RED BANK: ANTIQUES BUILDING SOLD

The home of Riverbank Antiques, as seen in 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s antiques district, which took a big hit six years ago, is about to shrink some more.

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RED BANK: HIGH-END ANTIQUES SHOP DEBUTS

stillwell 042315 2Paul Gallagher, left, and Ron Knox in their new art and antiques shop, which opens Friday.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s arts and antiques district took a serious hit  with the closing of Monmouth Antique Shoppes to make way for the West Side Lofts residences at the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue three years ago.

Yes, many of the dealers who shared the collective’s space found refuge in the Gizzi family’s Riverbank Antiques just down the street, and the umbrella business found a new home in Asbury Park. But the optics, as they say, were less than ideal. The demolition of the building gouged a huge hole in the district, which for years had thrived in part on the ability of shoppers to stroll from one sprawling emporium to another.

But the change created opportunity, the first fruit of which is detailed in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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FAIR HAVEN: ROBBER GETS NINE YEARS

A 69-year-old Staten Island man who admitted robbing a Fair Haven antiques store at gunpoint last summer has been sentenced to 114 months in prison, federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

Robert Fiolka, who wore a “flesh-colored” mask and toted a gun in the June, 2012 robbery of Blue Stove Antiques on River Road, made off with $200,000 in jewelry, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

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FAIR HAVEN: 69-YEAR-OLD COPS TO ROBBERY

Blue Stove Antiques was robbed at gunpoint last June 2, with some $200,000 in jewelry and other valuables taken. (Click to enlarge)

A 69-year-old man admitted robbing Blue Stove Antiques in Fair Haven at gunpoint last June, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Robert A. Fiolka, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton to an Information charging him with Hobbs Act robbery and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

He faces up to life in prison at sentencing, scheduled for July 11.

As reported by redbankgreen, Fiolka was also linked to three other robberies dating back to 2007, according to the FBI. Those cases were not mentioned, however, in the announcement of Fiolka’s plea by U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman.

Nor were Fiolka’s priors, which included a 1967 armed robbery of a bank in Matawan in which a bank employee was taken hostage, redbankgreen has confirmed.

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ON DECK IN RED BANK

A welder prepares for the placement of a precast concrete panel at the parking deck under assembly at the site of the MW West Side Lofts project on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank Tuesday morning.

When finished, the complex, which is to surround Danny’s Steakhouse on three sides, is to include 92 luxury residences, artists’ workspaces, shops and a Triumph Brewing Company restaurant. (Click to enlarge)

FBI LINKS HEIST SUSPECT TO ROBBERY STRING

Blue Stove Antiques was robbed at gunpoint in early June by a man authorities have linked to armed robberies of New Jersey jewelry stores going back half a decade. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A 68-year-old Staten Island man accused of robbing a Fair Haven antiques store at gunpoint in June has been linked to three jewelry store robberies dating back to 2007, the FBI says.

And just days before his arrest, the suspect appeared to be casing one of those stores for a second try, the FBI suggests in a document filed in the case.

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HISTORY DAY: CENTENNIAL AND ANTIQUES

The crew from Paul Davis Partywares in Shrewsbury setting up the tent and tables at Fair Haven Fields Thursday for Saturday’s celebration of the town’s centennial. Below, Riverbank Antiques in Red Bank, which will host an open house. (Click to enlarge)

After the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank Saturday morning, there’s plenty for locals and visitors to do hereabouts on the Green. And the weatherbot says Mother Nature will cooperate, providing ample sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s.

Here are two diversions, one indoors, and one out, both steeped in the richness of the past: Fair Haven’s Centennial, and a celebration of the reconstituted Red Bank Antiques district.

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ARMED ROBBER HITS FAIR HAVEN SHOP

By JOHN T. WARD

The owner of a Fair Haven antiques shop was held up at gunpoint by a robber who fled with the contents of a safe, police reported Saturday evening.

Here’s an announcement sent out by the FHPD at 5:18 p.m.:
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AGOSTINO, T. BERRY SQUARE PACKING IT IN

Agostino Antique’s home, at 21 Broad, is expected to have a new owner soon. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Downtown Red Bank’s economic recovery is not without its setbacks, as evidenced by two imminent departures from Broad Street.

After months of advertising a clearance sale, Agostino Antiques is planning to pack up its remaining merchandise in the next couple of weeks and shut its doors by the end of June, a principal in the company tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Just two blocks to the south, Jennifer Quinn Payne is winding down her children’s clothing and furnishings store , T. Berry Square, to devote herself to motherhood.

Meanwhile, two doors away from T. Berry, and under the same roof, Hip & Humble Home has a for-lease sign in the window, but they’re not talking.

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TRIO LOADS UP ON ANTIQUES AND FLEES

The crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of February 17 to February 24, 2012. This information is unedited.

Theft occurring between 2-17-12 and 2-18-12 at English Plaza parking lot.  Unknown subjects stole drivers side view mirror from parked vehicle.  Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

Criminal Mischief occurring on 2-18-12 at  Spring St.  Victim reported that unknown person(s) broke her side view mirror on parked vehicle.  Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

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LOFTS PROJECT SEEKS PARKING REDUCTION

ws-lofts-081811A view of the proposed West Side Lofts, at the southeast corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue. Project principal Chris Cole, center below, speaks with Red Bank Antiques Center owner Guy Johnson during a break in the hearing. (Click to enlarge)

cole-johnson-081811After five dormant years, a plan for a massive mixed-use development on Red Bank’s West Side is back, slightly scaled down and headed for a possible tangle over parking.

Dubbed MW West Side Lofts, the project is slated to include 92 luxury rental apartments, street-level retail, live-and-work artists’ spaces, a parking garage and a Triumph Brewing Company restaurant – all configured in a horseshoe around Danny’s Grill & Wine Bar, at Bridge Avenue and West Front Street.

Approved by the borough zoning board in 2006, the plan was back before the board Thursday night over proposed changes that would raise the height of the five-story structure cut down the size of the pub. But it would also eliminate 51 parking spaces, raising early concerns among board members.

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LOFTS PLAN RETURNS, TRIMMED A SMIDGEN

antiquesThe proposed West Side Lofts development, at the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue, is again moving forward. Below, architectural drawings. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

west-side-lofts-sketchDevelopers are blowing the dust off an ambitious plan that would bring retail, residential units and a popular brewery to the Red Bank’s antiques district.

Known as West Side Lofts, the multi-use project has been downsized a bit and resubmitted to the borough’s planning and zoning office for approval.

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WEST SIDERS GETTING SOME OVERDUE TLC

danny-murphyDanny Murphy, outside his Bridge Avenue restaurant, is leading an effort to boost the Arts & Antiques District’s profile.

For years, a cluster of businesses west of Red Bank’s downtown has felt like a neglected stepchild.

That was supposed to change with the inclusion three years ago of a portion of the West Side in the special improvement district managed by Red Bank RiverCenter, the quasi-governmental entity that collects a tax on commercial properties and uses the money to spruce up and market the covered area.

The love has been slow to materialize, though. So business owners led by longtime restaurateur and nostalgia maven Danny Murphy have banded together to do the squeaky-wheel thing. And already, they’re starting to get some grease.

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