MANALAPAN – A new kitchen and bath showroom is coming to 330 Route 9 North after it was unanimously approved in a contentious three-hour Manalapan planning board meeting.
The showroom, which will be located next to Himalayan Salt Cave Spa and Float, will replace Planet Dry Clean.
The new business, called Manalapan Kitchen and Bath, is owned by Pikria Basaria of Marlboro. Basaria said the store is intended to be a place where clients and designers can look at samples for their remodeling projects.
The three-store strip mall in which the showroom will be located has had a rotation of tenant store owners.
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Stuart Moskovitz, attorney for Stacar Properties of NJ, which owns the strip mall, acknowledged that “the property has problems” and said he himself had represented three previous store owners before the board.
Moskovitz argued that the showroom will not “increase any of the problems with the property.” He noted that the strip mall has fewer parking spaces than the town requires, but said parking will not be an issue because the showroom is expected to generate less foot traffic than the dry-cleaning business.
According to an engineering report by Jennifer Beahm, the township’s planner, a total of 44 parking spaces should be allotted to a strip mall of that size, and the showroom should have 24 of them. She noted that in 2017, the planning board required 10 spaces within the strip mall be designated for the former drycleaner.
The strip mall only has 21 spaces total, according to Rianna Kirchhof, engineer for the developer. Moskovitz said the 44 parking spaces was “not going to happen.”
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Basaria, whose husband works in the construction industry, said she does not anticipate more than five parking spaces to be used at a given time. She said she plans on seeing clients and designers on an appointment basis. She said the store was open to the public and she would only require appointments from walk-ins if the store got too busy.
Beahm argued that the applicant was underestimating the number of walk-ins the site could generate.
Board member John Castronovo said, “Parking is a problem. … If it’s a showroom and there’s various types of kitchen styles and bathrooms, than I would think you would want an influx of people just coming in and looking.”
Basaria cited her and her husband’s experience with showrooms across the state. She said it was “not the type of store that a lot of foot traffic comes in.”
She said clients usually contact and contractor before making a trip to a showroom to speak with a designer.
Basaria said she intends for the store to open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., five or six days a week.
The planning board approved the application 8-0.
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After the vote, board member Jack McNaboe addressed Moskovitz and Carter Troyan, owner of the strip mall.
“This is something. We’re paying for sins of 50 years ago. This board has really worked with you to get tenants into this building,” McNaboe said. “And I said this the last time, and I’m saying it again. This has to be the end. We can’t see you every year or two. So, in other words, make this work. We have work to get this building to be something to be proud of in town. Please make that happen.”
Olivia Liu is a reporter covering transportation, Red Bank and western Monmouth County. She can be reached at [email protected]