RED BANK: WALGREENS NEIGHBORS SEEK HELP

rb walgreens 072315 1Area residents say they’re concerned about the impact of a new Walgreens on local road safety. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Motorists using a shortcut along the Red Bank-Little Silver border may have to find another workaround to congestion soon.

But not quite as soon as area residents had hoped. The Red Bank council tapped the brakes on itself Wednesday night, when two neighbors of a Walgreens store now under construction said a planned order for new stop signs didn’t go far enough.

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RED BANK: CLASSIC RASSAS SIGN RESCUED

rassas sign 091714 2 rassas sign 091714 3A bit banged up but salvageable, one of the classic neon Rassas Buick signs in Red Bank seen below in 2013 – was saved from the bulldozer Wednesday by restoration aficionado John Oakley of Fantastic Signs. Oakley credits Pete Esposito and crew from Esposito Construction with “going above and beyond” to get the sign down intact. Now, restoration of the open-face letter channel sign “will make a nice winter project,” said Oakley, whose Shrewsbury Avenue shop has become something of a museum of local signage. redbankgreen will let readers know when it’s done.

The former Rassas auto dealership was torn down this week to make way for a new Walgreens pharmacy. (Photo above and right by John Oakley. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: WALGREENS BEGINS RX WORK

rb walgreens 091514Rcsm2_010508Contrary to speculation in a redbankgreen article back in March, when we reported that Walgreens was “reviewing” whether to go ahead with its controversial plan for a Red Bank store, the pharmacy giant is… going ahead with its plan for a Red Bank store.

Demolition began Monday on the former Rassas Buick showroom at 395 Broad Street, opposite the SuperFoodtown market. Monmouth County records show that Aaron Rassas sold the longtime home of his family auto dealership to a company affiliated with Walgreens’ developer Mark Development on July 31 for $3.35 million. Information about the store’s expected opening date was not immediately available.

Rassas Pontiac, which opened at 21 Mechanic Street in 1930, relocated to the Broad Street site in 1949 and operated there continuously until it shut down in early 2013. There’s some more history here. (Photo by Michael McMahon. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WALGREEN’S PLANS OPEN HOUSE

aaron rassas 041013Aaron Rassas, seen at his car dealership shortly before it closed in April, wants the public to examine plans for a Walgreen’s on the site. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Seeking to reverse a tide of opposition, the owner of the Red Bank property slated for a giant Walgreen’s pharmacy is inviting the public to come kick the tires on the plan.

Aaron Rassas, owner of the now-closed Rassas’ Buick – and before that, Pontiac – is inviting neighbors and the public in general to an open house September 10 to inspect plans for the former dealership’s one-acre lot, and to meet the developer behind them.
The parcel, at 395 Broad Street,  is under contract to developer Mark Steinberg, who plans to build a 14,200-square-foot Walgreens on it.

NEIGHBORS OPPOSING RED BANK WALGREEN’S

Melissa Grieves, seated at right, addresses neighbors concerned about the planned redevelopment of the former Rassas car lot, below, into a mega-drugstore.  (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A proposed Walgreen’s drugstore on Broad Street in Red Bank would be a bitter pill, say nearby homeowners, who’ve begun to organize for a fight.

About 30 residents of the quiet neighborhood between Pinckney Road and Rumson Place gathered in a Little Silver backyard over coffee Saturday morning to strategize a response to the proposed mega-pharmacy, at the site of the recently-closed Rassas auto dealership.

“I was stunned and extremely concerned,” organizer Melissa Grieves of Salem Place said in an email to redbankgreen. “As a neighborhood, we are concerned about not only our property values, but also the potential for additional car traffic through our quiet streets, as well as lighting and noise concerns, amongst other issues.”

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S EYES RASSAS LOT

The plan calls for access from Broad Street in both directions, as well as from Garfield Place. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Just a month after ending its long run as a car dealership, a gateway property to Red Bank could become a Walgreen’s drugstore.

The former home of Rassas Pontiac/Buick, which closed in April after 83 years in Red Bank, and 64 years at the southernmost address on Broad Street, would become a giant personal-care products emporium, complete with a drive-thru window, according to documents filed with the borough planning office Wednesday.

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RED BANK: AFTER 83 YEARS, RASSAS TO CLOSE

Aaron Rassas outside his Red Bank auto dealership. Below, the original location, at 21 Mechanic Street, in 1934. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Born in the Great Depression, and illuminated in recent decades by a bold ribbon of neon signage at a gateway to Red Bank, Rassas Pontiac both rode and symbolized the ever-rising fortunes of postwar America.

Round-shouldered sedans and coupes once crammed its showroom. Then muscle cars. Minivans. SUVs.

But now, the auto giants are in retrenchment. A few years back, General Motors scrapped the Pontiac line, leaving Rassas to switch over to Buick. Few car dealers can survive selling Buicks alone, said business owner Aaron Rassas: his is one of only two such shops in all of New Jersey, and 30 nationwide. But he failed in his efforts to land a second brand, as GM tries to right-size markets it considers overfranchised.

With that, and the approach of his 70th birthday, Rassas has decided to shut off the engine.

On April 26, after 83 years of selling new and used cars in Red Bank, Rassas Buick will go out of business.

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