red bank what's going on hereRED BANK 40 white streetIt’s been almost six years since Red Bank sold the former firehouse on White Street to a private developer. More than two years have passed since a start-up brewery announced plans to set up in the space. And yet, the 109-year-old structure remains idle and empty.

What’s Going On Here? You ask, and redbankgreen answers…

red bank liberty hose 2012The Liberty Hose firehouse as seen in 2012. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

The Morgan family bought the former Liberty Hose firehouse at auction for $400,000 in 2014. Two years later, the Morgans, who own a number of downtown properties, obtained zoning board approval for retail use on the first floor and two luxury apartments on the second floor.

In 2017, John Cocozza of Little Silver announced plans to build and operate Ross Brewing Company, a craft brewery, on the first floor. But while a twin firehouse on Mechanic Street was sold and rehabbed into a home-design center, no significant work ever took place on converting the one at 40 White Street.

Attorney Richard Pepsny, representing the Morgans, went before the zoning board Thursday night to ask for a one-year extension to the 2016 approval. No members of the Morgan family were present.

“Ultimately we lost the tenant, so we’re in the process of replacing the tenant,” Pepsny told the board.

“It looks like crap,” board vice chairman Ray Mass said of the property, and wondered aloud what might happen if the request were to be rejected.

“When we came in [in 2016], we presented what I thought was a very attractive plan,” Pepsny said. “My clients are anxious to go forward with it, to proceed to development.”

The board’s approval of the extension was unanimous.

As reported by redbankgreen, White Street is expected to undergo a streetscape makeover this year. See details of those plans here.