LITTLE SILVER: OFFICE BUILDING PLANNED

ls smith site 070615A warehouse-style office building is planned for the vacant lot on Willow Drive near Branch Avenue. Below, council members examining developer Ray Smith’s plans Monday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LS council 070615After years of contamination, bankruptcy and idleness, one of Little Silver’s most troubled properties may finally be getting a makeover. But first, the owner wants a zone change.

A plan for a “warehouse-style” office structure to be built on Willow Drive by commercial real estate broker and developer Ray Smith got a warm reception from the borough council during the workshop portion of its meeting Monday night.

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RED BANK: ANOTHER RESTAURANT APPROVED

18 broad 061315At 18 Broad Street, now concealed by scaffolding, the Art Deco foyer seen below will be replaced by one more reminiscent of the building’s 19th-century origins, the architect said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

18 broad 040615Accelerating downtown Red Bank’s flight from retail to food, the zoning board approved the conversion of a longtime shoe store to a restaurant Thursday night.

Dominating the two-hour hearing were two issues: whether the new owner of 18 Broad Street should be permitted to have three apartments upstairs, rather than the two allowed under the zoning ordinance, and whether the Art Deco foyer should be saved or replaced.

Barely mentioned: the impact of the 76-seat restaurant on parking.

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RED BANK: HOVNANIAN POSTS $19.6M LOSS

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian Enterprise’s headquarters in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Hovnanian Enterprises posted a net loss of $19.6 million in its second fiscal quarter, more than doubling the $7.9 million loss in the comparable 2014 period, the Red Bank-based homebuilder reported Tuesday.

In the current fiscal year, which began November 1, the company has racked up net losses of $33.9 million, compared to a loss of $32.4 million in the first half of fiscal 2014, Hov reported.

President and CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a statement that the company was “disappointed” with the results.

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RED BANK: NO VOTE ON WEST FRONT UNITS

55 w front 040215 2After three hours of testimony and few questions from zoning board members, a hearing on a proposed 35-unit apartment complex fronting on West Front Street in Red Bank ended without reaching a vote Thursday night.

The hearing on the project, located opposite Riverside Gardens Park and called the Element, is scheduled to resume June 18. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: APARTMENT PROPOSAL ON AGENDA

55 w front 040215 1A zoning board hearing on a proposed 35-unit apartment complex fronting on West Front Street opposite Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank is scheduled to resume after a two-month interval Thursday night.

Testimony on traffic flow and parking is expected, with a possible vote on the plan, called 55 West Front. The board meets at borough hall at 6:30 p.m. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

FAIR HAVEN: FITNESS, FASHION AND FLOWERS

lisa tave 052915Lisa Tave shows off the gym bag she created, which gave rise to her new shop of the same name: Physhion. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s quaint downtown saw the debuts of a pair of fresh retail faces last month:

Physhion, a boutique specializing in workout wear that doubles as all-day clothing.

• The Pink Peony, a flowers-and-gifts shop that also offers party-planning services.

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RED BANK: FOCUS ON FOYER WINDOWS

18 broad 040615The foyer of the former If the Shoe Fits store is the last remaining example of Art Deco design downtown, say preservationists. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE: The zoning board meeting on the 18 Broad Street proposal was cancelled. The application was rescheduled for June 18.]

18 broad 010715A proposal to turn a former downtown Red Bank shoe store into a restaurant and replace its distinctive curved-glass entryway is slated for review at Thursday night’s zoning board meeting.

Preservationists have raised concerns about the plan for 18 Broad Street, which is located in the historic district, because, they say, it would eliminate the last remaining example of Art Deco design in the commercial district.

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RED BANK ON BALLOT FOR MAGAZINE HONOR

broad st rb 2 061512A view down Broad Street from 2012.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Three years after its selection by Smithsonian Magazine as the third-best small town in America, Red Bank is on a ballot seeking to identify America’s “best town ever.”

By “ever,” Outside magazine means “this year.” And among the “towns” the borough is  competing against are New York, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. But still.

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RED BANK: AFTER 26 YEARS, BARR ZONES OUT

donna smith barr 042815 2Zoning officer Donna Smith Barr leaves the job this week after 26 years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

people-in-the-newsThe cliches compete: it’s tempting to say Donna Smith Barr has had a front-row seat on Red Bank’s two-decade-long bounceback from “Dead Bank” to today’s bustling burg. But it’s probably more accurate to say she’s been the gatekeeper.

Whether you wanted to put a deck on your house or turn a downtown store into a restaurant, Barr’s office has been the first stop at borough hall. And if she spoke or wrote the word “variance” in response, it probably wasn’t your last, as it would mean the time and expense of making one’s case before the zoning or planning board.

“I’m glad I don’t have to tell people they need variances anymore,” Barr told redbankgreen Tuesday. A single instance is one thing, “but when you do it for 26 years, that’s enough.”

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RED BANK: CLARITY ASKED ON W. FRONT PLAN

55 w front 040215 2A photo montage, above, showing the West Front Street elevation of the proposed building. Below, a rendering of a deck atop the garage, also visible at right in the image above. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 040215 1The quest for approval of a proposed 35-unit apartment building in downtown Red Bank was slowed Thursday night by another  document already in the developer’s pocket: an eight-year-old plan for 27 condos at the same site.

Members of the zoning board and neighbors of the proposed 55 West Front Street project, located opposite Riverside Gardens Park, were frequently flummoxed by how variances the developer is now seeking differed from those obtained in 2007.

“I wasn’t here when the original plan was approved, and I don’t know who on this board was,” a clearly frustrated board member Sean Murphy told the applicant’s lawyer, Peter Falvo.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN ON AGENDA

55 w front 010715 At 55 West Front Street, a developer is seeking approval for 35 rental units on a vacant lot previously approved for 27 condos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 010715 2After a nearly eight-year interim, new plans for a prominent Red Bank parcel are scheduled to go before the borough zoning board Thursday night.

The proposal, for a vacant lot opposite Riverside Gardens Park on West Front Street, replaces a plan approved in 2007 for 27 condos to replace a since-demolished Meridian nursing home.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP PLAN RAPPED FOR SIZE

rb zoning 011515 1Audience members reviewed exhibits during a break in Thursday night’s hearing. Below, a rendering of the eight townhomes proposed for Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap hudson 011515After a five-month layover that included meetings with neighbors and extensive revisions, developer Ray Rapcavage returned to the zoning board Thursday with his plans for a greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank.

But the first round of questions from the public indicated that neighbors still consider the project too big.

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RED BANK: MORE TABLES COMING?

12 w front 111114The owners of the Downtown, at right above, hope to expand into the vacant retail space at left for more seating, including a rooftop dining area. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThe already head-spinning rate at which downtown Red Bank is abandoning retail in favor of restaurants may soon accelerate.

Borough officials are weighing two new change-of-use proposals for eateries in the district.

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RED BANK: HOMEBUILDERS EYE WEST FRONT

76-78 w front 010715Under concept plans filed by KHov, a building at Maple Avenue and West Front Street, center above, would be replaced by eight townhouses. Less than a block away, a developer is seeking approval for 35 rental units, shown below, on a vacant lot already approved for 27 condos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

55 w front 010715 2More multi-unit homebuilders have their eyes on Red Bank. West Front Street, in particular.

Two proposals that would add 43 new residences to the stretch of West Front between Maple Avenue and English Plaza have been filed with the borough planning board.

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LITTLE SILVER: CORNER RAZED. NOW WHAT?

ls willow dr 122214wicker-rose-texaco-lsThe former site of Wicker Rose furnishings, foreground below, and a Texaco station on Willow Drive near Branch Avenue in Little Silver was cleared of its vacant structures earlier this month. Property owner Ray Smith tells redbankgreen that that buildings “needed to go, and now the property is cleaned up and ready for development.”

And what’s he got planned for the site? Smith says he’s “weighing several options” but has no definite plans yet. What would you like to see there? (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: COUNCIL BUSILY CLOSES OUT YEAR

jane eigenrauch 121714Retired librarian Jane Eigenrauch gets a goodbye hug, above, and Councilwoman Juanita Lewis reacts to a tribute at her final meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

juanita lewis 121714At its final scheduled meeting of 2014, the Red Bank council killed a $2.2 million bond ordinance to pay for new water meters amid warnings that a shortage of existing devices could delay new construction in 2015.

The council also:

• approved a new labor agreement covering nearly half the municipal workforce

• extended a moratorium on fees some developers have to pay for parking deficiencies.

• bid adieu to one of its own members

• and honored a newly-retired librarian who had been the borough government’s longest-serving employee.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM, RAPCAVAGE ON AGENDA

rb rapcavage 081614A proposed market and 20 homes at Red Bank’s five corners, above, returns to the zoning board Thursday night. Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, below, also has an application on the agenda. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

burnham 3 010114A proposed greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank returns to the zoning board this week, four months after it was pulled back by the developer for revisions.

Also on Thursday night’s agenda: a request by borough Councilwoman Cindy Burnham to build a garage behind her home on Wallace Street.

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RED BANK: FREE PARKING, STROLLING SANTAS

rb parking 121112Kiss the kiosks goodbye for the next two weeks:. Visitors to downtown Red Bank will get a pass on having to pay for parking starting Thursday and running through December 25. The annual moratorium applies to lot and curb spaces, according to Red Bank RiverCenter.

The downtown promotion agency will host an “open house” throughout the business district Thursday night, featuring store sales, refreshments, carolers, and the Barbizon Holiday Mannequins. New this year: strolling Santas, available to grace your selfies. (Photo by John T. Ward; click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LOFTS LAND WEST ELM AS TENANT

west elm 120414The furniture retailer will occupy the ground-floor corner at West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, as shown in this rendering. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s West Side Lofts project now under construction has landed upscale furniture retailer West Elm as an anchor tenant.

The pending arrival of the store, slated for next August, was at the center of a handful of changes to the massive project the borough zoning board approved Thursday night.

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RED BANK: LAUTERWASSER TO BE FD CHIEF

rbfd chiefs 120214 1Chief-elect Joe Lauterwasser, right arrives at the First Aid building Tuesday night with his prospective first deputy, Chris Soden, left, and second deputy Pete DeFazio, center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03If there’s one constant that defines the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, it’s family.

That was evident on Tuesday night, when the 143-year-old department’s annual election night celebration was dominated by names and faces that would have been familiar to attendees generations ago.

“We’re based on tradition,” said ex-chief George Lauterwasser (2002) as he awaited the arrival of the chief-elect, his 30-year-old son, Joe, at the First Aid building on Spring Street with dozens of other volunteers. “We keep it up with the kids. We’re old school.”

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RED BANK: ANTIQUES CO-OP HITS MIDDLE AGE

guy johnson 071713 2antiques 2Born in the final year of the Baby Boom, the Antique Center of Red Bank, said to be the oldest continually operating antiques cooperative in America, turns 50 this month.

The late Nan Johnson, an antiques lover who found herself with too much stuff after redecorating her Lincroft home, launched the venture with 12 dealers in an old Red Bank clothing factory in 1964, and it eventually grew to comprise three massive buildings anchoring the borough’s Antiques District.

Now scaled back to two spaces run by her son, Guy Johnson, above, the center plans a celebration this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with refreshments and bargains at 195 and 226 West Front Street.  Dozens more photos can be seen at redbankgreen‘s Flickr page. (Click to enlarge)

LITTLE SILVER MULLS FIRST LIQUOR LICENSE

ls council 111714Residents packed Monday night’s borough council meeting, many in support of a referendum on the license question.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Little Silver voters may face a non-binding referendum next year on whether the town should issue its first-ever license for on-premise consumption of alcohol.

That possibility appeared to gel into likelihood Monday night on the heels of a builder’s request, backed by a 500-signature petition, asking the borough council to make allowance for a family-style restaurant that serves alcohol.

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RED BANK: RAPCAVAGE REVISES PROPOSAL

rapcavage plan 2 081213 A proposed market, above, at Red Bank’s five corners, seen below, would have two apartments on the second floor instead of commercial space under an amended plan. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb rapcavage 081614The developer of a proposed greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank has modified his plan to address concerns of nearby residents, he says.

Ray Rapcavage’s project, dubbed ‘Renaissance Village,’ still calls for 20 homes and a grocery story taking up half of a block bounded by Harding Road, Clay Street and Hudson Avenue.

But two of the residences would now be apartments above the market. And parking for the remaining 18 homes would be accessed via a single driveway, eliminating numerous curb cuts and preserving street parking, he told redbankgreen Wednesday.

“The plans have definitely been improved,” Rapcavage said. “A lot of these elements come from the feedback of people who were kind enough to come and take a look at” the proposal.

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RETAIL CHURN: EAT, WEAR AND INVEST

jim lin 110314Jim Lin, owner of Oriental Empire, said customers of his Ocean Township restaurant urged him to open one in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508In this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn, we’ve got details on these recent developments in ever-churning downtown Red Bank:

• Oriental Empire, a restaurant offering a mix of Asian cuisines, opened last month at 54 English Plaza.

• A former sales associate at the recently departed Nirvana is opening her own women’s clothing store on Broad Street.

• A restaurant called Hansel & Griddle plans to open on West Front Street.

• A nail salon changes hands and rebrands.

• The space formerly occupied by office supply retailer Staples is turning into office space for a securities brokerage.

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RED BANK: SUSHI PLACE TAKES PRIMO CORNER

80 broad 092713The large space formerly home to the Broadway Grille is to become Taka, a sushi restaurant. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Amid a proliferation of new restaurants, downtown Red Bank is taking on a decidedly Asian flavor.

Two weeks ago, Oriental Empire opened at 54 English Plaza, joining five other purveyors of Asian cuisine in the heart of town – most of them of recent vintage.

Now, a sushi restaurant has signed a lease at the high-profile corner of Broad and Monmouth streets., in the former home of the Broadway Grille.

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