Search Results for: hovnanian enterprises

MENNA: ‘DARN CLOSE’ TO GARAGE FIX

MennaMayor Pasquale Menna speaks as RiverCenter executive director Nancy Adams looks on.

Through all the reports that things are worse elsewhere and exhortations that merchants find “opportunity” in the current recession, the topic that the 300 or so people who attended Tuesday night’s ‘economic summit‘ on Red Bank’s commercial woes most wanted addressed, apparently, was parking.

Mayor Pasquale Menna came through, first with an announcement that parking at metered spaces would be free on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of 2009, and then with hints that the parking garage many merchants have clamored for may move back onto the town’s agenda after several years’ absence.

His past opposition to a parking deck at the site of the White Street municipal lot, he says, has always been based on this insistence that it not be paid for by taxpayers, and that it be “self sustaining.”

Now, he says, “I believe we’re pretty darn close to a number of different scenarios which will alleviate those concerns,” he said to applause near the end of the two-hour event at the Count Basie Theatre.

Menna’s comments followed an emphatic “yes” from Jerry Zaro, chief of the state Office of Economic Growth,  when asked if such a garage might qualify for federal or state stimulus funds.

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LOT PRESERVATION EFFORT SAILS AHEAD

SicilianoEmployees of Siciliano Landscape prepare the Maple Avenue lot for grass seed Wednesday.

Just nine months ago, a quarter-acre parcel of Red Bank-owned land on the Navesink River appeared headed toward the auction block to provide cash for tax relief.

Cindy Burnham of Fair Haven led a protest movement that stopped the effort cold, arguing that the lot, at the foot of Maple Avenue, was the only place in town where someone could easily touch the water.

Then she set out to preserve the property from future development and have it turned into a launch area for canoeists and kayakers, as well as a nature area.

The problem, though, was that several decades worth of building debris had been dumped on the site, leaving a large mound that blocked the view of the river to anyone standing in the disused municipal parking lot on the parcel.

One might have been forgiven for thinking that Burnham had just embarked on a long, bureaucratic journey, one requiring a slog through the arcane wilds of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

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GARAGE TO OPEN TO PUBLIC OFF-HOURS

Img_5461The garage adjoins the mostly empty Red Bank Corporate Plaza on West Front Street.

Fulfilling the terms of a five-year-old deal with the borough government, the owner of the Red Bank Corporate Plaza will make the parking garage at the facility available to the public during off hours, for a fee.

The deal was formalized by the Red Bank council Monday night. Mack-Cali Corp. of Edison owns the site.

Though the lot won’t be open during regular business hours, Mayor Pasquale Menna said the move will open up about 150 parking spots “for what is a peak period” when the Count Basie Theatre holds major events.

He said theater patrons would be directed to the facility to reduce the number of cars trolling nearby residential neighborhoods in search of street parking.

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SICKELS: MONEY’S THERE FOR BOAT RAMP

Img_5198Cindy Burnham checks out a tax map at the foot of Maple Avenue prior to last night’s council meeting.

Despite protests from boaters, environmentalists and others, Red Bank officials have not ruled out a proposal to sell one of the town’s last points of direct access to the the Navesink River.

Mayor Pasquale Menna appeared to backpedal a bit from his proposal of last month, telling an audience at last night’s bimonthly council meeting that no firm decision to sell the riparian parcel has been made.

While citing a need to patch a gaping hole in the pending budget, Menna said “there’s no action pending” on the Maple Avenue parcel. Though an appraiser has been hired to establish a market value for the site, “whether we [sell] it or not — different story,” he said.

But opponents to a sale have mobilized to save the tiny lot — 57-foot-wide stretch of overgrown riverbank on the east side of the Maple Avenue cul-de-sac that’s now home to a crumbling, little-used parking lot. And their effort could take a fresh turn with word that there’s $210,000 sitting in an account just waiting to be used by Red Bank to provide public access to the Navesink River.

And it’s been there for more than 15 years.

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BORO LOT, W/ RIV VU, MAY GO ON BLOCK

Img_4241Img_4253Two views of the disused borough parking lot at the foot of Maple Avenue that may come up for sale this year. Click to enlarge images.

Hoping to trim a proposed budget that would otherwise sock property owners with a 20-percent tax increase, Red Bank officials have hired an appraiser to set a value on a primo piece of borough-owned land, redbankgreen has learned.

The hiring of Peter Sockler could mean that the property, at the foot of Maple Avenue, will go on the market this year, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Because it’s a buildable lot with an unimpeded, panoramic view of the Navesink River, “it’s a very desirable property,” says Menna. “Where else are you going to get that kind of view?”

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ZONERS: CHUBBY’S NEEDS PARKING PLAN

RenderingAn architect’s rendering of The Bank, the proposed sports bar on the present site of Chubby’s.

A Zoning Board hearing on the proposal to raze Chubby’s Waterside Café and replace it with a new sports bar and restaurant catering to family events such as baby showers ended last night without a decision.

The sticking point: parking.

Michael Gilson, the owner of Chubby’s, says his proposed two-story restaurant topped by a pair of apartments covering two more floors wouldn’t increase the footprint of the present building, at 26 West Front Street, and would only marginally increase the parking demand.

He also came in with something that pleasantly surprised at least one member of the board: a letter from the manager of the Globe Court Garage, owned by Riverview Medical Center, saying that the garage has between 200 and 350 empty spaces his customers could use beginning in mid-afternoons most days.

The garage is about 600 feet from Chubby’s, a parking consultant hired by Gilson told the board. Gilson himself said that’s closer to his property than the White Street municipal lot, which twice in the past has been the proposed location for a borough parking garage.

Still, the board wanted more — more parking options, more solid commitments.

“I’d like to see something firmer with Riverview guaranteeing a number of spaces” for patrons of the The Bank, as Gilson’s new eatery would be called, board member Kevin Moss said.

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RUSSIAN CONGREGATION IN COMEBACK

Img_1834St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church on Pearl Street.

By TOM CHESEK

At 1p tomorrow, one of Red Bank’s best-kept cultural secrets is scheduled to step into public view, bringing with it a millenium of tradition.

A procession of worshippers and local dignitaries led by the the Very Reverend Archpriest Serge Lukianov will leave St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church at 15 Pearl Street carrying brilliant banners and icons. They’ll file past the Rite Aid and Dunkin’ Donuts, cross West Front Street past the crisply corporate Hovnanian Enterprises headquarters to the foot of Maple Avenue for a blessing of the waters ceremony that will culminate with the release of white doves over the Navesink.

The rite is an integral part of the Orthodox observance of the Feast of the Epiphany each January 19, commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, as well as the appearance of the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

For Lukianov and his congregation, however, the occasion also marks something of a rebirth; a re-entry into the mainstream of a 53-year-old community that had all but dwindled into extinction as recently as a year ago.

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DEWEY DECIMAL’S NEW DIGS

Newlibrary2_ir

From beneath layers of paint and grime, a century-and-a-half-old mansion is emerging, soon to be open to the public for the first time in a generation.

OK, the ‘soon’ part is relative, given that the project is a couple of months behind schedule. But Debbie Griffin-Sadel, director of the Red Bank Public Library, believes that the restoration and update of the facility will be completed by October at the latest, and will be worth the wait.

redbankgreen got an exclusive preview recently, and it certainly raised our expectations.

Among the highlights: the ornately trimmed former Eisner family living room that spans the first floor on the West Front Street side of the building. Lushly finished in Victorian paneling and trim, plaster ceiling cartouches and bold wood flooring, the room is a trip back in time, albeit in this case only to the 1920s, when it was added to the circa 1850s mansion.

Slated to become the ‘Eisner New Jersey Room,’ housing a collection of materials about the state and the borough, it’s a space that hasn’t been open to the general public since the late 1960s, said Griffin-Sadel.

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LIBRARY REOPENING? TWO DOORS DOWN

Libraryredo

Last time we checked, the overdue Red Bank Public Library renovations were expected to be completed this month or next, following weather-related delays over the winter.

Last night, the borough council approved the opening of a temporary storefront two doors away, at the corner of West Front Street and Maple Avenue, where library patrons will be able to pick up books they’ve arranged to borrow and ask research questions.

The space is being donated by Hovnanian Enterprises and is expected to be up and running “certainly by a week from tonight,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

No mention was made during the council’s session of when the library itself would reopen. It turns out the expectation is now that will occur in July.

And the reason for the delay? It’s what happens when you renovate old buildings, Menna and Council President Sharon Lee said after the meeting.

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RIVERCENTER PHASE II OK’D

Red Bank officials last night officially added dozens of West Side businesses to the roster of the 16-year-old Special Improvement District, an entity widely credited with having sparked a renaissance of the once-ailing downtown.

Boro_map1b

The expansion of the district, which is managed by the non-profit Red Bank RiverCenter, attracted more acute opposition last night than a presentation on the issue did in November. But the endorsements of the plan were at least as emphatic as they were three months ago.

“We desperately need it on our side of town,” said Danny Murphy, owner of Danny’s Steakhouse on Bridge Avenue. “It’s time for our side of town to become one with the rest of the town.” (Click map on right to view larger image.)

The expansion, approved by a 5-1 vote, with Councilman John Curley casting the lone “no” vote, marks a partial vindication of business owners and public officials who approved a townwide SID in 1991, only to have that plan successfully challenged in court, leading to its curtailment.

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RESIDENTS DEMAND RELIEF ON TAXES

The Southies got the crowd they wanted—and the startled attention of Red Bank’s governing body—as an overflow throng descended on the Borough Council Monday night to demand a halt to rising property taxes.

Townmeeting1_2

Responding to a recent leafletting campaign launched by South Street homeowners, residents packed the council chambers, catching elected officials off guard both with their numbers and with their calls for an end to tax hikes.

“I obviously didn’t know we were going to have this many people here,” Mayor Ed McKenna said near the outset of the meeting, a remark that was echoed by two council members.

“We’re here to tell you we’re hurting,” rally organizer Marta Rambaud told the council. “We need to change the trend. We’re hurting and we need help. That help has to come from you, or we’ll have to move away.”

By the end of the nearly two-hour session, the audience had been treated to an emotional call by McKenna for respect he said was due him for “over one thousand nights of my life” spent attending public meetings; yet another volatile exchange between McKenna, who is not seeking re-election, and mayoral candidate John Curley; and a Leighton Avenue resident’s Vaudevillian re-enactment of his encounter with a topless prostitute as he retrieved his morning newspaper recently.

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THE END OF AN OASIS

Shrewsbury1_1

Say goodbye to another Red Bank landmark.

Shrewsbury Manor, an idyllic cluster of 59 apartments located next door to the Molly Pitcher Inn, is gradually being cleared out and will fall to the bulldozer sometime after the last tenants have departed in late 2007, redbankgreen has learned.

Samantha Bowers, vice president of Philip J. Bowers & Co., the family-owned real estate development firm that built Shrewsbury Manor 60 years ago and still owns it, yesterday confirmed that the buildings will be razed.

Because of their age, the two-story, red brick structures “require an extraordinary amount of maintenance,” said Bowers. “The buildings have reached the end of their useful life, and so this is, unfortunately, what we have to do. It’s time to redevelop the property.”

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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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KABOOM NEEDS BIG BUCKS, BUT WILL GO ON

kaboom-riversideContributions on the day of the show put the 2009 KaBoom fireworks barely into the black, but this year’s edition needs more public support, organizers say. (Click to enlarge)

Independence Day fireworks in Jersey City, Chicago and other major cities have already been canceled, and may yet be doused in Montclair, Bloomfield and elsewhere.

But Red Bank’s KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink display, one of the nation’s largest and most elaborate, will light up the sky as scheduled, weather permitting, organizers insist.

Like relatives of Johnny Jazz, however, they find themselves fighting persistent rumors of the event’s demise.

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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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HOV HIT WITH $1 MILLION IN FINES

hov-hq-8-12-06Hovnanian’s headquarters, at the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises has agreed to pay $1 million for violations of federal Clean Water Act rules at 591 construction sites across the country, according to a federal Justice Department announcement.

The payment settles civil accusations that the company failed to obtain necessary permits before beginning construction or not getting them at all in 18 states and in Washington, D.C.

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