An architect’s depiction of the proposed Rail multiuse project, as seen from the intersection of Oakland Street and Bridge Avenue, with St. Anthony’s Church at right. (Rendering by Rotwein+Blake. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
An expanded version of an ambitious mixed-use development proposed alongside the Red Bank train station got the express treatment from the borough planning board Monday night.
The Rail as seen from Bridge Avenue and Oakland Street, with one of the amenity decks at center; the parking lot in the foreground is not part of the project. Below, builder Steve Denholtz, center, with Mayor Pasquale Menna following the approval. (Rendering by Rotwein+Blake; photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
Dubed ‘The Rail,’ a different version of the plan won board approval two years ago. That one called for 45 apartments in a four-story new structure spanning most of the block between Chestnut and Oakland streets, along the western side of the North Jersey Coast Line.
The developer, Matawan-based Denholtz Associates, demolished an old warehouse building that housed a taxi operation, but never went to construction.
Now, having acquired two additional properties abutting the site — the former Racioppi’s and San Remo restaurants, both fronting on Oakland — Denholtz went back to the board with a new plan for the 1.65-acre site.
This one adds 12 apartments, bringing the total to 57, and comes with 6,000 square feet of ground-level retail space fronting on Oakland and a short stretch of Bridge Avenue. The earlier plan allotted only 800 square feet for commercial use.
As they did in October, 2016, board members praised the project as an ideal fit for the borough’s “train station overlay” zone, which encourages high-density housing within walking distance of public transportation and other amenities.
“This is not just a development of a site. This is the re-creation of a neighborhood,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna. He called the design “a very attractive retooling of this property, with a really cool, urbanist feel to it.”
The project features two “generous-sized” outdoor amenity decks that will incorporate rain gardens, grass, a pergola and perimeter plantings where residents can relax, architect Lance Blake told the board.
The project abuts an existing 30,000-square-foot office and retail building at 116-118 Chestnut Street, also owned by Denholtz.
No parking variances were requested. A parking consultant, John Rea, testified that all 242 required spaces would be provided by an interior, partly-underground garage with entries/exits on Oakland and Chestnut streets, as well as by a 95-space parking lot located a block away, between Herbert and Leonard streets, that Denholtz owns.
The office building and Rail project will share parking at the two locations, Rea said. Board Chairman Dan Mancuso called for a condition in the approval under which none of the interior spaces could be rented to non-tenants of the building. Denholtz officials agreed.
The firm was unable to acquire the parking lot that adjoins the project at the northeast corner of Chestnut and Bridge from St. Anthony of Padua parish, owner Steven Denholtz told redbankgreen last month.
Peter Soviero, who owns the nearby Mayo Auto Clinic, also praised the plan.
“I’ve seen what’s going on on the West Side, and I couldn’t be more excited,” he said. “This project is going to be a great asset to the community.”
The board’s vote was unanimous.
Construction will likely start next spring, Denholtz said. He plans to relocate his company’s corporate headquarters to the existing Chestnut Street office building, he said.