By JOHN T. WARD
A proposed expansion atop an existing restaurant and parking deck would create a nine-story structure with 150 apartments in the center of Red Bank, redbankgreen has learned.
If approved, the project would shatter the borough’s limits on building height, density and more.
Above, a rendering of the West Front Street side of the proposed project, with the existing office building shown at left. The plan calls for razing the former auto body shop at West and Wall streets, below. (Rendering by Feinberg & Associates; photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
Proposed by West Long Branch-based PRC Group, owner of Red Bank Corporate Plaza, the project “will achieve a height of nine stories” anchored by the existing Pazzo MMX restaurant and a four-story parking garage at 141 West Front Street, according to the November 18 development application.
It would also incorporate the former Sanford Auto Body site at West and Wall Streets, where a family-run business ended a 78-year run two months ago, as reported by redbankgreen.
Under a proposal slated to be heard by the borough zoning board next month, PRC is seeking variances that would allow it to:
• add seven stories of residences, plus a ninth-floor “green” roof deck, over the single-story Pazzo structure
• expand the existing 339-space parking garage so it extends to Wall and West streets, where the Sanford building would be razed
• build four stories of apartments atop the resulting five-story parking deck.
According to a document prepared by architect Feinberg & Associates, the project would include a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at market rates, ranging in size from 410 square feet to 1,018 square feet.
Sixteen units would be classified as affordable, including four three-bedroom apartments of 1,040 square feet apiece, the filing says. All but one of the affordable units would be located on three floors directly above Pazzo.
The remaining apartments would be located above the affordable ones and atop the garages, the drawings indicate.
Plans show an open-air plaza with artificial turf on the sixth floor overlooking the area that’s now the plaza driveway off Wall Street. The main lobby to the residences would be a two-story atrium off Wall Street. A fitness center would be built on the third floor above the lobby.
As part of its makeover, PRC also proposes to eliminate the existing parking deck entry and exit on West Front Street, replacing it with an opening on West Street and reconfiguring the existing Wall Street access, according to a traffic and parking analysis by Maser Consultants.
The variance request is scheduled to be heard by the zoning board at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, at borough hall. Under what’s known as a bifurcated hearing, PRC would return for site plan review at a later date if the variances are approved.
Among the hurdles: PRC’s new buildings would top out at 125 feet in height in a zone where the limit is 40 feet, according to a narrative that accompanied the company’s filing.
The project would also create a density of 56.9 residential units per acre, where the zone maximum is 16 per acre. It would also come in at double the borough’s allowable floor-area ratio, a measure of footprint coverage.
The application also may need a generous parking variance.
The Maser analysis says the project is required to provide 279 parking spots for the apartments, under New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standards. Factoring in demand from the existing office and restaurant, that brings the site’s total parking requirement to 784 spaces, whereas PRC plans to provide 556, the report says.
By that math, PRC would need a variance for 228 spots.
But under a shared-parking analysis, in which residential and office tenants generally need the same spaces at different times, Maser concludes that PRC would actually require only 471 spaces, far fewer than it plans to build.
In terms of traffic, the Maser report estimates the project would generate a maximum 66 vehicle movements into and out of the project at its evening activity peak. That figure is well below the 100-movements-per-hour standard for a “significant increase” in traffic under New Jersey Department of Transportation definitions, Maser concludes.
The project does not include the vacant former Riverbank Antiques property just to the west of the existing parking deck. That site was acquired for $1.28 million in October, 2018, by a Brooklyn-based entity called West Front Street LLC, which has not filed a development plan, according to the borough planning office.
The proposal also excludes property at the corner of West Front Street and West Street, home to Red Bank Liquors and its parking lot.
The Pazzo property and garage are part of the 12-year-old Red Bank Corporate Plaza, which fronts on West Front Street at Pearl Street, and is co-owned by PRC and Mack-Cali Realty, according to PRC’s website.
Also home to a four-story, 84,000-square-foot office building, the plaza generated almost $495,000 in property tax revenue in 2019, according to borough records.
The Sanford property, at the corner of West and Wall streets, was acquired late last month by Valley Run Apartments LLC, a Delaware-incorporated entity, for $730,000, according to property and corporate records.
If approved, the project would add momentum to a multifamily housing boom now underway in Red Bank and expected to accelerate dramatically.
In May, developers completed a 35-unit luxury apartment project called the Element at long-vacant 55 West Front Street, overlooking Riverside Gardens Park.
Now under construction between Oakland and Chestnut streets alongside the North Jersey Coast Line is the Rail, a 57-unit apartment building that will sit atop 6,000 square feet of commercial space. That’s a project of Denholtz Properties, which has its headquarters in an adjoining building on Chestnut Street.
Denholtz also holds approvals for a 10-unit luxury townhouse project called Southbank, overlooking the Navesink River from a bluff behind the Monmouth Boat Club. Construction there has not yet begun.
Earlier this month, the planning board approved what may be the single largest development in borough history: a 210-unit, five story project proposed by Saxum Real Estate on the site of the former VNA headquarters at Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place. Construction is not expected to start for months, and may take two years to complete, according to testimony heard by the board.
And next week, the zoning board is scheduled to take up an application for 16 apartments above 3,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 273 Shrewsbury Avenue, on the northeast corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard. redbankgreen plans to post details on that proposal this week.
PRC, founded and controlled by Robert M. Kaye, also owns Grandville Towers, and provides property management services for the Riverview Towers co-op and the Element, among numerous residential and commercial projects in Monmouth County and elsewhere.
Here are the key documents filed by PRC in support of its proposal:
• Application and description: Red Bank Corporate Plaza application 111819
• Floor plans and renderings: Red Bank Corporate Plaza architecturals 122119
• Traffic and parking analysis: Red Bank Corporate Plaza traffic study 111419