White St. lot debated

White St. lot debated

The question of whether, and how, the White Street Municipal Parking Lot should be developed is one being widely discussed in Red Bank since a developer’s proposal for the borough-owned lot became public.

Business owners weighing in on a proposal floated by Kalian Cos. to develop the 2.29-acre lot as a "city block" with residential, retail and parking spaces, are of different minds.

Red Bank RiverCenter, the business/municipal alliance that manages the downtown shopping district, is taking a strong stand on future development of the lot, which provides the bulk of public parking spots.

"The plan was aesthetically beautiful but had a lot of shortcomings in terms of what we anticipated we would need for parking," said Tricia Rumola, executive director of RiverCenter.

Rumola said parking demand for the proposal’s 104 condo units and retail spaces would not have left enough spaces for public parking.

"We felt it was not adequate to solve the more than 1,000 spot deficiency we estimate from a survey of the business community," she said.

If the lot is developed, RiverCenter will hold out for 500 net spaces, she added.

Business owners have differing opinions on the proposal, which Kalian officials said they were taking back to the drawing board.

Some, like David Levine, who operates a salon on Monmouth Street, said they would welcome the garage without the retail space, which is seen as more competition.

"I think it’s a great idea, including the retail," Tim Allen, who owns Face FX on White Street. "Competition is good. Anything that increases parking will help."

"I love the idea of the garage, and I love the idea of the retail. Here’s the problem: we’re asking for more parking not less," noted Arlene Placer of Hobbymasters who thinks the condo units will each take up two spaces.

Rumola said the interests of the business community are directly tied to the future use of the municipal lot.

"We feel the White Street lot is our last chance at a true parking solution. A garage is very necessary, but the proposal that’s presented is not the right one."