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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ANOTHER COURTYARDS PLAN WINS VARIANCES

light-mass-marks-070110As Ray Mass (background) and Deborah Marks listened, zoning board member Vincent Light details his objection to granting variances for the proposed Courtyards at Monmouth housing project, below. (Click to enlarge) courtyards-at-monmouth

Less than a year after a new zone was created at Red Bank’s train station to encourage a mix of high-density housing and retail activity, the borough zoning board last night greenlighted a plan that could put even greater density, but no stores, on a vacant Monmouth Street lot.

The move, on a 5-2 vote, was driven by a desire to see something built on a lot frequently described as an eyesore and the belief that adding retail space in a town with numerous store vacancies was the wrong way to go, said board members who favored he plan.

“Yes, it’s a very dense project,” said board chair Lauren Nicosia. “But this is a property that hasn’t been developed and that Red Bank needs to be developed.”

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FAIR HAVEN HOUSING PLAN DRAWS BACKLASH

senior-housing1Developer Kevin Hughes, right, watches Fair Haven’s council meeting as neighbors voiced complaints over his proposal to add age-restricted housing in town. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s facing kind of a conundrum, says Mayor Mike Halfacre, of the Fair Haven council’s role in weighing an informal proposal for age-restricted housing in the borough.

On the one hand, the council has been asked to create an overlay district to allow higher densities in a neighborhood just off River Road, a move that might in turn fill a longtime need in town for more housing for the borough’s senior population.

But doing so carries the potential of leaving a bad taste in the mouths of neighbors.

Even though the proposal from builder Kevin Hughes is in what Halfacre called “step A, minus one,” some neighbors are already hoping to derail it. At a Tuesday morning meeting specifically relocated to the borough’s youth and senior center in order to accommodate the older population, area residents obliged with a solid half-hour of bristling to the council.

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LITTLE PROJECT, BIG IMPACT, BUILDER SAYS

roger-mumfordRoger Mumford has plans that he says will transform part of the West Side. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

On the corner of Bridge Avenue and Cedar Street sits a tan-colored, nondescript building that, if not for a couple of cars parked in the lot, could easily be mistaken for another one of Red Bank’s vacant spaces.

With just a couple of windows and minimal signage, 247 Bridge doesn’t at all look like the nerve center of an operation that might spark a transformation of the rundown area that adjoins it.

But Roger Mumford, a 54-year-old home builder who commands the happenings inside the office, has big plans for the stretch of Bridge from Cedar to Drs. James Parker Boulevard. The Little Silver resident has approvals to knock down four existing homes, plus a corner bodega, and rebuild the site from the ground up with a new bodega and five luxury homes.

You read that right. Luxury homes.

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PLAN TO TRANSFORM WEST SIDE BLOCK OK’D

lincoln-sq-050610Roger Mumford discusses his plan at Thursday’s zoning board hearing. Below, a view of the homes to be built along the east side of Bridge Avenue; the current site of a bodega on the corner of Drs. Parker Boulevard is at right. (Click to enlarge)

A sweeping plan to overhaul one of Red Bank’s most dilapidated blocks won approval from the borough zoning board Thursday night.

Builder Roger Mumford’s plan calls for bulldozing four run-down houses on Bridge Avenue between Cedar Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, plus a corner bodega.

In their place, and stretching east along Parker to the existing Bergen Square condo complex, will come five spanking-new luxury residences — and a new corner storefront that may house the same bodega, assuming the tenant wants to return, Mumford says.

“Bridge Avenue is a great place,” he tells redbankgreen, noting the presence of the Two River Theater, the Galleria at Red Bank and other attractions nearby. “Now, more of Bridge Avenue is going to be part of that excitement.”

bridgeave-050710

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ATRIUM GETS A LOT

doris-crissonAtrium resident Doris Crisson, 88, speaks in favor of the valet-parking plan at last night’s hearing. (Click to enlarge)

For the second time in four years, one of Red Bank’s more prominent blights — a triangular, asphalted lot at the fork of West Front Street and Riverside Avenue — has won a makeover.

The first, in 2005, called for an office building to be erected on the site. That never happened. Last night, the borough zoning board greenlighted a new plan to turn the one-acre property into a spruced-up valet-only parking lot to service the Atrium at Navesink Harbor , a luxury senior-citizens’ high-rise and an addition on the opposite side of Riverside Avenue.

The unanimous approval, after a three-hour hearing, was granted over the objections of Sean Byrnes, an attorney for the condo association at the neighboring Riverside Towers high rise. He argued that the Atrium’s owner, PHS Senior Living of Princeton, had underestimated the demand for parking from the site, which he said would add to rush-hour traffic that already rates a failing grade.

“It sounds like a great place to live, but I think they’re bringing their cars,” Byrnes said of the residents. “That lot is going to be a busy place.”

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COUNCIL UNANIMOUS ON DENSITY CHANGES

sen-beckState Senator Jennifer Beck returned to borough hall in a failed bid to halt higher building densities.

Wrapping up more than 18 months of Master Plan review, the Red Bank council Monday night approved the last of a series of zoning changes focused on encouraging multifamily residential development around the train station.

The unanimous OK by the all-Democrat body, with one member absent, came despite an unusual plea for reconsideration from a former council member, state Sen. Jennifer Beck, a 12th-district Republican who still lives in the borough.

“The proposal before you tonight goes against the character of Red Bank,” Beck told the council. Estimating that the new rules could result in up to 600 new residents in a six-square-block area, she added: “I’m not sure the infrastructure is in place, or existing residents are prepared to deal with, that kind of increase.”

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MANSION-TO-OFFICE PLAN OK’D IN SQUEAKER

28-leroyNew owner Charlie McCague says he spent $50,000 to restore the slate-and-copper roof of the structure and will preserve the clapboard exterior and interior layout.

After a vote that sharply divided the borough planning board, one of Red Bank’s most distinctive old mansions is going commercial.

The century-old Victorian at 28 LeRoy Place is to become an accountant’s office after a vote on the conversion split the board 5-4 Monday night.

Those in favor cited the fact that the structure is in a professional office zone and argued it would serve as a buffer between nearby homes and the “abomination” of the former Sun Bank at the corner of LeRoy and Broad Street.

Those opposed said they were concerned about “creeping commercialism” and a “domino effect” leading to other homes on Leroy being turned into offices on the strength of an approval.

“No,” said Councilwoman Sharon Lee, when called on to vote. “It constitutes an assault on our historic homes.”

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CAN DOCTORS SAVE THIS BUILDING?

UnionhousevillageComing soon, maybe, to the still-vacant Union Street Village: plastic surgeons.

Unable to get even a nibble for its retail space, the owner of Union Street Village last night sought, and obtained, a change allowing medical offices on the ground floor.

The Red Bank Planning Board approved a site plan change clearing professional or medical use of the  space, at the corner of Union Street and Wharf Avenue, provided the bank that owns the building kick $12,500 into the borough parking fund to offset a five-space deficiency.

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THIRD TIME’S A CHARM ON MONMOUTH STREET

siros-monmouthStreet-level stores with 12 apartments above and parking underground will replace a longtime service station at Monmouth and Pearl streets.

After repeated tries, a scaled-back plan to replace a former auto service center at the corner of Monmouth and Pearl streets has cleared a major hurdle.

The Red Bank zoning board last night unanimously approved a pair of variances that could lead to the construction of a multi-use retail and residential structure on the site, most recently the home of Circles Skate Shop.

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