RED BANK: BROKERS TO THE ‘BRIDGE’

The ‘bridge‘ is in. Following a six-month construction sprint, securities broker Morgan Stanley Smith Barney completed the consolidation of its Red Bank offices into a single location at Broad Street and Linden Place this week, said Jay Herman, a principal in Downtown Investors, which owns the property. The expanded space includes a suspended structure linking two existing buildings, as seen at right last January. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MOODY’S LIFTS NEGATIVE OUTLOOK

By JOHN T. WARD

Nearly a year after Moody’s went negative on Red Bank, the Wall Street debt rater has reversed course, borough officials said.

The credit research firm told town officials by email Friday morning that it has affirmed the town’s debt Aa3 rating and removed the “negative outlook” imposed last November over concerns about a shrinking surplus, said Councilman Mike DuPont, who heads up the governing body’s finance committee.

“There’s no Moody blues today,” DuPont told redbankgreen

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HOV POSTS SECOND CONSECUTIVE PROFIT

Hovnanian’s headquarters, on Maple Avenue in Red Bank. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

After going one-for-22, Red Bank-based national homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises racked up a second consecutive net gain in its most recent fiscal quarter, the company announced Thursday.

In posting a profit of $34.7 million in the quarter ended July 31, compared with a prior-year loss of $50.9 million, Hovnanian “recorded double-digit revenue growth and a jump in contracts, the latest sign of improvement in the housing market,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

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HOV STUNNER: A PROFIT

Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s Red Bank HQ, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Hovnanian Enterprises surprised Wall Street with news Wednesday that it’s most recent fiscal quarter was a profitable one.

Bloomberg reports that the Red Bank-based homebuilder’s net profit of $1.8 million, on a 52-percent surge in sales, was “unexpected.”

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HALL CLAIMS WIN IN LOCAL BANK STAKES

The Fair Haven office is one of just five for the locally focused bank. (Click to enlarge)

By MIKE BARON

The shareholders of Rumson-Fair Haven Bank & Trust have spoken, and they apparently aren’t all that worried that hedge fund honcho George Hall is going to turn the their well-heeled area into a Pottersville.

Hall is the founder of investment firm Clinton Group, which has more than $2.5 billion in assets under management, according to its website. On May 11, he won his battle to remove William Barrett as chairman of of the five-branch bank after an independent judge finalized the results of the bank’s annual shareholder vote. Hall is replacing Barrett on the board, and a new chairman is set to be chosen when the bank’s directors meet on Monday.

While the area is undoubtedly a far cry from Bedford Falls, the fictional setting of the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Barrett had reportedly likened Hall to Henry Potter, the film’s villain, amid criticism by Hall that the bank wasn’t doing enough local lending.

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HOV BOOSTS REVENUE, SHRINKS LOSS

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises notched a 6.7-percent sales gain in the first fiscal quarter from a year ago, the company reported Tuesday morning.

The closely-held publicly traded company continued to lose money in the quarter, but narrowed the loss to $18.3 million, down from $64.14 million a year ago, it said in an announcement.

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RUMSON: TALK ABOUT DOWNSIZING

From this… to that? Having moved out of the 18,000-square-foot colossus above, Pete and Judy Dawkins recently purchased the home shown below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Eight months after selling one of Rumson’s most jaw-dropping homes for $12 million, Heisman Trophy winner and financier Pete Dawkins has picked up a relatively modest house across town.

Monmouth County property records show Dawkins and his wife, Judy, closed on a house on Highland Avenue earlier this month, paying $1.3 million.

Unlike Long Point, the Dawkinses’ former Navesink River-front estate whose driveway was nearly as long as their new street, the new place has neighboring homes just a dozen feet away on either side.

As to what he Dawkinses plan to do with the house, they’re not saying.

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‘FLOATING’ DOWNTOWN OFFICE WAFTS TO OK

The addition will connect two existing buildings while permitting vehicles to pass underneath. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Framed by talk about its positive effects on lunchtime restaurant business, a plan for an office bridge between two downtown buildings won easy approval from the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night.

With no objectors present, the plan by property owner Downtown Investors drew a smattering of questions about window placement and parking, as well as praise by board members.

“I do want to say, another wonderful project by the Hermans,” said member Karen Waldmann, speaking of Downtown Investors principals Jay and Todd Herman.

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HOVNANIAN ENDURES ANOTHER LOSS

hov-hq-090511Hovnanian’s national headquarters in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

The red ink continued to flow at Red Bank homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises in the recently ended fiscal fourth quarter, though the size of the loss was smaller than that in the year-prior period.

Hovnanian reported an after-tax net loss of $98.3 million, or 90 cents per share, compared with a $132.1 million loss, or $1.68 per share, in the comparable 2010 period.

It was the 20th loss in the last 21 reporting periods for the publicly traded company, which is New Jersey’s largest homebuilder, according to Bloomberg.com.

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IN THE WORKS: LINDEN PLACE OFFICE BRIDGE

linden-3The two Linden Place buildings above would be connected at the second floor, as seen in the rendering, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

linden-1One of the Wall Street brokerages that help stock Red Bank’s downtown office population is looking skyward as it plans an expansion.

Morgan Stanley, which occupies nearly all of two adjoining office buildings on Broad Street and Linden Place, wants to connect them at the second-floor level, according to plans on file with the borough.

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RED BANK BONDS SHRUG OFF MOODY’S MOOD

money-half-columnWall Street debt-rating agency Moody’s may take a negative view of Red Bank’s fiscal situation, but investors don’t, town officials said Tuesday night.

Councilman Mike DuPont, who heads the borough’s finance committee, said investors had snapped up $5.4 million worth of bonds offered in a recent refinancing. The followed Moody’s report at the end of October, which said that its Aa3 rating on $25.2 million worth of general-obligation bonds could be downgraded if “recent fiscal strain” continues.

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MOODY’S GOES NEGATIVE ON RED BANK DEBT

just_in1By JOHN T. WARD

Wall Street debt-rating agency Moody’s has raised concerns about Red Bank’s $25.2 million worth of general-obligation bonds.

In a announcement posted on its website late last Friday, Moody’s affirmed its prior Aa3 rating on the debt, but revised its outlook to “negative,” citing a drop in the town’s current-fund balance to 2.14 percent of revenue in 2010, from 9.14 percent in 2007.

The agency indicated that a downgrade of the debt could follow if “recent fiscal strain” continues.

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OCCUPIERS OCCUPIED WITH ORGANIZING

occupy-101511About three dozen people turned out for Saturday’s initial meeting of Occupy Red Bank at Marine Park, an event led by Connor Walby, center below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

connor-walby-101511Any expectations that a gathering dubbed Occupy Red Bank would attract throngs of longterm visitors similar to those protesting near Wall Street in Manhattan and elsewhere around the world proved mistaken Saturday.

Instead, a brief, low-key assemblage of about three-dozen people lived up, or down, to billing, as nothing more than an opportunity for participants to air concerns about economic and political trends, and to agree to meet again.

“The strength of this is what we agree on,” Connor Walby, who in his word “facilitated” the discussion, told the attendees arrayed in a loose circle on a concrete pad in Marine Park. “We agree that this is a broken system.”

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‘OCCUPY’ MEETUP TO TALK, NOT OCCUPY

occupyAn event inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement is slated for Saturday in Red Bank’s Marine Park, though no ‘occupation’ of the riverfront facility is planned, says an organizer.

The event is being put together by “a group of Monmouth County citizens, who were inspired by national events, and would like to create dialogue within the community,” a group spokesman tells redbankgreen via email.

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HOV TOUGHS OUT ANOTHER Q

hov-hq-090511Hovnanian’s Red Bank headquarters, as seen from Maple Cove. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises endured a 25-percent plunge in revenue in its latest fiscal quarter, another in a litany of bruising periods.

Still, the closely held company managed to narrow its loss to $50.9 million, from $72.9 million in the comparable 2010 quarter, by absorbing smaller write-downs for land.

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MORE RED INK FOR RED BANK HOMEBUILDER

Hov_hq_81206Hovnanian’s Red Bank HQ, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue.

Hovnanian Enterprise reported a $72.7 million loss as revenue fell in latest fiscal quarter. The deficit was worse than Wall Street analysts had anticipated, according to a Bloomberg News report in the New York Times.

The Red Bank-headquartered national homebuilding company reported that revenue fell 20 percent, to $255.1 million, from $318.6 million a year earlier, in the quarter ended April 30. Net orders dropped 17 percent.

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REPORT: HOV LOSS LARGER THAN EXPECTED

HovHovnanian’s headquarters on West Front Street.

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises closed out its fiscal year October 31 on a larger-than-expected net loss, according to a news report.

The company’s fourth quarter produced an after-tax net loss of  $132.1 million, or $1.68 per common share, compared with a net loss of $250.8 million, or $3.21 per share, in the comparable 2009 quarter.

The New York Times, citing Thomson Reuters, said analysts had been expecting a loss of 66 cents a share.

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HOV BEATS OUTLOOK — IN WRONG DIRECTION

Img_9341File photo of the company’s headquarters overlooking the Navesink River. (Click to enlarge)

Homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises slashed its net loss in its latest fiscal quarter, but still produced more red ink than Wall Street analysts were expecting, according to Bloomberg.

The Red Bank-based company racked up $72.9 million in losses in the period that ended July 31, largely owing to the expiration of a federal tax credit for homebuyers.

A year earlier, Hovnanian reported a net loss of $168.9 million.

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ADMITTED SCAMMER GETS SEVEN YEARS

hot-topic rightForty-one-year-old financial advisor Stephen Severio of Fair Haven was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday after admitting that he defrauded clients out of more than $700,000, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Many of the 34 clients Severio admitting bilking were elderly, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, which handled the case.

According to the Press, Severio’s lawyer, Mitchell Ansell:

described Severio as a gambling addict and otherwise law-abiding citizen who lost his career and family, and ultimately all the money, due to his addiction.”What fuels him is in no way an excuse for what he did,” Ansell said.

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RED BANK’S FIRST LADY OF LANDSCAPING

karen-siciliano2Karen Siciliano, seen at Riverside Gardens Park, is celebrating her company’s 75th year in business. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Something isn’t quite right inside Karen Siciliano’s Park Street office.

It isn’t the collection of framed awards and flattering magazine and newspaper stories tacked on the wall. It’s not the picture of her cockapoo, Geli, on her desk. Nor is it the scent of gasoline that funnels in from a stable of lawnmowers in the attached garage.

Ah, must be the black potbelly stove in the middle of the room.

“My father thought it was a good luck charm,” Siciliano, 49, said. “It wasn’t my good luck charm. It was his.”

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HOV POSTS ANOTHER QUARTERLY LOSS

Img_9341Hovnanian’s headquarters overlooking the Navesink River at Maple Cove. (Click to enlarge)

The misery isn’t over at Red Bank-based national homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises, despite a brief return to the black two quarters back.

The company reported a net loss of $28.6 million in its second fiscal quarter, which ended April 30,  compared with $118.6 million loss a year earlier.

In its first quarter, the company was profitable for the first time after more than four years of losses. Hovnanian has now lost money in 14 of the last 15 quarters.

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ABOVE BROAD STREET, A WALL STREET SHAKER

hot-topic rightTwo major newspapers take a peek today into the world of technology-driven stock trading— and its connection to a whipsaw drop and rebound in prices earlier this month — by spotlighting a little-known Red Bank firm called Tradeworx.

In “humdrum” offices above the Restoration Hardware store on Broad Street, reporter New York Times Julie Crewell writes in a front-page story, “workers in their 20s and 30s in jeans and T-shirts quietly tend high-speed computers that typically buy and sell 80 million shares a day.”

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RETAILER REPORTS STRONG QUARTER

urban-outfitters-nov-2009Urban Outfitters opened a store in Red Bank last November.

The parent company of the Urban Outfitters store in downtown Red Bank says first fiscal quarter sales at the chain rose nine percent from the year-prior period.

Philly-based Urban Outfitters Inc. doesn’t break out sales by location, but said sales at the 157-store chain rose to $174.2 million.

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