Only a few months after shutting the doors of Freddie’s Tavern, restaurant owner Bud Patel will appear before the Ewing Planning Board with a plan that calls for tearing down the building.
Replacing it would be a mixed-use complex with a small amount of commercial space and 59 apartments—19 more than a plan for the property that was heard by the planning board last year and ultimately withdrawn.
In late June, Patel said he was temporarily closing the restaurant for a few weeks for renovations. Two weeks later he changed course, issuing a statement on Facebook that he was shutting down for good and focusing on redeveloping the tract.
The planning board hearing is set for Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Ewing municipal building.
According to a notice mailed by the developer to residents adjacent to the property, the plan calls for the “removal of the existing restaurant facility” and replacing it with two new buildings.
The first is a commercial/residential building with 3,300 square feet of first-floor commercial space. Above that would be 24 two-bedroom units and 14 one-bedroom units.
The second all-residential building would be 10 one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit. The application was filed under the developer name “Buildquick Properties LLC.”
The application requests a number of variances from zoning ordinance requirements, including the number of parking spaces, parking stall size and loading space. The application provides for 147 parking spaces, which includes indoor and outdoor stalls.
Also being requested is a waiver from the requirement to perform an environmental impact statement.
Last year, the Ewing Planning Board heard an application by Buildquick to subdivide the property into two lots. One lot would have contained the restaurant, and the other called for the construction of a 4.5-story mixed-use building with 3,550 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 40 dwelling units above.
The application was ultimately withdrawn by the developer after the board cited concerns regarding a lack of adequate parking and other issues. A large number of residents attended the board hearings in opposition to the project.
Patel said in his Facebook announcement that the spate of development in the area, including Ewing Town Center on Parkway Avenue, spurred him to make changes. The closing came amid reports from members of the Ewing community that business has slowed significantly since Patel took over.
Patel purchased the restaurant from owner Freddie Urbano in December 2015 with the support of a $1.37 million Small Business Administration loan. The Urbano family opened the restaurant in 1933.