A two-level cluster of shipping containers is planned for the triangular center of the parking lot at the newly remodeled Anderson Building. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


hot topic red bank njShoppers at the food market planned for Red Bank’s Anderson Building will soon be able to watch some of their produce growing in a shipping container in the parking lot, its owner says.

The shipping container array will include retail space for pop-up shops, a small apartment and a hydroponic farm. Below, Chris Cole with a rendering of the Anderson Building in 2014. (Click to enlarge)

Metrovation Anderson, redeveloper of the long-vacant former warehouse at 200 Monmouth Street, won zoning board approval Thursday night for a series of changes to the project.

While the same board’s October, 2014 approval allowed for a freestanding, two-story structure made of shipping containers in the center of the parking lot along Shrewsbury Avenue, the new plan calls for shrinking a proposed apartment in the containers and using the rest of the upper level for a hydroponic gardening operation.

Three Forks Local Greens, a Monmouth County-based hydroponic grower for restaurants and supplier to Sickles Market in Lincroft and B2 Restaurant in Red Bank, will operate the indoor farm, Metrovation principal Chris Cole told the board.

One end of the container will have a glass wall, “so when you pull into the parking lot, you’ll actually be watching the vegetables that will be grown and then sold right there” at Sickles Market Provisions, which plans to occupy the building’s first floor, Cole told the board.

The lower level of the containers is expected to be used by pop-up shops on a seasonal basis, Cole told the board. He said he’d been approached by a bookstore and a clothing seller, and envisioned the containers as starter lab for new retail ideas and an ever-changing draw for customers.

“We thought it would be interesting to sort of experiment with a bunch of tenants, nothing really long-term,” he said. “It will be tastefully done and nicely displayed.”

Cole told redbankgreen he hopes to have the shipping containers in operation by Memorial Day, 2020.

The board also approved a change that would allow non-office tenants on the second and third floors of the four-story primary structure. Cole said he had interest in the space from a wellness salon, a pilates studio and an interior design firm.

The board voted that the non-office tenants must not increase the parking demand for the building, which has 149 spaces on site.

Sickles Market Provisions plans to open January 10, owner Bob Sickles told redbankgreen recently.

Bottles by Sickles, a liquor store owned by Sickles, was to have opened earlier this month, but is now set to open November 15, Cole said.

Last month, advertising agency Sawtooth Group became the first business to occupy the Anderson Building in at least three decades, taking over the fourth floor.