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RED BANK: THREE-STORY RESTAURANT PROPOSED

The terracotta-faced building at 21-23 Broad Street has been vacant for 12 years. Below, an architect’s rendering of the proposed changes. (Photo by John T. Ward; drawing by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A plan to create a three-story restaurant with a rooftop deck in downtown Red Bank is up for zoning board review Thursday night.

An approval could mean the end of a glaring vacancy in the heart of the business district since 2012. But among the possible hurdles is a plan to replicate a second-floor “ribbon” window on the third floor.

Known as the Doremus building since 1921, the terracotta-faced structure at 21-23 Broad Street was sold for $4 million last October by Rick Stavola to a limited liability company associated with Jennifer and Marco Savo of Lincroft, according to business records.

It’s been vacant since the departure of Agostino, a furniture store, in mid-2012. A plan for a speakeasy-type club in the basement and two floors of food vendors above won planning board approval in 2019 but never went anywhere.

The Savo’s plan calls for three stories of dining area, served by an elevator. It also includes in the addition of a third-floor outdoor deck and garden at the rear of the building, where two stories now exist. The deck would not be visible from the street, according to filings.

At the April 17 meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission, applicant’s attorney John Anderson said the unnamed restaurant “would ideally be able to serve alcohol,” which would require the acquisition of a license.

Out front, the existing windows on the top floor would be replaced with expansive “ribbon” windows to match those on the second floor, Anderson said.

“We believe that by removing the smaller ‘residential’ windows and mirroring the ribbon window below, we’re actually bringing it back in time, and bringing it back to what was constructed there,” he told the commission.

HPC member Paul Cagno, however, was one of two who objected to the window plan. He suggested that details be added to the second-floor windows to make them more closely reflect the original appearance, as seen in an old photograph of the building.

“I would prefer to see some detail” to match “every other building on Broad Street,” Cagno said.

The terracotta treatment on the facade would get spruced up, with the name Doremus “to be painted or obscured,” Anderson said.

“I would be totally against that,” said member Marjorie Cavalier.

The plan needs variances for a change in use, floor area and more.

Here’s the full agenda. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street, with viewing available via Zoom.

Meantime, the HPC is scheduled to continue its discussion of the proposal when it meets Wednesday night.

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