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RED BANK: FINAL FADEOUT FOR GUITAR PLANT

Now being developed for townhomes, the lot between Catherine and River streets was once home to the Danelectro guitar factory. Below, a Danelectro with the distinctive “coke bottle” headstock. (Photo above by John T. Ward, below courtesy of Lorie Mouklas. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Without fanfare, a half-dozen factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side were leveled last month, making way for new homes.

Among the structures razed was one that deserves a final flick of the lighter from rock music fans. In the early days of rock ‘n roll, the building at 10 River Street churned out low-priced but distinctive-sounding electric guitars, some of which helped launch the careers of rock superstars such as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page.

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RED BANK: MASKS ADD FLAIR TO MAYOR’S BALL

Not everyone at the fourth annual Red Bank Mayor’s Ball wore masks, but there were plenty of attendees adding touches of lacy, sparkly and feathery mystique to event, held Friday night at the Oyster Point Hotel to raise funds for Holiday Express and the borough’s animal welfare efforts.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right, hosted. Among those honored were Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, who performed with the Atlantic Coast Band featuring the Shirleys, and Detour Gallery owner Kenny Schwartz, above right. 

See who you know in redbankgreen’s photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: MUMFORD DROPS PARKING BID

Developer Roger Mumford with a rendering of his proposal last June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of the two remaining private-sector contenders to redevelop Red Bank’s White Street parking lot has pulled out, citing frustration in dealing with the borough government.

In the process, he left behind a pair of smoking tire tracks.

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RED BANK: DEMS TO SEEK PARKING STUDY

Councilman Erik Yngstrom now heads the all-Democrat parking committee.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a post-election lull, Red Bank Democrats plan to bring in a parking consultant to offer guidance on how to fix parking issues downtown, Councilman Erik Yngstrom said Wednesday.

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RED BANK: SICKELS SENDOFF, H2O ON AGENDA

Stanley Sickels at a planning board meeting in 2013. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s most powerful unelected official is slated to get an official sendoff at the semimonthly council meeting Wednesday night.

Also on the agenda: the town’s heaviest water users would be subject to higher minimum charges under a measure slated for introduction.

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RED BANK: PARKING AGENDA IN TRANSITION

A builder may be chosen to redevelop the White Street lot this month, and a parking study could soon follow. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Amid recriminations and calls for a fresh start, Democrats began taking the wheel in the drive for a possible new parking structure in downtown Red Bank last week.

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RED BANK: NEW HISTORY IN FORTUNE HOUSE

Restoration work on the T. Thomas Fortune house is underway in conjunction with the construction of 31 apartments behind it, where an elevator tower is visible. Below, builder Roger Mumford shows off an original decorative corbel removed from just below the roof line of the house, and, in his left hand, a replica made from mahogany. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a decade-long effort to save it from the wrecking ball, Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune house is in the midst of a restoration that has served up some additional history.

Part of the Second Empire-style mansion on Drs. James Parker Boulevard may be much older than previously believed, says developer Roger Mumford, who is racing to conserve what he can of the structure even as it crumbles before his eyes.

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RED BANK: BUILDERS BALK AT ‘NET 500’

Roger Mumford unveiled a new version of his development plan, one that calls for a park along Maple Avenue between White and Monmouth streets, seen at right in the rendering above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two finalists vying for the right to redevelop Red Bank’s White Street parking lot both raised concerns about their ability to meet a non-negotiable condition set by downtown merchants: that a new garage add no fewer than 500 public parking spaces to the 273-already there.

Moreover, one of the builders insisted that a definitive study to determine the actual parking deficit downtown is needed, a claim that some business owners have dismissed as an unnecessary speed bump en route to what they contend is a decades-overdue parking solution.

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RED BANK: PARKING GETS TWO SPOTLIGHTS

An effort to redevelop Red Bank’s largest downtown parking lot — and, some would say, ensure the economic viability of the downtown as a whole — moves to a new stage Wednesday night.

Or, more precisely, it moves onto two stages.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR PARKING?

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot is slated for recission next week, but will have to be redone at some point, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now that Red Bank’s elected officials have agreed, unofficially, to restart a drive for a downtown parking solution, what happens next?

Two government meetings on one night, for starters.

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RED BANK: POLS PULL U-TURN ON PARKING

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot, outlined in red above, will be rescinded in an effort to end a lawsuit and address concerns about building size, borough officials said. (Image by Google Maps. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s search for a downtown parking solution took a U-turn Wednesday night, when the borough council put in motion a plan to derail a pending lawsuit by former councilwoman Cindy Burnham that members say has impeded progress.

In what was also described as a “compromise” between Republicans and Democrats over proposed building sizes , the council agreed to scrap a contentious nine-month-old redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot.

At the same time, it knocked out, without much explanation, three of the five developers vying to build a parking deck, and more, on the 2.3-acre site.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE HEARING SLATED

The council will hold a public forum on proposals for the White Street parking site later this month, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost six months after they were submitted and three months after they were the subject of hasty presentations, five proposed plans for the redevelopment of Red Bank’s main downtown parking lot will finally get a public hearing, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: BROWNSTONES PROJECT APPROVED

Mumford’s plan calls for the demolition of six existing structures, including the blocklong factory building at 9 Catherine Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank real estate developer Roger Mumford won plaudits Thursday night from neighbors — along with zoning board approval — for a 22-unit townhouse project on a West Side industrial tract.

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RED BANK: UP NEXT: MUMFORD TOWNHOUSES

A rendering of builder Roger Mumford’s proposed Brownstones at Red Bank project. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank real estate developer Roger Mumford is a busy man these days: restoring the National Historic Register T. Thomas Fortune house and adding 31 apartments to the Drs. James Parker Boulevard property; completing the 12-unit affordable housing project called Oakland Square at the corner of Oakland and West streets; and simultaneously vying for the right to redevelop what’s easily the hottest patch of asphalt in town — the borough-owned White Street parking lot.

Meantime, he’s got another project in the works, one slated to go before the zoning board for review Thursday night: a plan for townhouses on the footprint of old factory buildings just a stone’s throw from his West Side office.

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RED BANK: GARAGE BACKERS AIM AT LOGJAM

Roger Mumford, seen here in 2015, has offered a new plan for the White Street parking lot site that garage backers hope will dissolve political opposition to development. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of the five would-be builders of a downtown parking garage has told Red Bank officials he’s willing to build a 773-space parking garage on White Street in exchange for the right to erect 100 homes next door.

Garage advocates touted the informal proposal Wednesday night in the hopes of busting through a political logjam, one they believe has been erected by the three Democrats on the six-member borough council.

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RED BANK: HOMEBUILDER EYES FACTORIES

A cluster of industrial buildings between Catherine Street, above, and River Street would be razed for new brownstones, according to the prospective builder. Part of the site abuts the Cedar Crossing homes, seen in the distance above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A block of factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side, including some old millworks and a former guitar factory, could give way to new housing in coming months, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL SET FOR MAY 5

 Mayor Pasquale Menna is pictured at right, greeting Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson during the 2016 edition of the Mayor’s Charity Ball. The third annual event is scheduled for the evening of May 5 at the Oyster Point.

Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee

For the third year, Mayor Pasquale Menna will be hosting the annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for Friday, May 5 at The Oyster Point Hotel.

The event, which will be emceed by former Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr., will honor businesses, public agencies and individuals that include the Reverend Terrence Porter of Pilgrim Baptist Church (Humanitarian Award), Super Foodtown (Industry Award), the Red Bank Police Department (Historical Legacy Award), and Roger Mumford (Urban Development Award).

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ON THE GREEN: A FORTUNE IN HISTORIC VALUE

mumford fortune 072716 2The Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury hosts an exhibit about Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune House, seen here during a student tour in July. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 

Press release from T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee

The fourth annual T. Thomas Fortune Birthday Celebration (a fundraiser hosted recently at the Oyster Point Hotel under the title “Fortune . . . Telling the Truth”) kicked off a string of events to highlight the restoration of the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Landmark, into the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE’S GOOD FORTUNE

mumford fortune 072716 1Developer Roger Mumford leads high school journalism students on a tour of the Fortune House. Below, Mumford with preservationist Gilda Rogers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

gilda rogers roger mumford 072716

Less than a week after the Red Bank zoning board approved a plan to save it, the still-crumbling T. Thomas Fortune House offered a preview Wednesday of its anticipated role: as a cultural and educational center.

About a dozen high school students from around New Jersey took an exterior tour of the onetime home of pioneering civil rights journalist, who lived in it for a decade starting in 1901 and entertained the leading lights of black culture there. In the process, they also got a lesson in how the interests of preservationists and profit-minded developers might converge.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE RESCUE PLAN OK’D

ROGER MUMFORD 072116 1Developer Roger Mumford with an architect’s rendering of the T. Thomas Fortune house as it would appear after restoration. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

A decade-long effort to save an endangered artifact of African-American history cleared a major milestone Thursday night when the Red Bank zoning board approved a developer’s plan to rebuild the T. Thomas Fortune house and create 31 apartments on its one-acre property.

Borough-based homebuilder Roger Mumford, who vowed to restore and donate the house for use as a cultural center before he would seek certificates of occupancy for the apartments, was hailed as the last-chance savior of a vital relic of the civil rights movement that its current owners want to raze. Residents told the board before its vote that Mumford deserved the tradeoff of more than a dozen variances, most of them arising from the apartment plan.

“If a development project has ever given back to the community, it’s this one,” said Kalman Pipo, a member of the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission. “If this project doesn’t go through, we are going to lose this house” to the wrecking ball, he said.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE PLAN SCHEDULED

rb fortune house 100614 3Fortune future 062816Developer Roger Mumford‘s plan to save the dilapidated T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank faces its first test this week.

The proposal, which is backed by a volunteer group hoping to preserve the pioneering civil rights journalist’s home, calls for restoring the National Historic Register structure for use as a cultural center devoted to preserving African American history and serving as a resource for social justice initiatives. The plan, dubbed “Fortune Square,” also includes a 32-unit apartment building proposed for the rear of the property. Multiple variances are required.

The hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. Here’s the agenda: RBZB agenda 072116 (Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: BUILDER EYES FORTUNE HOUSE SITE

Fortune future 062816The home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune would be restored for use as a cultural center, as shown in the architectural rendering above. Below, four views of the four-story, 32-unit apartment building proposed for the rear of the property.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fortune square apartments 062816After years of efforts by volunteer historians to halt decades of decay, an historic Red Bank residence may be spared the wrecking ball.

Developer Roger Mumford has proposed restoring what he calls the “highly deteriorated” T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard and turning it into a cultural center.

Mumford’s plan comes with a catch: he wants the town to grant him a host of variances to construct 32 apartments on the site — more than twice the density allowed by zoning law. But he’s billing it as a win for all involved.

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RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL II DRAWS A CROWD

philipson menna 050616rb mayors ball 050616 12Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore

Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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