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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Dec 04, 2020

Fair Haven Approves Second-Story Addition to River Road Dance Studio

By Melissa Acquaviva

Architect Rendering (Provided by V. Berry)

Vanessa Berry, owner and operator of Kick Dance Studios located in both Rumson and Fair Haven, has been granted approval from the Fair Haven Zoning Board to expand the existing building on River Road.

Upon learning last year that the Rumson studio, located on Carton Street, would be demolished for future developments, Berry said she knew she needed to act quickly to find suitable space for Rumson dancers to train. A smaller studio was located at 611 River Rd. in Fair Haven. Berry said purchasing the building and constructing a second story seemed like the most practical resolution.

Existing Fair Haven location.

Berry told The Journal, “We started the process nearly a year ago, but when COVID hit, we ran into many challenges.”

Berry was fortunate to secure a Small Business Association mortgage to purchase the Fair Haven property, and with the help of her architect, Anthony Condouris, they were able to design a building to suit the needs of all of her dancers. She also said the structure “fits Fair Haven’s vision for future downtown.”

Original plans for the structure presented the addition with an overwhelming facade. Because the design did not meet standards, Berry and her architect presented new plans at Thursday’s Zoning Board Zoom session.

Condouris presented plans that reflected the second story, receding nine feet from the front of the existing building with an aesthetically pleasing front balcony. The building will feature a cantilevered back that will create a covered main entrance. The change was applauded by the board and community.

Architect Rendering (Provided by V. Berry)

Berry is relieved and thrilled with the outcome of the meeting. She stated on her Facebook page, “Beyond excited about our beautiful plans for our new home for Kick! This process was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but as I tell our dancers, ‘We can do hard things!’”

Demolition work has already begun on the Fair Haven building, with an estimated completion date for the new studio of May 2021.