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RED BANK: BASIE ADDS TO FOOTPRINT

red-bank-68-maple-030823-1-500x375-8816385The Basie acquired this onetime residence in the professional office zone. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Less than two years after completing a $25 million expansion, the Count Basie Center for the Arts has added to its Red Bank real estate holdings.

But the nonprofit theater has no plans to seek an exemption from property taxes on the newly acquired site, a spokesman told redbankgreen.

red-bank-basie-center-052021-500x332-4737767The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Monmouth Street, as seen last May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

According to property records, the Monmouth Street institution last month paid $650,000 for 68 Maple Avenue, a former residence used as a professional office. The sellers were Mary Alice and Ronald Schanck of Spring Lake.

The site is at the northwest corner of Maple Avenue and Oakland Street, just around the corner from the theater.

What’s in store for the property?

“Though there is no exact plan at the moment, we were interested in this property with the Basie Center’s future in mind,” theater marketing director Jon Vena told redbankgreen via email last week. “In the short term, we may utilize this property as office space for our expanding team.”

He added, in response to a follow-up question: “We do not expect to seek exempt status, and have no plans for future acquisitions.”

The property generated about $13,500 in real estate taxes last year, records show.

According to interim borough Administrator Darren McConnell, the Basie contributes to the town’s coffers under a 2013 Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, agreement.

The pact, which has no expiration date and can be renegotiated, has a base of $10,000 per year and “fluctuates based on the Borough tax rate,” McConnell said in an email.

The payment for 2022 was $10,791, down almost 10 percent from the $12,027 paid in 2021, he said.

The PILOT is linked to the account of block 43, lot 1, the former longtime location of a one-story physician’s office acquired by the theater in 2020 for $1 – from a quartet of patrons who bought it in 2008 expressly to safeguard it for the Basie. The lot, at 95 Monmouth Street, is identified in records as the patio bar.

In 2021, the Basie absorbed Phoenix Productions a nonprofit community theatre company, which owns property at 59 Chestnut Street, next door to the borough’s public works yard.

A part of the Chestnut Street site assessed at $1.18 million is tax-exempt, while the remainder, assessed at $703,000, is taxed, because “that portion is being used for non-exempt purposes,” McConnell said.

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