Red Hot Magazine January 2016

Page 21



he First Church of Christ, Scientist at 211 Broad Street in Red Bank has stood for decades. Its majestic steeple soars above its neighbors. In recent years, with a shrinking congregation, the church board contemplated a move to smaller quarters and the sale of the handsome brick structure. The congregation needed rescue and former Wall Street executive Bob Silver, president of The Bravitas Group, Montclair, was it. Working with business partner Jay Schweppe, Silver brought the church back to life as a 16,000 square foot boutique office complex, while providing a small sanctuary in the revitalization for the church congregation.

Since 2006, The Bravitas Group had converted eight historic Montclair structures into modern, customized offices, maintaining much of the architectural spine of the early 20th century buildings. The plan for the Red Bank property received strong endorsement from the town. Bravitas worked closely with borough officials to convert the building into a church and offices on property that had both commercial and residential zoning. "This was the first conversion outside of Montclair," Silver says, "and, like the others, we were able to go start to finish in two years.”


The project was completed meeting strict environmental standards that earned the building the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. “The building was re-insulated and thermal windows added in the rebuild,” Silver explains. “VOC free (volatile organic compounds) paint and adhesives were used in the conversion and the building's efficient heat exchange HVAC unit does the job for a paltry $1,600/month.”

In January, photographer Cate Scaglione signed the first office lease for her business, Life As Fine Art Photography & Spa, and commitments for the remaining twelve units sold out within sixty days. The building opened in August 2015. Each office unit is customized for the tenant to make the most use of space and the architectural heritage of the church. The offices are arranged on two levels and a 3,000 square foot addition above what was the church annex. Many of the Church's classic arched windows were salvaged and used as part of the decor and wood was recovered during conversion and turned into tables and other furnishings. Tenants have access to a conference room on the first floor and there are 90 on-site parking spaces. Silver says that he continues to look for suitable structures for conversion in Red Bank. "They must meet Bravitas criteria," he stresses, "which include close to downtown stores and restaurants, off-street parking, and a structure with classic lines that can be brought back to beautiful."

The Bravitas Group Robert Silver 973.783.8700

Developer Bob Silver with tenant Ken Lindemann, Denali


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