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.

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

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.”

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: IS THIS A ‘GREAT’ DOWNTOWN?

broad st rb 2 061512A view along Broad Street from 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_03What’s your favorite New Jersey downtown?

The state chapter of the American Planning Association is asking the public for its input on the question, and Red Bank is among the candidates.

Read More »

RED BANK: HEARING OPENS ON MARKET PLAN

rb rayrap 082114 4Audience members reviewing the site plan for a market, condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners, detailed below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb rayrap 082114 1 A proposed greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank began what could be an extended series of hearings Thursday night.

The zoning board heard descriptive testimony for developer Ray Rapcavage’s project, dubbed ‘Renaissance Village,’ which calls for a two-story commercial building on Harding Road, 10 condos on Clay Street and 10 townhouses on Hudson Avenue.

Read More »

RED BANK: HEARING SET FOR MARKET & HOMES

Developer Ray Rapcavage’s plans call for a market, above, as well as condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb rapcavage 081614Almost a year after it was first reported by redbankgreen, an ambitious plan for a greenmarket and 20 homes on the edge of downtown Red Bank is about to get a public airing.

Developer Ray Rapcavage’s project, calling for a two-story market, 10 condos and 10 townhouses bounded by Harding Road, Hudson Avenue and Clay Street, is scheduled to go before the zoning board Thursday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: SIGN CRACKDOWN SPARKS IRE

RB signs 061214 1Neon signs in store windows at the City Centre strip mall on White Street. Cluck U Chicken, above left, got a warning, but Psychic Advisor Gina on Monmouth Street, below, did not, according to borough records. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb neon 061714A recent crackdown on neon and other illuminated signs that lit up the business community with outrage prompted Red Bank officials to pull the plug on enforcement Wednesday night.

The blitz came to light at the bimonthly meeting of the mayor and council, when Councilman Mike DuPont said he had been besieged with complaints by merchants and restaurateurs over warning letters for signs some of them have had in their windows for decades.

“Many of the restaurants I visited complained bitterly,” said DuPont. “I heard all about it.”

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: DIVE RESURFACES

christine diiorio 070114Christina Di Iorio outside her Ocean Avenue bar and restaurant, which reopens Wednesday afternoon. Below, her husband, Steven Graniero. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

steven graniero 070114To be honest, Christina Di Iorio says, she got to the point where she didn’t want to reopen Dive, the Sea Bright restaurant and bar that she and then-fiancé Steven Graniero saw nearly wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

Their insurance company hadn’t lived up to its obligations, she said. A vendor was suing them, and they weren’t able to get any traction with the government or private lenders to restart the Ocean Avenue business. And then there’s the hard reality of two bodies of water – the Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury River – just yards away, all too ready to combine forces to once again smash the town as they did on October 29, 2012.

And yet there Di Iorio was on Tuesday, putting the final touches on a completely revamped Dive for a low-key opening at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“I agree with you: I think we’re nuts,” she told redbankgreen. “But our clients, our families, our fan base – they all embraced us. I’m doing it for them.”

Read More »

RED BANK: HOMEBUILDER POSTS LOSS

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

Hovnanian Enterprises delivered fewer homes and a net loss in its latest fiscal quarter, the Red Bank-based homebuilder reported Wednesday.

The second quarter saw a net loss of $7.9 million in the three months ended April 30, compared with net income of $1.3 million in the prior-year second quarter, which included $2.6 million of federal and state tax benefits.

Read More »

RED BANK: FIREHOUSE SOLD, USE UNKNOWN

morgans 042914With his brother, Michael, looking on, John Morgan gives borough Administrator Stanley Sickels a deposit for the firehouse purchase. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

liberty hose 070612Red Bank’s former Liberty Hose Company firehouse may soon have the second owner in its 103-year history.

Brothers Michael and John Morgan, owners of several prominent downtown properties, acquired the two-story, red brick structure at an auction that drew no other bidders or onlookers other than redbankgreen Tuesday morning.

Read More »

RED BANK: BUDGET IN SPOTLIGHT

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bankers with an interest in how much their local government costs them can find out where the money goes at a presentation Thursday night.

That’s when borough hall department heads explain their 2014 funding requests to the public at an annual event inaugurated by Councilman Mike DuPont in 2007.

On the table is the 2014 proposed $21 million spending plan, which town officials said is $218,000 smaller than 2013’s. About $12.6 million of that is to be covered by the local property tax.

Still unknown, however, is what property owners will pay, though preliminary estimates show the owner of a home assessed at the town average – currently estimated at $387,440 – paying $64.77 more this year.

Read More »

COMMUNITY YARD SALES RETURN

rbtys 050512 1Shots from the 2012 editions of the townwide yard sales in Red Bank, above, and Fair Haven, below. (Click to enlarge)

fhtys 050512 2Like blooming flowers and trees, the next two weekends promise riches for sellers and buyers alike in three communities on the greater Red Bank Green.

First up, this Saturday: the Lincroft Village Green Association holds its 10th annual Lincroft Community Yard Sale at homes throughout that corner of Middletown from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A week later comes both the seventh annual Red Bank Townwide Yard Sale, a a fundraiser for the public library, and the Fair Haven Townwide Yard Sale.

Read More »

RED BANK: PLANNERS SPAR OVER FACADES

joe romanowski 111513 2A plan by Joe Romanowski to remove the vestibule of his new Goldtinker store on Broad Street won approval. So did Tommy’s Coal-Fired Pizza’s request to permanently enclose seasonal seating area at the Galleria, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tommy's 042114The  Red Bank planning board approved a restaurant expansion, a downtown facade change and the renovation of what Mayor Pasquale Menna called a “cancerous eyesore” Monday night.

Along the way were some unusual flashes of passion among board members.

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: SHELL TAKES EX-EXXON SPOT

ls shell 041314The former Exxon station at Branch Avenue and Willow Drive in Little Silver, vacant for several years, is about to reopen as a Shell station. Owner Rafi Awan could not be reached for comment, but a borough employee said the station had applied for a certificate of occupancy and appeared ready to open.

The intersection once boasted four filling stations. Only a Citgo station remains. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WALGREENS RETHINKS STORE PLAN

rassas 032214The former home of Rassas Buick, at Broad Street and Rumson Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01Just six weeks after a series of contentious hearings won Walgreens an OK to build a store in Red Bank, the pharmacy chain is “reviewing [its] options” on the plan, redbankgreen has learned.

So says Aaron Rassas, the retired car dealer who owns the one-acre Broad Street site where Walgreens planned to build a 10,120 square foot drug-and-grocery emporium.

Read More »

RED BANK: TRUSTEES PAN BOROUGH BUDGET

barbara withers 032714Barbara Withers, a resident of the Atrium at Navesink senior complex, implores the board to preserve a book-delivery service for its residents. Below, board president John Grandits, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna outside the library meeting room. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

grandits menna 032714A plan by the Menna administration to rewrite the proposed Red Bank Public Library budget and undo the recent layoff of half its staff got a cold reception from the library trustees Thursday night.

One or two of the suggested changes, such as leaving the soon-to-be-vacated job of the library director unfunded, appear to be “illegal,” trustee Brigid McCarthy told a packed meeting of library supporters.

Still, Mayor Pasquale Menna, displaying obvious frustration with what he called “drama” surrounding the borough’s recommendations, said the standoff can and will be quickly resolved, even if he has to take unilateral action.

Read More »