traffic on Parker Boulevard, particularly at the shop’s busiest time, when “people are trying to get to work, schoolbuses” are passing and more.
Citing vehicles attempting to make a left turn out of the site onto westbound Parker Boulevard, he said. “I think that’s where the traffic issue will surface.”
Crosson’s traffic consultant, Mark Zelina, responded that the plan would improve existing conditions, in which some customers are on the hunt for rare street spaces while another might be backing out of the shop’s driveway.
“It is a busy street, but given the location and the configuration of the site, that’s the only place where we have access,” Zelina said.
Board member Art Murphy said he thought the plan “is as good as that’s going to get.”
Russ Crosson told the board he would agree to a condition of approval that the roasting building not be used for retail or restaurant use in the future.
Separately, the board also approved a proposal by OceanFirst Financial to add an exterior ATM machine and new signage — including an illuminated news ticker — to the former Hovnanian Enterprises headquarters building, which the bank acquired last year for $42.5 million.
The ATM would be installed on the West Front Street side of the building, located at the northwest corner of Maple Avenue.
The ticker sign, to be located above the entrance to the building’s rotunda lobby, would be used to convey stock prices, “unbiased news,” emergency broadcasts such as Amber alerts, and announcements of community activities, Chief Administrative Officer Joseph Iantosca told the board.