red bank what's going on hereConstruction fencing surrounds RayRap Real Estate’s Azalea Gardens project site at Harding Road and Clay Street in Red Bank this week. The development has been in the works for seven years, though there’s been little activity since half a block of rundown houses and garages were demolished in early 2018.

What’s Going On Here? Read on…

A site plan, below, shows the layout of 18 homes planned for the property, marked with a star in the satellite image above. (Photos by John T. Ward and Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

Fifteen years in the planning, the development was approved for 16 townhomes and two freestanding houses between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue in 2017.

But while there’s been little activity visible to neighbors and passersby, the project is “very much alive and well,” attorney Armen McOmber told the zoning board last week.

Developer Ray Rapcavage was back before the board seeking a one-year extension on his approval. He told the board he had satisfied all 40 conditions it had imposed, and then “COVID put everything on hold from a commercial lending perspective.”

But he has new financing in place that will enable him to start pouring foundations by the end the year, Rapcavage told the board. He expects to complete the project in about a year.

Board member Sean Murphy said approving the extension was a “no-lose” and “knocking down the request serves no purpose.

“This has been a long project. I really feel for Ray, and hope he gets it moving,” Murphy said. “We really need this to get going.”

Rapcavage told redbankgreen that one design change has been made since the original presentation: the upper floor of the three-story townhomes will use a mezzanine layout, creating a “clear span from front to rear, which allows for air and light to pass from east to west.”

The project began in 2013, when Rapcavage unveiled a plan for 22 homes and a commercial building with a greenmarket. That element was  rejected by the zoning board in 2015 as “too dense.” A year later, a plan that eliminated the market in favor of housing only won approval.

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