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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RED BANK: WEST SIDERS MARCH IN PROTEST

rb march 102514 4rb march 102514 2About three dozen protesters marched through Red Bank Saturday morning to object to rising property taxes, a proposed spray park at Bellhaven Nature Area, borough hiring practices and what they termed police “aggressiveness.”

Organizer Freddie Boynton said the event, spotlighting concerns of West Siders, was not meant to be partisan, though it called for “new leadership” at borough hall.  “There’s a lot of frustration on this side of town,” said Boynton, a retired DPW employee. “We’re not being treated like the rest of the town is.”  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: ANDERSON SAILS TO APPROVAL

metrovation anderson 101614An architect’s rendering of the proposed Anderson Storage building, as seen from Bridge Avenue. Below, zoning board member Jesse Garrison, left, congratulates developer Chris Cole after the vote. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

garrison cole 101614The second plan to transform the Red Bank’s former Anderson storage building in a decade cruised to approval Thursday night.

The earlier approval, obtained in 2006 and never followed up on, was to convert the long-vacant, 27,000-square-foot structure into 23 condos. This one calls for a four-story addition and other changes to produce a 48,600SF office structure with a stores and a restaurant on the ground floor, a greenhouse on the roof, and a small shop made of shipping containers in the rear parking lot.

The new plan had some tailwind created by its predecessor.

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RED BANK: CLOSING IN ON WEST SIDE LOFTS

wb ws lofts 100814 1A fifth-floor view of the  “mews” between two buildings at the West Side Lofts, looking toward the Two River Theater. Below, developer Chris Cole. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

chris cole 100814After years on the drawing board, one of the biggest – and architecturally boldest – residential projects ever conceived for Red Bank is nearing completion.

While area merchants and restaurateurs anxiously await their arrival, West Side Lofts developer Chris Cole said he’s planning on having the first tenants move in as early as February.

Designed by David Baker Architects in San Francisco, the project features 92 rental units in a Rubik’s-cube-like amalgam of bold color and jutting facades that dominates the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, in what’s sometimes referred to as the Arts and Antiques District of town.

But “it’s not trying to make a statement,” Cole  told redbankgreen on a recent tour. “It’s more trying to embrace the arty side of town.”

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RED BANK: WHAT SHOULD GO HERE?

40 WHITE 092314 1Restaurant? Bakery? Something else? The owners of the former Liberty Hose Company firehouse are looking for the perfect match for the vacant structure. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

40 WHITE 092314 2Everybody’s got an opinion. But does anyone have a solid, workable idea for the former Liberty Hose Company firehouse’s second act?

The owners of the 103-year building at 40 White Street in Red Bank are open to suggestions, says John Morgan, who along with his brother and father, both named Michael, bought the two-story, red brick structure from the borough earlier this year for $400,000.

“This is such a unique building that you want something that’s going to fit its persona,” Morgan told redbankgreen on a recent tour of the property. And the family is committed to “local.,” he said. “We don’t want somebody from New York to come in.”

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RED BANK: PLAN ‘SPICES UP’ ANDERSON SITE

chris cole 100214Metrovation partner Chris Cole with a rendering of the proposed project. Below, a freestanding structure in the parking lot would be be made of shipping containers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb anderson 100214 2A plan to transform the former Anderson storage building in Red Bank into stores and offices reflects years of thinking about how to integrate it into the surrounding neighborhood, proponents told the borough zoning board Thursday night.

Testifying for developer Metrovation, architect Terry William Smith detailed a plan that he said “honors the integrity and the authenticity of the original building” via a four-story addition with a red brick exterior and lots of exposed wood and steel inside. “We’re not tampering with that,” he said.

Still, the project includes some giddy touches, including a small, freestanding structure made of shipping containers in the center of the parking lot and a century-old greenhouse on the roof.

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RED BANK: ANDERSON MAKEOVER RETURNS

rb anderson bldg 051214 1The former Anderson storage property on Monmouth Street abuts the North Jersey Coast Line. Below, an architect’s rendering of the remodeled building. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

anderson bldg 073114 4Two years after scuttling plans that would have transformed the long-vacant Anderson Brothers warehouse in Red Bank into luxury condos, developer Metrovation is back, minus the living units.

A plan to instead turn the three-story, red-brick structure into two floors of office space above street-level stores and a restaurant is scheduled to be heard by the borough zoning board Thursday night.

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RED BANK: RUN-IN METERING MULLED

rb 15-min pkg 092614 2Among the nine spots under consideration is the one nearest Starbucks on Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

park itRed Bank officials are weighing a proposal to cap parking at nine downtown spaces at 15 minutes.

Under the idea, pitched by by the downtown promotion agency RiverCenter, shoppers who just want to grab a cup of coffee or run a quick errand might be likelier to find a spot on the street for that purpose, said Councilman Art Murphy.

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RED BANK WINS ‘GREAT’ DOWNTOWN VOTE

broad st rb 061512A view along Broad Street from 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The votes are in, and Red Bank is the most popular downtown in central New Jersey, according to the state chapter of the American Planning Association.

In online voting, the borough outpolled Asbury Park by just 35 votes, out of nearly 6,900 cast, with Somerville close behind in the three-way contest.

The designation is another feather in the cap for the borough, which was named the third-best small town in America by Smithsonian Magazine in 2012. It’s also something Red Bank RiverCenter can leverage in its efforts to fill store vacancies and bring in shoppers, said executive director Jim Scavone.

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RED BANK: LUNCH BREAK GETS $1 MILLION

lunch break 092914The donation will ensure completion of a major expansion of the soup kitchen now underway, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Lunch Break soup kitchen has landed a $1 million donation from a philanthropist who asked not to be publicly identified, the organization announced Monday.

The donation, already in the bank, pushed Lunch Break to 80 percent of its $5 million capital campaign to pay for a sizable expansion of its facility on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: LOCALS LEND VOICES ON CLIMATE

092114 climate walk5092114 climate walk6Among those heading to New York  for the People’s Climate March was Emma Reardon, right, who gathered with several dozen others for the train ride from Red Bank Sunday morning. They became part of a crowd, estimated at 300,000 to 400,000, who joined to send a message to world leaders assembling at the United Nations this week for a summit on climate change.

“We are marching today because we want them to know that we are here and we want change,” said Reardon. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: HOMEBUILDER’S NET DOUBLES

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

Hovnanian Enterprises posted net earnings of $17.1 million in its third fiscal quarter, more than doubling the $8.5 million net in the comparable 2013 period, the Red Bank-based homebuilder reported Thursday.

Citing “the early stages of a recovery” for the housing industry, and “assuming no change in current market conditions,” the compaany expects to wrap up the year with a profit, president and CEO Ara Hovnanian said in a statement.

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