UPDATE: On February 2, Woodhouse Spa owner Jennifer Clarke informed redbankgreen that she “did not proceed” with renting the space at 74-76 Monmout Street and won’t be opening a massage school there. “I have nothing to do with that renovation,” she said in an email.
The building’s owner and the head of Red Bank RiverCenter were among those expressing astonishment – and not the good kind – at changes made over the weekend to the front windows at 74-76 Monmouth Street.
The retail space, long occupied by hair salons, was approved by the zoning board in November for use as a massage school. The school would be owned by Jennifer Clarke, who bought the Woodhouse Spa franchise at 73 Broad Street last year.
John Brennan, an attorney for building owner Tish Reddington, said the new windows went in Sunday following what Brennan called a “miscommunication” with a contractor who “for some reason thought little windows would be a good idea.”
Reddington had always intended to preserve the full-sized windows as part of a renovation of the space for the school, he said.
“Tish is a victim here, because she did not want this at all,” Brennan said. “She wanted there to be full-sized retail windows. She objected to them as soon as she saw them” Monday, when she arrived to open Elsie’s, the sub shop she owns in the building, she said.
RiverCenter’s Visual Improvement Committee, which has an advisory role on development permits in the business district, “absolutely” did not review the installed windows, said executive director Bob Zuckerman.
“I can guarantee you that our Visual Improvement Committee would never have approved this,” he told redbankgreen Wednesday.
“You have to see it to believe it, like someone thought it a good idea to emulate the old Eatontown village area on Rt 35,” Jill Reit, a senior architectural designer at SOME Architects, told redbankgreen by email.
SOME Architects was hired to design interior renovations for the massage school, “so when we saw the window being replaced with framing and residential windows we were surprised, to say the least,” she said.
redbankgreen was unable to immediately confirm Zuckerman’s “understanding” that the borough building department had issued a stop-work order over unapproved work.
Brennan, who spoke to redbankgreen by phone from his usual table at Elsie’s, said Reddington “is spending a lot of money” renovating the space and intends to install “full-sized glass. It’s going to look beautiful when it’s done.”
Massage-school owner Clarke did not immediately reply to a request for comment. At the November hearing, she told the board the school would feature “one big open room with tables,” and no private rooms. It also will not solicit or accept paying customers, she said.
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